On purpose and fear of missing out.

I don’t think your life has to have a purpose, or you a grand ambitionIt is okay to wander through life finding interesting things to do until you die.” https://www.instagram.com/p/CEuA5EUhmDG/

It is a truth universally acknowledged that one of the causes of melancholy in today’s youth is the fear of missing out, FOMO if you will.

Thanks in part to social media, the world is much smaller and everyone is your neighbour regardless of where you actually live. Like many things, this has its positives and negatives. The negative is that you have so many people to compare yourself to; so many FOMO inducing moments which you might not have had otherwise. This goes beyond parties and fun holidays but also seeps into more serious existential things; finding fulfillment and purpose. A 21 year old in Texas bought her first house, now a 26 year old in London who saw the pictures on Instagram is feeling insecure and unaccomplished because she is nowhere near being able to do the same. People feel like failures because they haven’t completely “figured out” their lives at 24. Everyone else appears to have it together (just look at their Instagram pages!) and this intensifies the pressure.

The need to find one’s purpose predates the internet age and is not unique to this generation. However the concept of finding one’s purpose is both helped and worsened by social media. On one hand there is whole new range of occupations that were not available twenty or even ten years ago. People can now make careers out of their hobbies and interests, instead of forcing themselves into unsuitable moulds. On the other hand a traditional 9-5 is considered old fashioned and dull, leaving a lot of people feel pressure to be doing something non traditional on the side. Surely you can’t simply work for thirty or so years and then retire. How uninteresting. What a waste of a life. You need to find your purpose!
Now people are running helter skelter trying to determine their true purpose because “if you do what you love it doesn’t feel like work.

This whole thing about finding one’s purpose can be both liberating and stifling. Liberating because you may be lucky to find something that enriches your soul. Stifling because unless you find this “purpose” you may find yourself perpetually unfulfilled, restlessly hopping from one place to the other in search of the elusive purpose.

So when I saw the quote at the beginning of the post, I was immediately drawn to it and inspired to write this post. Of course some people will disagree and say everyone in-fact has a purpose; wandering is a purpose. I myself wonder if I was drawn to the idea of not having a purpose as a cop-out for my laziness and lethargy. I like to write and my computer is littered with unfinished pieces. If I took writing as my purpose would I be more serious with it or would I be driven mad trying to fulfill this purpose? For now writing is something I like to do but I feel no pressure as I don’t necessarily see it as my purpose. Still there are times I feel like there ought to be more to life (see last post) and I wonder if I would feel more fulfilled if I had a purpose I was working towards.

For some, having a life purpose can be very comforting and motivating as it keeps them going. Conversely it can also be comforting to think that there is really no purpose to life, no heights that must be reached, no real boxes that must be ticked. You don’t have to get married and have children if you don’t want to. You don’t have to monetise all your hobbies and interests. You don’t have to be an entrepreneur.

If it makes you happy to live day to day as you are then don’t stress yourself out fearing that you are missing out. And to those who are desperately searching for their purpose, their raison d’etre? I hope you find this and I hope it makes you happy.

Two sides of the same coin.

There was a time when the words left and right simply referred to sides of the body/directions/whatever you want to call it. The simpler times when those words had no political connotations to me; I still remember thinking “what do they mean by right wing?”  Ah the age of innocence.

These days I hear left and immediately think of liberal democrats, and when I hear right my mind goes straight to conservative republicans. I am not even American. Nowadays, even if you are under a rock, it is impossible to miss the constant haranguing between the two sides. The friction between the two has exploded in a new dimension thanks to the volatile nature of social media. One simply cannot turn a corner on the twitter streets without running into a heated debate between the two sides, each one oblivious to anything else other than the take-down of the other; a real case of elephants fighting without giving a damn about the grass.

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Everyone who disagrees with me is literally Hitler.

Social media in a nutshell: 

Person: I love Butter 🙂

Idiot one: Oh really? Are you saying Jam is bad?

Idiot two: Wow it is really something that she’s saying she loves butter even though margarine is more sustainable and directly helps bald babies but I guess your privilege means you can ignore the plight of hairless infants!

Idiot three: Your silence regarding cheese is really telling

Idiot four: Butter consumption is a byproduct of a racist capitalist system and people who encourage it must be cancelled. In this thread I will show you why.  Tweet 1/100…

Idiot five: How interesting that two years ago she tweeted that “Nutella is yum” and now she loves butter?????? Wow okay.

Idiot six: Everyone knows that on the morning of 1941 when Hitler signed the treaty to invade Poland, he and Himmler had butter with their toast so for you to come here and say you love butter is really triggering and harmful.

Meanwhile Butter is the name of the person’s dog.

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I was recently going through  my old phone and I came across a meme I had completely forgotten about (don’t even remember ever seeing). “Everyone I don’t like is Hitler. A child’s guide to online political discussion.”  I chuckled. It was funny and true.

