To wake up, first disconnect.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Globalisation has done much to lift people out of poverty, but in terms of human well-being it has been a disaster.

Sure, you can now keep in touch with that guy in your class at school who moved to Hong Kong or Cincinnati, but when was the last time you spoke to your next door neighbour? Do you even know their name? If the power, and with it the internet, went down tomorrow, would you have anyone to talk to? If you were sick, would anyone bring you food? If the answer to those questions is no, then you are one of the billions of people who have exited the real world and now live their lives in the globalised virtual world of the internet.

It’s incredibly easy, in this day in age, to get sucked into a deep well of despair. We turn on Facebook, we think, to connect with people, see how they’re doing in their lives. Instead we are inundated with gloom.

Depending on your leanings, you are bombarded with messages either: that we’re about to be wiped out by a pandemic of Biblical proportions, and America is in the grasp of a tyrannical dictator intent on persecuting anyone who’s not straight, white and male, or that we’ve been fed a story about a pandemic in order to enslave us to a global system intent on injecting us with toxins that will kill our souls, and that democracy in America is being destroyed by a satanic child-sacrificing cult and their violent minions.

I know what you’re going to say: “But it’s true! And I can prove it!” You’re missing the point.

You turned on Facebook to connect with other humans, and yet, an hour or two later, here you are, raging at the faceless enemy, THEM. You feel the need to protect US. You are in a panic, desperate to do something but unsure what. And so you click that post to wake people up, to warn them about what’s coming, and in turn suck someone else into the well of despair with you.

In short, you have become slave to a divisive system, one that keeps us trapped in a virtual globalised world away from the things that really matter: family, friends, nature, God, the real world.

That’s what you need to wake up from. That’s the nightmare scenario you really need to escape.

But how? The ideal is to delete your social media accounts completely, but for many that’s not really practical. And it’s true that these things do have a positive utility if used properly. After all, that guy now living in Hong Kong or Cincinnati has just had a baby, or bought a new puppy, and you want to see the pictures.

Here’s what you do. In the morning, you don’t start the day by clicking on Facebook, you start it by throwing open your curtains and breathing in deeply. Take a few quiet moments to look at what nature is doing in this season, how the leaves are changing, how the sky looks. Take few more to listen to the birds. This reconnects you to the natural world.

Then, and only then, can you pick up your phone and click on Facebook. Look at the baby / puppy pics. Hit that hugs react. Post “awww, cute! <3 <3 <3”. Scroll past the doom-and-gloom, post a picture of something nice you spotted in your world yesterday, or a post about a recent achievement you want to share, and then turn the damned thing off. Make it work for you, rather than you working for it.

We have five senses for a reason. The internet uses just one: sight. You can’t smell the new baby / puppy smell of your friend’s kid. You can’t taste the awesome flavours of your friend’s cheesecake. You can’t feel the sun on your face or the wind in your hair when you look at your friend’s beach pics. Even hearing that song your friend just recorded via the speakers in your phone or laptop is a poor substitute for hearing it in real life, for having him show you how to play the chords or teach you the lyrics, for laughing together when you don’t get it right.

Life isn’t made up of pixels on a screen, it’s made up of these personal interactions we have with real humans in the real world. So unplug from the matrix, put your phone down, and go outside. Meet your neighbour. Take soup to someone who’s sick. Be a real friend, not a virtual one.

Reconnect with reality. There’s a beautiful world out there just waiting for you.