Monday, 21 March 2016

Living in the virtual reality: the 'magic mirror' that always answers back

When I was a little girl, I had this secret wish, all I wanted was to be beautiful and graceful and admired..As I grew older, I realized that I was just another ordinary girl; who could be nice-looking occasionally, but it really took a very long time to dress up. I mean, don't get me wrong, I never step out of the house ill groomed but, really dressing up is just such a chore!

Now as I've grown older, there is one thing that I've realized, appearance is really important. People's perception of us is more often than not, dictated by the way we look, dress, and project ourselves. In the 21st century, that is driven by media and consumerism, we live our lives under the glare of imaginary microscopes. We are constantly subjected to scrutiny, and lead lives that sound better in the virtual world than in the reality.

I would like to justify the above statement by putting myself forward as an example. I am a blogger, who can call herself a 'writer' in the virtual world. Does that really make me a writer? I suppose the few people who actually end up reading my posts are in a better position to judge. I have till now not surrendered to the toys of the average  twenty something, I don't own a smart phone, Instagram is  a mystery to me and Pinterest holds no interest, I confess that in 2009 I bowed to peer pressure and joined Twitter, but I cannot remember the last time I had occasion to visit the site.

Now, I am by no means a hipster, I have a Facebook account and enjoy blogging. I also love my laptop, on which I am currently typing out this blog post. I do however feel that there is a disturbing trend today, i.e. the absence of communicating in this 'age of communication'. We tend to talk a lot, but do we actually say anything of substance? We write on a lot of frivolous topics, but do not write to propagate ideas that can bring about change; post countless pictures,but seldom take photographs that aren't totally narcissistic; we hear numerous commentaries on varied subjects, but never listen and assimilate we watch a wide range of material through visual mediums, but do we actually look and take in the visual imagery that can be powerful and in some instances change one's outlook towards life?

I must return to my comment about wanting to be beautiful and admired as a little girl. I would not be dishonest and say that I've grown out of that particular inclination completely. Who doesn't want adulation? There are many among us who played dress-up as young children, I am sure that each of us has had the occasion to preen in front of the mirror at least once in our lives. It is however the voracious appetite for admiration that is fast becoming our Achilles' heel. As children, we eventually got tired of playing dress-up or preening in front of the mirror, because the mirror never replied back. Now though, we are not satisfied until we achieve a great many like on Facebook, or our photos are re-tweeted by at least a few of our followers, or even better until we have exhausted at least a dozen Instagram filters showcasing our physical/sartorial perfections.

I end this post with an old fashioned question; where is all the mystery gone?

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