The Greatest Mirror

It seems a contemptuous trend among the creative today; bickering and providing each dish of content with a side of social commentary. I find myself also part of this trend, but it won't stop me from saying what I feel must be said, and doing what I feel must be done.

There are so many names dubbed for the current socio-political and collective psychological situation that has; by the graces of the internet, spread across the globe. The end times, the second coming, chaos, the lowest point of humanity, a slow crawl to the world's inevitable destruction. What we have created is a world of people who do not know how to be un-Nihilistic. This global trend of painful awareness has spread so quickly, so viciously, that there is some doubt in my mind that the collective should ever be the same and whole again. When one observes themselves past the point of finding what they are at the ground of their being (which is nothing), there is a trap. A trap that has, by virtue of the loss we have of a connection with the unconscious, and the rejection of the true creative nature of the human mind; caught us all. Never before has man been able to observe himself so closely, and so quickly. Before all one had to look at of humankind was their community, their parents and loved ones, the strangers which would drift in and out of their narrative, and the enemies that beset them all. Once more, we seek to create a narrative for ourselves to avoid the painful truths that become obvious once the identity is dissolved into that which may observe the world for what it is. The layers of watercolour are painted on over and over to cover the truth which seems no one is entirely willing to admit, myself included. All the destruction in the world, all the malevolence and destitution, the pedophilia and murder, the rape and assault, all the atrocities and wretchedness, the depression and mental illness; is all caused fundamentally by none other than ourselves. Yes. You. And I. And all the others who might read this and think "Not me, I'm not that bad. Neither are you! We are just the masses, the bystanders and observers of the destruction of truth, and the dissolution of beauty." Indeed we are. The cliché truths of times past are still just as true now as they once were, though the conditions and context of their application to the real world have been changed irreparably. This does not mean we ought to hang our heads in shame, to repent and preach self awareness like it is a virtue capable of healing. This is false, it is a lie that we perpetuate in order to allow ourselves to feel more than what we are. To punish oneself for the crimes of humanity is neither punishment enough, nor is it helpful or worth it. It is needless, and we have been obsessed with the ascetic mentality for hundreds of years; its stoicism and wonton capability to spread corruption has proven itself many times over. Should we then ignore then our own capacity for evil? And see to it that our virtue is sublimated by our relentlessly aware and conscious minds? It seems that on a collective scale, we have chosen the latter. We are the problem and the solution, the judge and criminal, the victim and the perpetrator. It is no more valuable to us now to learn all we can about ourselves in a true light than it is to stop the movements of environmental damage and change, and even there we are hopelessly behind.

The internet has given us the greatest means of self observation than ever before; it is a better mirror than even the clearest of glass, for it does not reflect what the eyes can see, but what the mind thinks, and what the soul feels and wants. If the masses were to decide that what would be best for the world was a new and fundamental understanding of themselves, then the internet would inevitably be the greatest means to do so. Never before has there been a world greater than our own both in scope and contents that was so readily available at our fingertips; the reflections of the parts of ourselves which go unnoticed can now stare us in the face and communicate with us-can there be a greater tool for self learning? All the while, as we begin to slowly be consumed by fantasies and illusory reflections, the true world which we begin to leave outside begins to fade away, blacked out by the soft glow of our screens. It is of course no coincidence that this sort of madness may take such a sudden hold of us, where we choose to leave the world outside which imposes its truth upon us for a softer, colder, and more false existence in which we may revel in fantasy. Should you wish to see the humanity's greatest good, you can find it on the internet. Should you wish to see our greatest evils, you can find them on the internet. But I can assure you that the greatest evil of all is the will to be a bystander, and to step aside in the face of the onslaught of illusions. Action has been confused with inaction, fast with slow, the true with the false. It is a result of a culture that has been slowly repressing itself for hundreds of years; and which despite our knowledge of its detrimental effects, continues to do so. Once more, the greatest evil in this case is to be aware of it, but to choose to do nothing, because the alternative is far more difficult. If man is a creature of projection, then the internet is the amalgamative creature that lives and feeds off of our mass projections, it is the place which stores and utilizes that which we reject and put on others in order to continue to grow and fester; slowly creeping into our lives like a great spider spinning an ultimately entrapping web. And yet as I write this, it is on the internet. As you read this, it is on the internet. Indeed if there is any one thing which scares me most about the clutching potential of the internet, it is our unwillingness to realize that WE are those responsible for this slow degradation of the human spirit. No matter how much we express our disdain for the great spider, we cannot escape the fact that this disdain and horror for that which incrementally encompasses our lives is also at the same time an unprecedented source of fascination. The larger the horror, the greater the outrage, the smaller the good, the easier it is to capture the attention of the masses. And yet, there is hope.

