Antisocial Media

Yet again I’ve deleted my Twitter account, my third flirtation with this site which, in line with other ‘social media’ sites, seems to have many uses; official bodies like councils and police like to let people know what they’re doing, pass on local information and some PR. But most appear to use it to gang up with others with the same mindset to quote, allege, insult, defaim, sneer and put down by way of showing how their alternate viewpoint is correct. Neither are that interested in dialogue, in fact engaging in dialogue is considered an attack on their beliefs, and so many time a consturctive remark was met with dismissal, anger or blocking that I started to give up on that attempt, concentrating instead on playing games with both sides of the binary face-off that sees its physical manifestation in the streets where ricvals attack each other, and tweaking their selfrighteousness and virtue signalling; although this is generally thought to be a vise of the young liberal-left, the right are just as capable of it in their own way. Everybody talking and nobody listening.

So social media is off my menu and I will become a digital recluse instead, as well as a physical recluse. Humanity has let me down since early childhood, I feel little empathy with my own species despite having supplied genetic material for it by way of grandchildren. Their life is going to be nasty, brutal and quite possibly shorter-lived than mine, it grieves me to say. I suspect that many of the problems of social media are a reflection of this lack of a future; sensed but not understood or accepted. Leaving an undercurrent of tension, apprehension and unfocused anger.

I’ve started reading real, printed on tree-pulp books again after decades unable even to start one let alone finish. I even switch off the computers now for periods during the day, spend even more time thinking, seeing, hearing, withdrawing, waiting. Knowing what I know about the climate and what the future holds is something I’ve lived with for a long time, others have reached there too, but there’s no joy in sharing knowledge of an approaching end, no comfort there. Indeed, I sometimes wonder if it’s defencible to spoil others’ happiness by insisting they face facts without the usual reassurances that if they recycle and behave responsibly, their children’s children’s future is OK.

When  only recently another 200 previously unknown species have been discovered in an area of the Amazon, and when we have barely begun to understand basic biological and ecological processes but have split the atom, it is tragic that we are causing our own extinction from ignorance and selfish greed. Knowing this makes me impatient sometimes with those for whom the party is still in full swing, who look to the future with optimism and eagerness to cover more of the planet with concrete and tarmac, to feel ever richer while actually becoming poorer in everything that matters.

Rather than virtue signalling, this is admission of defeat. Having spent my life trying to wake my species to what we’ve done, I have no ‘told you so’ to give, just resignation.

The chatter will continue up to the day the last two humans perish. Then what is left of the ecosystem will begin the cleanup, evolution will fill gaps caused by our greed, and slowly balance will be restored, forests will regrow, and seas will become clean and filled with life again. But before that there will be death and destruction, with a risk the warming could become runaway and burn off all moisture, turning Earth into another Mars, which is strangely somewhere that many humans dream of visiting. Hang on and Mars may come to Earth.