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Why I left FB without saying goodbye

August 31, 2014

About five years ago I embraced the internet after a company spent a year trying to track me down in order to commission some sculpture, I thought it would make life easier and bring opportunities. If I knew then what I knew now I would have had grave reservations about doing the same again, because I joined a rat race and after a year of trying to catch up and get my images everywhere such as first on a google search pages, I realised I had entered a distasteful affray. An overcrowded place that encouraged and embraced  values without substance, an a world that offered an abundance of meaninglessness. Having felt that FB quickly became my favourite place and I learned a lot from it before the more serious implications hit home  and I felt I had to quit. This was about a month ago and I’ve no regrets, it was a complicated decision but necessity dictated the way and I needed a reality check, fast. Over the years I had learned a lot from Facebook about myself and human behaviour in general, but the warning signs started to alert my defences.

So in a big(ish) nutshell this was my thinking: I was starting to feel that FB was becoming a pretty toxic mix of controlling factors, a great mechanism for the grooming of the masses with an agenda beyond its friendly interface. A utopian virtual community that promises us access to the world with a smile, whilst steeling all we blindly offer of ourselves, so it can wield its growing power over our lives, if you’re not in you miss the party 🙂 . It is a global phenomenon shaping aspects of our consciousness on many levels and gently helps us to conform with the homogeneity of the corporate world monopoly order. How much of its power it uses and who uses the information is questionable,  how big an influence does it have in the world in shaping our lives? and is there an underlying agenda?. It certainly turned me into a naughty little sheep for a while, showing off all my tricks. 🙂

It’s crazy but my initial reaction to FB was one of curious repulsion, however I overcame my reservations and embraced it, I remember fighting through my distaste for the voyeuristic content and the contrived  portal with its limited matrix and terms of expressions, the likey likey world. It even started to pander to the weakness of my human nature, I enjoyed the popularity and the accessibility of so much content. As an artist I fed off the attention and it even started to effect the content of my work as I became assimilated into the world of “look at me, look at me” . It warped my perspective of reality and unsettled my sensibility with regard to my work and its potential, as a struggling artist I felt within touching distance of something more than my reality offered. But my truth and reality are different and eventually the lustre wore off , because the virtuality carried little into my physical reality. It had become an unwelcome distraction that felt hollow and vacuous and the questions arose, do you believe in the venue? does it have a positive or negative effect? my answers were no.

The problem I had was that there were many good reasons for staying, some truly amazing friends and the platform to expose my work and ideas. I had always felt that as an artist I had a duty to share my story and experience, which I did but as time passed by I realised I was casting my words into a great virtual abyss and that only a few people were interested. At first I believed that it was real and significant, almost life changing, with my passion and optimism ignited, but there was a growing sense of disappointment.

My subsequent distancing led me to a more sinister outlook and I started to analyse the whole concept of social media and its impact on society, how societies embrace in their viral ways and how we submit to our herding instinct and go with the majority like lambs. But more specifically it led me to the underlying agenda of the US global ambition for control, which is effectively driven by corporate wealth through openly subversive cultural indoctrination and social engineering. The creation of a global market lies at the heart of the capitalist agenda which is another reason why our consciousness needs to be indelibly marked by the ideologies and why the grooming process is needed to ensure our compliance and participation. World domination is a curious concept and one of rthe strangest aspects of human history, and the form it takes in contemporary life fascinates me.  The imposition of ideologies upon the world arrive in many guises, communicated through the virtual media not only in crude advertising but also in the creation of our portals of communication that engineer our mind sets. So while everyone is happy playing away and having fun with FB, celebrating the wonders of connections and friends and being in the know, silently in the background people are carrying out different agendas, whatever they are. Ultimately it’s a trojan, like so many gifts and it worries me because there is a growing paranoia in the US as its economy weakens and as a consequence of its aggressive foreign policy. Now that the corporations have grown beyond the powers of government, we are in a position where their power is disproportionate and I don’t want to be an obedient slave to a ludicrous hierarchy or assigned to any of its branches such as FB. (this area of my dissatisfaction is too heavy and too complicated to detail here and would spoil my blog). Suffice to say: As so often the motive guiding global solutions, boils down to greed and monopolization, which strangle the integrity of concepts designed for the greater good of humanity. What concerns me in my own life is the dumbing down, the homogenization of world culture into convenience, the knowledge without true understanding and the subsequent dilution of materially pacified populations. I sometimes feel that capitalism is leading to a one world, one language, one economy, one politic, one fashion look, one market place where being an individual becomes harder and harder. Fortunately, it’s a deeply flawed ideology and without regulation it can only defeat itself and from the perspective of an artist I can tell you it doesn’t offer the freedom it promises.