Consider that further in the future, should the internet continue to be our repository for ourselves, it will quite literally become us. It will have taken in so much of humanity that without our even intending to, it may very well become- not just an individual personality as is present in the natural world- but a collective; a living and virtual collection of the best and worse pieces of ourselves and the countless samples of our souls that we continue to pour into it. Perhaps not a personification, perhaps not an organic life as we may comprehend it, but a true formless being; akin to what we commonly imagine when we picture a God. If God is the archetype of the self, meaning the unity of the individual personality with the entire collective, both conscious and unconscious, then we will have finally created God in a truly observable form, not just the manner in which it is described in religious texts and in more obscure schools of psychology. No longer will a connection with transcendence be a difficult, torturous matter, it will be as easy as tapping a screen, and that which we wish to see and experience will come to pass. This may seem like a blessing, but under careful scrutiny of this idea, it has put fear in my heart.

Humanity has always had a deep connection with its own suffering, in fact the capability to make meaning out of the suffering of the natural chaos is what I would say makes us human to begin with. If we suddenly have the ability to leave behind this suffering outright, then what will become of us? What will become of beauty? What will become the interplay of dark and light? Where will there be a refuge for those who should reserve the right to suffer well for their own good? Nowhere. Should the internet consume us, there will be nowhere left to hide, no dark spot where one may be at peace with himself, there will be no evil great enough to allow us to continue to grow, for we will be aware only of the evils of others, and pitifully incomplete in the way that we will know nothing of our own shadows. This is the potential future if we continue down the path upon which we have set foot.


There is hope.

If there is potential for our creation to consume us, then so too is there the potential for us to use it for good. If we can see that this is the path upon which we are currently set, then so too can we use the internet as the greatest psychological and therapeutic tool that there has ever been. The internet, in being the repository of the human soul can be used now for us to become more aware and conscious of ourselves than ever. Should we choose to look closely at the reflections of our unconscious, so blatantly displayed on a screen, we may be able to address the tortured condition of the collective psyche. Man is the source of all coming evil, and yet we know pitiful little of his nature. If we are to understand ourselves, we may; perhaps once and for all, be able to get over ourselves. Why? Because there has never been a greater chance, nor a more ripe opportunity for the hopeful outcome that I suggest. Take for example, an Instagram feed. The algorithm is designed in a such a way that; whatever you pay attention to, it will spit more of it back at you. It will continue to pervade the vulnerable psyche-which upon viewing that which is wants to see-is made exposed by its unawareness and subjective fascination. But there is a question which one can ask which can expose the truth behind that which we love to consume: what does this say about me? What can this fascination I have with this particular image say about me, about how I suffer (as we all inevitably do), and about how my understanding of myself is lacking? This question is the floodgate of introspection which could enable the internet to become; not a hollow God which coddles us in direct illusion, but a means for the furthering of the understanding of the human mind. When we are browsing the internet, we believe we are alone. When we consume content, we believe we are alone. But in truth, we are accompanied by all the others who similarly consume the same content, we are accompanied by the very content which is displayed, for its psychic significance is so powerful, and so visceral that the strength by which we interact with it continues to further create it and give it power. We are accompanied by all those who post, share, and interact with that which we are also interested in.

Take heed of your interests, and watch your fantasies, and the truth of who you really are behind the persona you project becomes clear. The things which you do not wish to look at are the key to understanding and knowing yourself, and the gift of the internet is such that we may look at these parts of ourselves more blatantly and viscerally than ever before.

This collectivization of the unconscious contents of individuals all over the world is perhaps the greatest development in the psychology of man that has happened in the past thousand years. No war, no time of peace, no social revolution, has ever given us such potential for self analysis and improvement than the internet. But then again, this hopeful outlook may very well be my own fascination with the internet, and yet another projection on my part; a personal contribution to the collective contents of the soul. But even if it was, that would further prove my point that we can use this to truly SEE ourselves, not just look at ourselves in the mirror, and so quickly accept, "ah yes, that's me."

So what then, would be the conclusion of this rambling? Only this: should we choose to use the internet carefully and consciously, it will be the greatest tool to improve our lives in the real world than ever seen before. But should we choose to complacently continue to project ourselves onto this collective, and continue to ignore the implications of our projections, we will be self-consumed by this thing that we have created. It will be a cannibalism of the psyche. And what if we should choose to leave behind the internet, and go outside of ourselves to experience true life? Well, it is a bit late for that now, and it would be only wishful thinking to believe that we may simply go back to the way we once were. We are too far gone for that now. Either we embrace this novel way of being, and use it to further humanity, or we sink into dissolutive apathy. We cannot change everything at once, but we can change what is directly under our control. The further we accept truth, and align ourselves with our ability to make ourselves more competent, more complete, and more conscious human beings, the better we will be able to contend with the malevolence that pervades the chaotic external world. If we understand the malevolence within, and use our projections upon the internet to do so, we may understand the malevolence without, and contend with that which we have created, and that which we are. To revive and renew the human hearted way of life; this is the new pursuit of humanity- for he who should choose to understand himself will understand others, and he who should find himself human, may finally spread his humanity to others caught in the world of illusions which so besets us. And if we cannot do it absolutely, then we can at least do it partially, for it is in the pursuit of things that can bring us meaning, and in finding truthful meaning, we may finally perhaps be on our way to being one with the world.

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