Danger of the Digital Collective

The collective. The body of drones that hold uncharacteristically similar values, talking points, fears, and aspirations. Ever since our inception into consciousness, the collective has existed. It will always exist. It was present during the days of the Pharaohs, thrived in the Dark Ages; now, it has evolved (due to the internet) to create a greater threat to the individual: Social Media. Although earlier digital communication platforms, such as AOL Instant Messenger (sfx: closing of a door) and Myspace (top 8) existed, they were too rudimentary to generate a true collective. They were, however, an ideal foundation for Mark Zuckerberg to expound upon and create Facebook, thereby ushering the dawn of the digital drone.

If the physical being has an id (for the individual) and an ego (for the collective), then we can assume that there are respectable forms for the digital being as well. It may be too early in theory to classify these metaphysical constructs, but for the sake of this entry I will dub them “es-se” and “pro-se”. The es-se represents the identity, the equivalent of the soul, the unique digital creation is closest to the authentic self; the pro-se being the self within the sea of avatars. Where exactly does the pro-se operate?

It is the websites, the domains that we casually enter each time we connect to the wi-fi.

Here, we are part of the collective, each of us hooked to a digital matrix of waves and hashtags. It is here that we are susceptible to the debilitating nature of the collective. How? Because information is never free. Yes, we are granted near limitless connectivity with the world, but what is being provided to us has the potential to alter our being. We are rarely our authentic selves on such sites; we rattle our opinions and update profiles regularly, but this does nothing for the individual. A relationship posting, a status regarding a new career, a photograph of a recently deceased family member is information that we upload to the world. Before any of these were posted though, we had to experience them here in the physical realm first, and this is where the issue lies. The immediacy of information today is a grave threat against the es-se.

It was also their choice to upload this information, mainly to inform others, those that exist outside of the self. When an individual begins to make decisions for those other than themselves, they run the risk of temporarily halting the growth of the self. Now, an isolated incident such as this would be no bother, however, this is happening on an unprecedented scale.

Countless updates, all to provide others with your information, and what do we expect them to do with this knowledge? They will either discard it with the rest of the digital nonsense, or accept it. If they accept, willingly, then they have just adapted a value that wasn’t birthed from their own being (which is not always a malady). However, when one is constantly adopting expressed, rather than impressed, values they are potentially harming their own individual. And an individual that has a disconnect with the self, has all the space for the collective to enter and infect.

Eventually, when enough have followed this action, we will have an army of mindless drones that are systematically programmed to believe whatever is uploaded to their screen. Take the citizens who backed Trump. Many of these “good American folk” were willing to blindly accept whatever they read on Facebook as the truth. This may not sound frightening, but what if the rhetoric was hateful? What if, also, Facebook users adopted this mentality? With their power, they voted in a man who is strictly for the bourgeois. The collective has the power to shape a nation and if lies are spoonfed like they are, it can destroy a nation.The media has been successful of this in the past, however, with the immediacy of social media, the brainwashing can reach exponential growth. A larger population is also able to be influenced. So how does one combat the horde of the pro-se?

By creating a space separate from the all-inclusive domain (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc). Just as an individual must define themselves from nothing to be considered a being, so to must the digital individual do the same. The es-se needs a space to exist and grow. It cannot be found on these sites and if one attempts to solely thrive in this space, it will eventually become tainted by the memes and other viral uploads. Man in his ignorance believes that he understands the internet, yet we have no clue of its influence on the individual. Being a child of the 90’s, I myself along with all the other “millennials” are the guinea pig generation for the invention known as social media. And I imagine that we suffer from exposure.

For example, phototropism. If a plant is set on a dust-laden window sill, will it grow straight? Negative, for if the plant is exposed to light, its appendages will carry towards the source of it. The soul (physical and digital) has a similar process, so there is no valid way for an es-se to exist on those sites. The only exceptions to this principle are those whose id’s are so defined that it penetrates and injects itself into the platform, living symbiotically with that site. We typically refer to them as “internet sensations”, but their infamy exists on borrowed time (much like our lives). Very rarely do they make a longer term commitment because the internet is a temporal death trap (expound upon this later). In the end, one must define and develop their es-se, but it seems they must be exposed to the collective first, and that is frightening.

All are born as members of the collective, for we do not yet understand the working of the mind (the object that defines our self). The goal is to eventually branch away from these sites in an effort to create an individual page, in turn defining your own es-se. Once established, an individual now has a sturdy vessel to navigate the sea of information without fear of being engulfed by the wi-fi waves. Being disconnected from sites, while still having my personal page, is refreshing. The mental constraints from constantly checking notifications have faded, and my desire to be part of the collective has significantly diminished. The brainwashing effects still exist, and they always will (guinea pig generation), but I can rest easy knowing that I exist within the Golden Moment, my own es-se.

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