Another aspect of FB that influenced my decision was the misguided perception that you could change the world and this never sat comfortably with me because I always felt it was like a pressure release valve for society. The reality being that this virtual world is just virtual and whilst it looks like real change in virtual land the impact in reality is minimal and when you switch FB off you realise just this, it is a society within a society and just another element of  our global pacification, a pacification that neutralises our collective effectiveness in the real world. A population becoming lost and fed through the screens controlled by invisible forces with controlling agendas and if we as people are happy to live within these parameters as grateful consumers, that is fine (not really) as long as we understand the reality that underpins the ideology and the consequences. So now we boldly go with our smart phones never free from the spurious content that invades our lives, addicted to a virtual reality that appears like a friendly companion and we never need to be out of the loop again and with no need to feel alone. Tracked, mapped and monitored in all our moves, just like in all those clever movies, but for me I yearn for the bleak silence of uncertainty and the exploration of existence through my own unfettered experience. To learn to love life for its challenging uncertainty and unconventional beauty. The imperfection of life and reality that I love doesn’t exist in the sanitized content of contrivance and pretence and I cannot feel awake when my senses are muted and suppressed through simplification. Reality is dirty and dirt is good, like the soil that grows and nourishes all we hold dear. The simplicity of the miracle of a potato slowly growing in the soil with the help of the sun is something we should never take for granted because once we lose the respect for our substance we become lost and detached from the reality of our gift.

So what did FB achieve for me? Well for the small price of inflating my ego and nurturing the narcissistic side of my nature, it tracks me, stores my information, manipulates my interactions and feasts on the profits of targeted advertising. In short it became the most interfering aspect of my virtual life, clouding my reality and entering my conscious stream in a most bothersome and irritating way. It’s not quite as free (fiscally speaking) or benign as we think, yet we are beguiled and led along the path willingly throwing so much of our time and energy into the vast cauldron. So eventually it turned my free for all fun a tadge sour, and once friends grow in confidence with FB they start to view each other as market opportunities and for me this was too cynical and I could smell the rat race I avoid in reality. Friends are valuable in life and respect for people and yourself make life better in my opinion, so when people turn and view each other with the cynicism that underpins the whole duplicitous concept of FB, I have to say I’m out. Yes it is a strange and curious virtuality and those whose lives are based on expressing their humanity are faced with an incongruity that is puzzling. In one sense it is beautifully constructed, almost shamelessly transparent and it need make no apologies for its agenda because the protests are muted by the sheer volume of noise and activity of the dynamic interactions. It makes me curious and wonder if we all flock in because we want to be in the loop and part of the herd, where we give it our best and expose all we have for a little ego trip. I think I see it as an opportunity lost because the concept is beautiful, pertaining to friendship, connections and reconnections through open communication, but not when people are farming on your personal details and you realise you are becoming a part of another great unchallengeable monopoly.

I had always experienced a rather awkward relationship with FB and for many reasons but it was the exposure to extremely distasteful content that finally triggered events leading to my departure. It is the most foul imagery that I have ever seen and I’m no shrinking violet, I found myself surprised at the lengths people would go to, to rationalise and justify their motive for sharing such barbaric imagery. As a father I have a rule with my own work and imagery and that is that my children can see all I do and make as an artist and if my computer is on I would like to be able to view it in front of my children without fear of horror,  but these images even disturbed my sensibility. I realised that I had no room in my life for such cheap propaganda particularly in the world we inhabit that is locked into wars, fuelled by hate and reprisals and misinformation.

There was a man from Britain called Tim Berners-Lee, who invented something called the World Wide Web and like a biblical tale, he gave it to the people of the world to do with it as they saw fit. Do you think we used that gift wisely? or did we fight over it zealously and expose the truth of just who and what we are? did greed prevail? or was there great dignity and  reflection in how we used it? Of course there are no absolute answers but I would say browse the internet freely and make up your own mind.

I wonder should we as humans be proud of who and what we are 🙂

 

❤ ❤ ❤

 

 

 

 

 

3 Comments
  1. Janet R. permalink

    This entry in your blog was one of the most fascinating reads of this past month, because as I was deciding to disengage once and for all–for good–from FB–almost all of these reasons ran through my mind. I do miss seeing your wonderfully abstract and inspiring art, but I think you have done a brave and good thing, for all the reasons you mentioned, and more. On FB (which has been the only social media I’ve use), I feel under scrutiny all the time, and it’s not my imagination. It is not at all free, and neither are those of us who use it, but even this outlet in which I am responding now is a way to be tracked, and email is just as “dangerous.” It’s a conundrum, because the very act of staying in touch with friends, family, and acquaintances puts our privacy at risk, every day. Thanks for taking the time to write this very thorough explanation. Wishing you the best in your artistic life and beyond. Janet

    Like

    • Hi Janet 🙂
      Thanks, it is a conundrum and I think my decision came down to how it effected my actual life, because the contact with people was great. With wordpress I have a blank page to write on and at the moment that suits my explorations through the written word and I can still share it. I hope we can maintain our contact Janet Bye for now Eoghan x

      Like

      • Janet R. permalink

        Yes, I hope so too, and I will continue to subscribe to your wordpress account. 🙂

        Like

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