By Fadi Abu Deeb
A few days ago I took the decision to stop being active on Facebook in this period of my life. This decision took place after a mental suffering, resulted from what I considered a sort of despair and extreme cynicism. This despair and cynicism was largely the effect of the huge input I’m taking into my mind, or more accurately, being inserted into it, most of it is negative, chaotic, and full of political gossiping and nonsense.
In fact, I don’t think that Facebook has brought any new to the world in terms of basic human behaviors, if we exclude for now the addiction to it. I mean that I don’t accuse it of creating the phenomena of gossiping or unreasonableness, but of sustaining, promoting and spreading these phenomena by making people able to spread nonsense, public nagging, publishing partial notions, capricious texts and messages,…etc. at anytime they want, and above all making them able to “immortalize” this nonsense and endowing it with value and rank it as an a point of view or a worldview through its share-ability.
People in previous times used to utter nonsense and fill their time with gossiping and empty and ignorant disputes, but verbal utterances can never be as harmful to the eyes and optical space as written texts, nor can it be immortalized in texts or even on television channels. A huge load of contradictory paragraphs and short texts bombard the homepage of any Facebook user. And any attempt to classify, filter, and control this unstoppable flow will lead to additional wasting of time that no human brain is trained to keep it in track.
The other very harmful effects of Facebook is generating a delusion of knowledge. A person who gets such a huge amount of data in every subject on earth will probably come up with that feeling that he/she knows a lot. The easiness of posting and spreading opinions by thousands of people everyday makes the person susceptible to this delusion. It will be very difficult to estimate the graveness of this error if one did not take a look from a distant point.
Paradoxically, Facebook and like-minded social media platforms and messaging tools, despite their great role in connecting people in unimaginable ways, play also a big role in making stagnancy and repetition a characteristic of the culture of today. Their bad impact on some vulnerable groups of people is immeasurable. For example, an immigrant in a new country can now find an illusive social compensation in social media. This is not so bad though. It can be a good psychological comfort in the time of distress and depression. But the more dangerous aspect is that this constant ability of being connected to the past, in all the good and the bad in it, becomes the very disability that inhibits the discovery of new ways in life. A person can now be chased again, through his or her own devices, and be indoctrinated. Instead of feeling the absolute necessity of learning a new language, not just for getting a job but to discover new cultures, new ways, new views and new possibilities, instead of that one can now escape to the old ways through the same chats and conversions, readings, sources of authority and even slavery.
I decided to stop Facebook now, and minimize its existence in my life in a later period, because I want to feel again that I’m ignorant and in need of learning, and to get rid of that delusion that I’m a celebrity of some sort. I don’t want to become stagnant and unteachable, nor do I want to be a passive receiver of all the capriciousness of commentators and gossipers.