We live in a world where… Too typical and boring of a sentence to begin, right? Specially if I want to capture your attention. What else may I intend when writing something to be post online? To keep you focussed on a type-written eruct of mine is actually hard. Mainly, because of two reasons (or random feelings). First, I might have nothing to say that is worth hearing. Hopefully you will not care too much about that. Your indulgence is greatly welcome then. Second, cause you might have the working memory of a caterpillar when it comes to following a train-of-thought. But we all got used to that. Everything goes so fast nowadays that all we can afford to see is the blur image of a world’s shadow.
You have so many other things to do right now. I know. Me too. Most likely you are checking the email at the same time that (you pretend you are) listening to your wife, while the TV is on at the same time and a so-called political analyst is making the greatest post-diction ever made about the state of the economy (or the economy of the state?). You have the capacity, I know, to simultaneously be thinking about what you did not finish at work yesterday, and feeling guilty for not being in the mountain spending such a potentially relaxing Saturday afternoon. Relaxing café con leche, indeed. Joder, how much non-sense overlap. And how strangely familiar.
You see. I did it again. I talked a little bit about you. As if I care. As if I was effectively practicing the ten tips for communicative writing, or some learn-to-be-famous self-help tutorial for ex-miserable people who discovered the secret power within. Within what?, I wonder, if all we seem to care comes from without. I speak to you cause I do not listen to myself and you listen to me cause you may not address yourself. We have a deal (and two problems).
If you like what I wrote, I am sorry to tell you that there is no ilike button here. I prefer not to give you such a constrained opportunity to express yourself: a subset of pixels on a screen calling your mouse pointer to be placed on top and your brain to execute the order “click”. Joder! Like a poor lab monkey on a one-alternative forced paradigm. If at least there were more button options beyond the words “I” and “like”. But, no, there are not. “I don’t like” was too much to bear for somebody sharing their deepest realizations by means of a picture of the left overs of their after lunch strawberry yogurt. Imagine we could click on “I agree”, or “You suck”, or “Interesting indeed”, or “And so what”, or “Please more”, or “You are wasting bits”, or “Big mouth”, or “Aristotle already said that”. These are the only two words we have to teach our newborns from now on: ilike. What else would they need to be proper citizens (defined as functional people)?
But it is not the machine’s fault, of course. It is our decision (not even fault). We have what we deserve, I believe. Now I still need to pretend I am doing the same with you. To like you. In a word, to make you feel important, special, unique, relevant, worthy, loved! Otherwise, you will stop reading and my opportunity for making sense, for being somebody, for having impact, will be lost.
But what impact? Impact of what on what? Of who on who? Who are you, I do not even know. Who I am, I try to skip. And for how long would that impact last? You make more impact and more noise by crashing the window of a car with a stone. But that is antisocial. And illegal (despite its therapeutic benefits sometimes). As my master once told me: “sometimes it is better to fart hard in the middle of a meeting than to let the pestilence go up your spine potentially exploding in your brain”. Of course I am not inducing you to vandalism. What happens when irrational beings bring the so-called democracy to the web? That the game of thrones is compressed into the game of clicks, views and retweets. Braveheart -the mighty knight galloping sword in hand under the rain- has its modern analogue in a single (or unhappily married) unemployed (or ensalved) ignorant (despite his master thesis) gray one-armed man (the other is holding an iphone) seeking for some decent wifi connection to update his status.
Our largest shortcoming is our inability to see the failure in equating being with number. Metrics is all we care. A scalar value that quickly and sterilely assess how meaningful our petty existence is. A simple gesture that labels but sheds no light! So, next time I meet you I may not ask for your name or look you in the eyes. Instead, please write down your number of citations, how many twitter followers you have and, more importantly, the ilikes you got from your last nobody-cares but-everybody-clicks picture of your lived-through-the-eyes-of-others wonderful life.