Of all the threats faced by humanity, nothing is worse than the threats that are disguised as progress, and whose merits are praised every day. In fact, many civilizations have disappeared because they did not see that a major innovation could become deadly to those who cannot protect themselves against its catastrophic consequences.
This is the case today with social media: it can destroy humanity. Not only because it contributes to, in an unexpected and soon to be major way, in greenhouse gas emissions, which aggravate the climate crisis, but also because it accelerates the process, which started long before social media was a thing, of shortening the life span of objects, efforts, feelings, relationships and projects. And because, under the guise of increasing the number of contacts between individuals, it often actually aggravates everyone’s loneliness in a very real sense.
This is not a new phenomenon: for a long time now, most people have been thinking more about the present moment than about their long-term ambition. For a long time now, obsessed with a sense of immediacy, many have lost a sense of the hierarchy of events and priorities; and have lost interest in others who are right beside them and in the world they will leave behind. For a long time now, projects have had no meaning, stubbornness has been frowned upon, ambition has been discredited, altruism has been mocked, disloyalty is viewed as one of the legitimate forms of the exercise of freedom.
Social media platforms give a paroxysmal version of it. And we can only be sorry to see so many people, having spent so many years preparing for their future through more or less successful studies, obsessively take an interest only in the immediate image of themselves that social networks portray of them, to the point of spending between three and six hours a day on these platforms. These are the hours when they are solicited by increasingly summary, aggressive and extremist sensations and information, aimed at attracting increasingly evanescent attention. Hours that they can no longer spend learning, creating, loving, discovering, sharing and living.
In the realm of social media, a subject cannot get more than a few minutes or even a few seconds of attention. Anything that is a project makes no sense. Anything that is not scandalous is worthless. Politics have been reduced to a juxtaposition of short sentences, without really caring about the reality on the ground or people’s lives. Art is reduced to what causes scandal, forgotten as quickly as it was hoisted to the pinnacle.
It is time to react. To no longer let yourself be dominated by the permanent spectacle of invectives and false scandals. Do not let yourself be contaminated by informational bulimia; avoid succumbing to virtual obesity, just as deadly as the real one. Social media platforms are as likely to kill as sugar.
Knowing how to restore the meaning of time; showing the capacity to carry out long projects; and thinking constantly about the marks that we will leave on future generations implies behaving with information as we would with food: choose it, draw it from the best sources, taste it, take our time to benefit from it, and talk about it with others.
And organize regular information fasts, as we must, for our health, deprive ourselves of food from time to time. To isolate, meditate, think, write, converse, love, and return to the essential. To live, at last.
Create a social media gastronomy. What a great challenge. Everything remains to be done!