by LJ Frank
This series seeks to understand some of the differing faces of estrangement and the crossroads it approaches for good or ill.
It’s been said that if one could read the future one would be reading their own obituary. It’s best to live in the moment. There’s literally nothing else. There’s no scientific proof of an afterlife only a person’s beliefs. All the stories of a light at the end of a tunnel are logged within the individual mind – serving the imagination and most likely within the context of the existential.
The less I expect, the less I am disillusioned.
I find life to be filled with ambiguity. For me, the ambiguous makes life interesting if not quite intriguing. It arrives on my doorstep every waking moment of every day I am alive. The point? My existence is what my mind perceives and not what is actual. My feelings are situational filled with ambivalent thoughts, and that in turn alienates me with the surrounding world. Humans as Emerson noted are powerfully unlike each other.
How much choice do I have in a world of branding, marketing, nuanced persuasion techniques, or the proverbial follow the money (to the pockets of corporate shareholders)? The sweetness of branding belies the actuality of the increase in distancing between the consumer and the creator of the product to be consumed, until one day one might find that the product happens to also be the consumer – as the accumulation of data about me is greater than the knowledge I have of myself.
Social media is a singular though multi-layered example. It may feel liberating, but it also trains me to think in a digital format. Short staccato sentences replace sentences of prose as my mind is carefully massaged to think in a meditative technological speak with abbreviations and acronyms rather than a deeply reasoned thought.
As I sit in front of the computer looking at the screen, I sense the necessity to relearn what it means to exist and survive in a technological world that seems to have passed me by. I’m an “un-nerd,” and the words and language that dance around in my brain are more important than the algorithm that categorizes and labels me. Once I log on, I become the product regardless of how liberating and democratic the Internet and Social media. I worry that in reality I am morphing into an AI being. My brain has already been infused. What am I really in control of? Actually the problem is more profound.
If one is living on a fixed income, free is a rude and contentious satire when the greater the poverty the greater number of loopholes one has to jump through to attain a level of survival which includes the acknowledgement that the theologies and philosophies of life may no longer apply if I am unable to truly Log On. And being logged off is a form of estrangement.
Complexity in high technology form is outdistancing human compassion with an increase in the numbers of people left behind to fill out the paperwork generated by “experts” whose job depends on creating the complexity. An example – much complex work is needed to make things look easy. Yes in part…
To complicate matters let’s look at money that is the parent of greed. The wealthier one is the greater the latitude of physical movement and liberation. At what point is there enough money to satisfy the hunger for even greater physical liberation? And does that spill over into spiritual liberation?
And yet through it all…I’m surrounded by a mass of disinformation and misinformation, truth and facts versus lies and purposeful misdirection that in turn creates even greater degrees of- being logged off and estranged.