Not to sound like an old out of touch fart, but more and more I think social media is having a devastating effect on the things that are important to living a meaningful life. Many people are becoming increasingly addicted to the trivia and deceptions served up in boatloads by these false gods.
The speed with which social media moves makes it impossible to dedicate any amount of time and effort to something serious. Our aspirations have become about how to best portray an idealized version of our life to others in the shortest amount of time. We are in a constant battle of deceit trying to convince both ourselves and others about how meaningful our lives are when the reality amounts to little more than creating meaningless selfies or posting outrageous statements on Facebook or Twitter.
Viktor Frankl is quoted as saying “Ever more people today have the means to live, but no meaning to live for.” In our relentless pursuit of faster and shallower bits of trivia, I fear we are missing out on the very core of humanity which ought to be about personal growth through a life of meaning. Pablo Picasso said “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” He was right in two ways. First, life is about meaning and not happiness. Meaning will sustain you through hard times whereas happiness will suffer on your first encounter with an unhappy moment. Second, giving away the fruits of your labor is one of the most rewarding things we can do not only because it validates what we do but also because for most people it is more satisfying to give than to receive. But, if your time is mostly spent looking at, and possibly becoming envious of, the unrealistic lifestyle portrayed by your social media “friends,” you will have little time and energy left for personal growth through the cultivation of a rich and meaningful life.
I for one am fed up with this ugly trend and although I am unlikely to affect changes on a scale necessary to create lasting meaningful changes to all of humanity I can at least do something for a close circle of friends – and hope the effort will not go unnoticed. As part of a year-long project, I am going to, every week print and mail, using the regular postal service, one of my photographs to seven people around the world. I do this, not only to reach out, and connect in a way which is both more personal and meaningful but also in the hope, they, in turn, will do something similar to their friends.
Winston Churchill once said “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” I could not agree more, and I undertake this project fully aware that for many people who receive one of my limited print photographs that will be the end of it. However, I also know that I will derive much joy from giving these works away without any strings attached. I do not want people to feel obligated to return the favor in any way whatsoever – I truly expect nothing in return.
If you would like to see the images I am sending each week you can follow the project in this gallery
Also, if you can think of someone who you would like me to send a photo to, even yourself if you have not received one yet. Go to my contact page and send me a message with the name and postal address of the person you would like me to send a photo to. You can find my contact page here Refer a Friend