Doug Hindson’s short Disconnect gives a powerful answer to an important question:Why do we keep sharing our edited lives and avidly connecting to others through Facebook, Twitter or Whatsapp all the time? His answer is simple, one that I’m sure you have all thought about before.
Deep down we are afraid of the moments when we are alone, he says, because this is when our deepest regrets and worries come flooding in. These are the moments when our own existential angst becomes solid, heavy, painfully sharp: “I wonder what I would be doing if weren’t doing this,” he asks, “would I be the person I have always feared I’d become… or would I be the person I’d always dreamed I’d be?”
We escape that time alone through constant connection and exhibition out of fear of facing the ultimate truths about ourselves.
The worst thing is that this defence mechanism has also become an escape for moments in which we are physically with others. We sink our noses in our phones at parties and dinners out of fear of establishing deeper connections, of talking too much, of getting involved, of failing, of causing the wrong impression.
It’s a sad world in which we live in, my friends, but don’t worry, because you are not the first to feel his way. The hardest questions of all — “who am I? What do I want to be? Am I spending my limited time on Earth being who I really want to be?” — have occupied the human mind since the beginning of recorded human history and probably before. The only difference between us and the men and women of previous generations — or the men and women in other less developed countries — is that some of us have too much free time and they didn’t.