A contemplation by Chetna on social media.
Living in a futuristic city like Singapore, where most services are efficient and convenient, is a big wake-up call. I have grown concerned by the extent of mobile addiction that I have experienced personally and around me. Mobiles have become inseparable extensions of human body and mind.
In Singapore I see people not only walking like zombies glued to their mobiles, but performing all sort of mundane acts without being able to disconnect: people satisfy their basic physiological needs whilst holding their telephone in front of their face, dry their hair, undress in the changing room and even train in the gym looking intently at the mobile screen. Even in business meetings, lectures or conferences most people are continuously disrupted by their telephone and nobody seems to notice that it’s not just impolite, but a complete waste of everyone’s time to be in a room of ‘absent people’. As humans we are losing the ability to focus, listen and give others our full attention.
Personally, I think Facebook (FB) contributed greatly to this addiction. It started as an exciting ‘friends connector’, but slowly turned into a selling machine. FB succeeded in making itself ‘inseparable from our day-to-day life. I realised that I have fallen into the trap when I noticed that every time I saw something beautiful or stumbled upon an old friend on the street, I had a compulsion to take a photo and put it on FB. A voice inside my head would say, “This will make a great post on FB.” Also, I noticed that I was losing touch with people I care for: seeing my friend’s photo on FB will never substitute their true sharing in person, but somehow FB made me believe “social media meeting” is enough. My friendships essentially became more fake and superficial.
Moreover, I started worrying about my own brain’s health. Being constantly exposed to endless adverts, opinions, products, offerings, and recording endless and useless amount of information, I was allowing FB and other companies to dictate their agenda and disconnect me from what really counts. I became increasingly concerned for the loss of valuable time and practice of awareness. Already living an urban life is not easy for a meditator, but living at the times of social media boom, makes it even more difficult to practice awareness. Escaping into the social media circus is so much easier than watching my own mind and be present.
It is quite entertaining that many posts on social media are about living in the present moment, being more conscious and meditating; but the whole social media exercise is diverting our attention outwards and disconnecting us from the ‘herenow’. We have never been so connected but it has never been easier to be distracted. Information is becoming more important than real people, our own body, the environment, the birds and the trees. It’s like being obsessed with watching porn instead of making love with a real person.
As a result, a month ago I left FB as an individual and also closed the LoveOsho FB page. I know, this was at the expense of losing some connections for our Love Osho podcasts, blogs and content, but I wanted to try this experiment. Now, a month later, I noticed such a great improvement in my time management and social media addiction, as I reduced my exposure to the ‘information pollution’. I am less entertained, less distracted and thus immediately reminded to go in.
I am so glad I have left FB.
Chetna and Swaram, after recording and posting 52 podcasts over the last year (one a week!) are now taking a short break for travelling and relaxation. You will be able to find all new podcasts at: loveosho.com/podcast – Osho News will also announce them as soon as the next ones come out.
First published in Love Osho’s blog.
Chetna was introduced to Osho in 1995 by her older brother, Ratan, when she was still in high school and living in Ukraine. Whilst still doing a degree in English and Ukrainian, she visited London in 2000 and never returned. She graduated from the Business School in London and worked in the financial city for over 15 years. In 2006 she took sannyas and became an organiser of various Osho events in London and co-founded Love Osho with her beloved, Swaram. In 2018 they both moved to Singapore. loveosho.com
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Note: this article was attributed at publication by mistake to Swaram, instead of Chetna