I like being alone. It has always been like that. Different people choose different ways to find themselves; to understand who they are, what they want, etc. Some people don’t find that at all, as they are swayed to follow life decisions imposed upon them. I think one of the great blessings my parents bestowed upon me, among many other things is giving me the freedom to be alone (not imposing the rules of socializing). It’s not that I don’t like people. It’s just that I don’t connect with most people and most people don’t understand what I am blabbering. May be someone reading this might have already started to think ‘what the hell is this guy gibbering about?’ My point is that being alone without feeling a little bit of loneliness is a great feeling. The one feeling I desire and cherish in life.
Of course, it’s not easy to like the prospect of being alone. When you are left alone at some stage in childhood or in the cusp of adulthood, you would hate it (I did). It felt like being ignored. There are many ways to eradicate this feeling. As a shy introvert, I chose one great thing that would confine me within a small but beautiful space – books and cinema. As I said, being alone is anything but easy at first. Many people have crazy thoughts when left alone. They would feel like falling into a void when left alone with no smartphones and internet connection. I had vast number of dark thoughts. When I got pulled in by that darkness, it’s just one depraved thought after next. Literature and cinema, I feel, saved me from the dark loneliness. I exhausted myself consuming these two marvelous gifts created by humankind. Cinema and books works within us the same way any other addiction would work: the more you consume the more you get pulled inside. And, unlike other addictions, this has the ability to transform you to be a better person. I felt I was transformed in little ways (my patience grew and rage lessened). It also guided me to gain few, wonderful friends. Although, I was stupid enough to choose engineering (in India even good books and cinema can’t stop you from making that mistake), I knew one thing I wanted to do (among many other dreams). I wanted to write about what I learned from these artful gems. I want to spread out by opinions (however immature they are). The blog (‘Passion for Movies’) journey started 5 years back. ‘Creofire’ journey started 3 years back. Not many readers, but I had the knowledge and hunger to write and learn (I am not a slacker; I also held a distressing job, sitting in front of a computer). But, then I thought (other good friends said too) what’s good staying alone for a lot of time? Don’t you want to stay connected and discover new friendships? I mean introverts like us don’t even need to face scrutinizing gazes of others to discover like-minded people, right? We can just login to different portals of social media, right?
By now, some might have guessed what this post is really about: ‘a guy rambling about how very bad social media is’. Not actually. I don’t think social media is full of fake people, spewing lies, giving out movie-spoilers, selfie-obsessed ones, feelings-updaters, etc. I have discovered some truly good, like-minded people in fb. But, I feel staying connected makes me feel more lonely and empty than ever. I mean logging in daily, (may be I am safe, since I truly login only 1 or 2 times a day – total time I spend varies between 45 minutes and 2 hours) checking for wonderful articles your friends have shared, sharing my articles in different ‘closed’ groups, liking the excellent status updates, etc. However, in the end, even after learning all those good information or having a good discussion in a secret literature or movie group, everything feels empty. The tricky thing is the more I feel empty, the more I login into it, and eventually it all leads to unwanted feelings of loneliness. Of course, there’s an easier option: de-activate this time-consuming thing and get on with your old life. I don’t want to do that (de-activation option are used by some persons to gain more attention in the fb world, nowadays) because I want to study this feeling, this fruitless routine, this slow creeping of loneliness.
As a blogger, one of the serious sin you can commit is not staying connected. If you really care about getting your blog out there in the open, you need to socialize in digital scape. Be more popular than your fellow blogger. Most of us bloggers do write what we want to write; we don’t write for ‘hits’. But, that doesn’t mean we don’t like to get ‘hits’ or great site traffic. Like any other blogger, I don’t want to run some blog with dormant readers. I want to take this content out there to be recognized. Yes we’d like to be appreciated, if it is possible, or at least we want some recognition. I don’t expect ‘you are a great writer’ comment; I just expect ‘I can relate with you’ comment or I want some one introducing me a newer perspective to my viewpoint. No, that rarely happens when ‘staying connected’ (may be one or two comment in every 20 to 25 articles I write – including movie reviews or ramblings like this one). My good friends or a set of very few readers might read it and share it, but why is no one else reading an article shared on different social media platforms, search engines, and fb groups — each boasting to have 1,000 to 10,000 active members. I know my writing isn’t that bad to be totally ignored. All these efforts spend to stay connected in order to promote your meager writing skills seem as good as staring into an empty, dried-up well (yes, there are other rising, content-sharing platforms to take our content; those platforms are also as calm as a graveyard). May be Google isn’t supporting the little blogs anymore; may be the big sites with crunching SEO’s are fully dominating; or may be blogging has passed its saturation point. Truth behind the waning numbers could be found by analyzing the stats, but I find it boring to discuss the stats.
I don’t think David Fincher’s “Social Network” gave a truthful portrait of Mark Zuckerberg. But one thing Mr. Fincher and Aaron Sorkin got it perfectly: the final shot when Eisenberg’s Mark sends a friend request to his former girlfriend. In the fb perspective, the character is so connected, but at the same time he is so lonely, waiting for some recognition and looking for a little response. Through that vague feeling of expectations is how I think this social media shoves in little doses of loneliness. Of course, the mistake might be mine to even think or feel this. Like many others, I am being swayed by the enhanced intimacy offered by ‘image’-based social media use. It is may be high time to learn to be alone and not waver my attention from books, cinema (or just have face-to-face conversation with a true friend); to be in the touch-and-feel real world. I don’t passively consume idealized pictures of others’ life to create a negative perception of my own life. I am not that deep into the fb addiction. My gripe is how social media is all about ‘on the surface’ discussions. For me, except two or three friends in fb, many alleged intellectuals in brainy discussion groups are more interested in showcasing that over-grown ego (in the name of intellectual opinion) than really listening (or hearing) to others. I am also at times, afflicted by that kind of ego (I would be a hypocrite if I don’t accept it). It gives me a feeling of superiority over others, whereas in truth, when it comes to intellectual perceptions, no one viewpoint is perfect over other viewpoints.
Anger, egotistic feeling, sudden joy and ever-present emptiness – that’s the trajectory of using fb (and other ‘connected’ forums). There’s also abundant of information being shared in social media: new books to read, movies to watch, new social movement to learn, new political revolution to study, etc. Actually, doing all this keeps me on an easily distracted mood. I might say to myself I am choosing to study or watch or write this, but I am actually being programmed to do that by the Facebook-induced thoughts. So l learn (or watch), write an article m share it, and eventually forget everything about it in a week. Nothing truly stays in my mind because the learning is fast and artificial. Looking back at many of my ‘world affairs’ articles and ‘movie analysis’, I feel my perspective is different from the ones I wrote or I have misrepresented some details (in an information-abundant, distracted mode). So, the simple way I think to be a ‘good’ blogger (or to be not a lonely person) is to be connected, now and then; not ‘stay’ connected. It is futile to ‘stay’ connected in this narcissistic scape of empty gestures. I should really go back to that phase of writing and reading, when I brought out well-settled thoughts and emotions from mind & heart; I should concentrate or search for real spaces shared by fellow (like-minded) people. I should learn to be alone without feeling a little dose of loneliness. As I said, I am not going to de-activate my fb account; I would rather try to re-activate myself!
Thanks for ‘really’ reading this digressive post!