The word Nazi has been used for literally anything since before social media as we know it. People called themselves grammar Nazis, called others feminazis etc. But with twitter, every argument will almost inevitably end in one party calling the other a Nazi. Apparently this is something so widespread that there are even phrases used to describe this phenomenon. While searching for the meme, I came across two things;

Reductio ad Hitlerum: aka playing the Nazi card is an attempt to invalidate someone else’s position on the basis that the same view was held by Adolf Hitler or the Nazi Party.- Wikipedia

Godwin’s Law is an Internet adage asserting that “as an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1”.- Wikipedia.

Even more interesting is that these terms were coined before the age of the internet. Godwin’s law was introduced in 1990 while Reductio ad Hilterum was coined in the 1950s when Hitler was still quite fresh in people’s minds. This shows that people were employing these tactics way before the internet. Of course as a silly millennial I assumed everything started with us.

It is indeed a tactic and a really useful one because how do you continue an argument/discussion when you have just been called a Nazi? You don’t. Instead you are distracted from the actual topic and are now debating your alleged Nazi identity. Derailing an argument is a quite commonplace and a really handy tool for when things are not going one’s way. For example:

Person 1: Homosexuality is not natural because animals are not gay
Person 2: Actually there are some animals that display homosexual behaviour
Person 1: Oh so you are saying we are animals who should live like animals. Animals also eat their young should we do that too?

Now person 2 is flustered and annoyed, trying to get the discussion back on track while defending herself  against these accusations.

This is what people do with these Nazi comparisons. There is also an element of self righteousness in which one person believes they are the morally superior good guys and everyone with a dissenting opinion is not just wrong but evil.

Of course there are lots of fascists and Nazi-like people on social media (and who would probably be proud of being called that) but even within valid things are exaggerations and logical fallacies.  I do dislike the flippancy with which some people throw the word around. Sometimes I see these silly arguments and just shake my head. Even stranger is that everyone seems to be a Nazi- today you are casually referring to someone as a Nazi and tomorrow you are the one being called a Nazi.

Let’s save the word Nazi for those who actually have fascist views (and there are a lot of them). While we are on it, let’s save the word porn for actual porn. Everything after food porn was an overkill. Goodness, I won’t be surprised to wake up one day and see “Bible porn“. Just stop it.

Society of the perpetually outraged

Social media has become a hellhole. A watering hole for the society of the perpetually outraged. A nirvana for people so immensely talented in the art of extracting offense from the highest praise. Heaven for those who jump out of bed in the morning with the sole aim of reaching their outrage quota; those who live by the motto “take offense first and understand later

The citizens of the society of the eternally offended have become mindless zombies, fueled by their righteous anger and nourished by think-pieces and thirty-tweet threads. There is no original thought in this new society; its citizens peek out of their covens to gauge the general consensus and then furiously type out dissertations that reiterate these opinions. They must be careful not to stray too far from what everyone believes lest they find themselves cancelled with a t and an exclamation mark. These worker bees buzz around the web, tirelessly sifting out the asleep and the slightly dozing off, burrowing deep in search for employment information with which to punish these errant deviants.

The citizens of the society of the perpetually offended are so voracious and dedicated that they will consume their own from time to time. They patiently lie in wait for anyone-even a fellow citizen- to forget to cross their Ts and they pounce. An erstwhile prominent offence taker and outrage expresser is cut down mercilessly by fellow citizens who admit they always knew this person was problematic all along. The bottle is spun again and it is the turn for another offense taker who was just taking offense at a fellow offense taker to be put down. Slowly, everyone is torched, but they bounce back quick. They have to, a spot in this society is never open for too long before someone runs in and fills it with their own fifteen dollars and seventy five cents words.

They steamroll their way through the interwebs, flattening every and anything in their wake. If Jesus descended today from the heavens to heal the world in a chariot of fire surrounded by a million angels, he would be cancelled with a t and an exclamation mark for reasons that will be outlined in no less than one thousand tablets filled with words make sense to the members of this society and no one else. Then another faction of this society will creep up to cancel these people for cancelling Jesus and will in no less than two thousands tablets outline the reasons why the cancellation of Jesus is really the real problem. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Stones (PETS) will then unleash an incoherent rant asking why we write on stones and not on babies; why do we breastfeed our babies but leave the stones to fend for themselves?

The slogan of this society is See the offense you want to see in the world. Offense can be drawn from every single thing-cotton candy, a baby’s laughter, a drop of rain- and if you do not agree with this then you are the reason for world hunger and global warming and you are cancelled with a t and an exclamation mark.

Feminazi

Recently, an opportunity opened up for certain people to throw about one of their favourite words: “Feminazi”.

Charlotte Proudman, a barrister, shared a picture of a comment she received on LinkedIn from an older male lawyer. Charlotte is 27, the man is 57.

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This led to a debate on social media. Some people think her outrage was appropriate, some people think she overreacted, most people think she is just another man hating angry feminazi who cannot take a compliment and oh my God what is wrong with the world when a man cannot give a woman a compliment she is not even that pretty FEMINISM HAS RUINED THE WORLD rah rah rahhhhhh.

What do I think?

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