Why I Left Facebook
We need, we consume and then we need again, in gluttonous amounts, until we are ill, worn down and putrid. We then want someone else to fix it. Personally, I am exhausted by need, my organs ache, my mind is filled with chaos.
There’s an old term that addicts refer to. The Click. It refers to not being settled or content until you consume enough to give you that feeling of settlement, of euphoria, of having enough. It literally feels as if a click is set off inside of you allowing you to feel comfortable knowing that you have finally had enough. Problem is, the more you consume, the longer it takes for that click to happen. After a while, you pass out before it happens because you are just too far gone.
I have no major addictions in this life. Still, most times, I feel so unsettled, waiting for that universal click of life; That moment when I receive all the clarity I need, that moment when I cross into bliss, into euphoria, and life never goes back to the troublesome questioning and frustration it often becomes.
Though not a monumental feat by any means, I have chosen to close my Facebook account and move on with my life. For anyone who cares, here are my reasons why.
Tools like this site, and tools like the internet, are intended to be used to open our lives, to expand our worlds. Trouble is, now that we have everything accessible at all times, our lives, as a result, have become smaller, more exclusive. Based on the basic algorithms on which sites like Facebook and Google run on, websites often track what we like, what we focus on and rather than challenge us with new information relating to these interests, they feed us more of what it is we already know and believe in. The sites reassure us that we are correct. When I finally (reluctantly) began using Facebook, it was such a cultural awakening for me. Yet I have noticed over the past couple of years that I never really see the opinions of those I disagree with show up on my account, even though we clearly are still “friends”. My world, as a result of this expansive technology, has become narrower. I have chosen lazy comforts over mental expansion.
In plain terms, though, this site has served its purpose for me and now it is time to move on. I was alive when life was much simpler (relatively speaking) and I realize now that most people who are more than two to three years younger than I will never have a concept of that type of life. True, I was raised on computers, but the age of the internet brought changes to the world and brought with it access to a type of endless knowledge not seen since the Industrial Revolution. Well, I, for one, miss the days of not knowing, I miss not being connected because being without made me more curious, made me strive more and made me earn what I know and have. Now that everything and anything is all so readily available, life has become about consumption; More friends, one-liners of mostly useless information crammed into my mind, endless news, endless endlessness. One of my favorite quotes is “We were so preoccupied as to whether or not we could that we never stopped to think about whether or not we should.” I am over-saturated and ready to be empty once again. After all, knowledge never made a man wise.
Why have we become so obsessed with being loved by everyone? I learned at a young age that friends don’t come easily and the few that stick around as we age are the ones who transcend the thousands who pass through. Those who we lose touch with over the years disappear because either or both sides took no interest in remaining in each other’s lives. Over the last few years, I have reconnected with hundreds and hundreds of people and I, too, became obsessed with how expansive and important I assumed my life had become. As a result of sites like Facebook, I have also personally seen most of the close friends with whom I had remained in contact with succumb to this now endless world of so-called community and acceptance. We grew apart because they could not understand why I placed more value on our tangible friendship as opposed to the virtual ones that were more gratifying and equally less challenging to them. A message replaced a conversation, a “like” replaced support and a funny picture replaced the human element of being present for the laughter and joy of a friend. I realized that through sites like this, I have ceased living in reality. I placed my trust in apparitions, and when I was in real human need, I often found my life was empty, void of real people. What’s worse, I started doubting myself when times got really difficult and I could find no one offline to be there for me.
There’s yet another old saying, “We are the reflection we witness through the eyes of our friends.” Facebook, and as a matter of fact, most social networking sites, is a community of self-glorification. It is used to promote, ponder and proclaim all that is perfect and perpetually disastrous in our lives. Say anything, and it is immediately condoned or condemned; sometimes both together. There is no privacy, no personal space. Therefore, over the years, an unconscious assumption is grown within the psyche that all thought is wanted, and that either justification or damnation is necessary for all thought. Well, for me, this gives me a false notion of myself. I have always been a very private person. Facebook, however, runs completely counter to my belief of how I would like to live my life. The basic principle behind it was to have a completely open and shared community online. For someone of a private nature, this can be a dangerous path to trod down. In 2008, an old friend finally convinced me to try the site, and I have since forced myself out of my shell. The result of living counter to my instincts is that I have become dried & burnt, righteous & entitled, now finding myself floating in a dead sea that won’t allow me to swim to shore. I want to get back to the quiet, reflective artist I once was.
Psychological and emotional rationale aside, there is one last reason why I am deciding to close my account. In my quest for honesty and integrity, I have often rallied against hypocrisy. Although it is inevitable at times, I try to make choices whenever I can to eliminate hypocritical actions within my own life. As someone who has been a major critic of the financial system of this country, I cannot look past the fact that Facebook is currently involved in one of the largest insider trading scandals of the year, while being primarily underwritten by an institution, Goldman Sachs, that was one of a handful of companies responsible for the near collapse of the entire world financial system. Facebook, now a public company and not shy about its corrupt privacy policies, has now become no better than the financial Wall Street filth I have long despised and protested against. I have not supported Google for years now because of those same reasons. It would be hypocritical of me to continue to support Facebook now.
The reasons are not perfect, but, they are my own. Perhaps I am making a much bigger deal out of this than there needs to be. I just see how much this one website has transformed the world, for good and bad, and I felt it was time that I address the issue.
I have had a lifetime of being surrounded by people (friends and family included) who would always choose their self-interest over my best interests; who would never grant me the respect of the standards they demand for themselves. I suppose I don’t need an imaginary website to remind me of that daily. I’m ready to get back to living a real life again.