I’ve always had a bit of a hard time relating to internet culture. I’m impressed with how people can make things with others in mind, where I think I tend to make some things here and there, look up, and if no one seems that interested, I go back to pushing things around on a table and gluing them together. There’s a fluidity to those that create digital/social content, where they seem to gracefully move between reflection and experience. Content of the current moment — a reflection — created while the experience itself is still going on.
In math there’s this proof that if you have a curved surface and then stand at some point on that surface, that the direction of maximum curvature is exactly 90 degrees from the direction of minimum curvature. When I get to points in my life where things appear binary — say for instance the creation of content that follows an experience/reflection binary — I can’t help but think “there’s a lot of topography still out there unexplored” and that my inability to see past these extremes is speaking more to a deficiency in myself than to what I am looking at.
But then there are also troubling parts to the need to create persona online, which I guess we do in our personal lives, as well, but are given less of a chance to look at what we’ve created and grimace or swell with pride in what we’ve cobbled together. My fear with having things online is that I have to be reminded of what I have once said/done in the past in very exacting terms. I think I like personal history more when it has rounded corners; generalities when it comes to what I once was/am, versus a ton of specifics. Bing, Bang, Bongo: create a hypothesis, back it up with a couple facts, and then reflect. No need to drown in a thousand photos of the same waterfall.
Some friends of mine went on a trip last year and upon getting back I met with one of them to ask how the trip was. They were downtrodden and exacerbated with what had been a stressful trip with a fair amount of bickering. Fast forward to a dinner party with a common friend a week later and I asked this friend what was going on and they replied “Oh! Well BLANK and BLANK are back in town and it looks likes they had this really romantic trip together!”. I couldn’t help but blink vancently a couple times in reply.
And I guess different interpretations of events are always available, but when narrative is falsely created to make outward appearances better, or even just to feel in control of what that narrative is, I get a sense of foundations of some structure being slowly eaten by a chemical reaction. Are we immune to wanting to control our narrative? I know I’m not. And a salve is to not to be in a constant feedback loop with content of my own creation.
Or maybe all of this all is an exercise in letting go of Ego. Although given what floats to the top, I’m not sure this is the tool for that either.