In a generation so much entertained by the realm of the meme, I am afraid we do not have the time to be serious and have lost the seriousness of life. Login to any social media site, and we often find ourselves caught up in the unending memes and giggling like a hungry baboon. In a world of floating information, I am afraid we are over-flooded with inputs that we lose our introspective reasoning. There is so much reading every day but too little credential information that directs towards a virtuous life. In a generation where the demands of life and our time are at zenith, I am afraid we will be sold out and forget to exist. In an era where happiness comes with the tag “buy me,” I am afraid to be persuaded and succumb to this cajoled culture.
Albert Einstein fears a day when technology will surpass human interaction. He opines that the world will have a generation of idiots. Don’t you feel that vibe today? I think it is now upon us. These days, everyone wants to make the headlines as ‘the one who broke the news.’ Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter, and you name it are good platforms that allow us to share, connect, stay in touch, and show sides of our brand’s people might not be aware of. But there’s a fine line between being authentic and annoying. It is a sad reality in our generation that social media has become a place where many of us try to prove our worth. Counting on one’s self-worth through the likes and dislikes of a post or a picture is such a tragedy and malady. The young and old cannot deny the fact that we are all prisoners of social media – trolling, posting, and commenting endlessly.
Is social media an addiction in this generation? I am afraid so. There is evidence that social media and other forms of digital engagement may have an addictive effect on the brain as well. A study by researchers at the University of Winchester found that when heavy social media users were asked to stop using the services for a month, some experienced negative feelings related to the ban, including feeling cut off from the world and social isolation. Most psychologists and social media experts also agree that the release of dopamine that comes from online recognition can be habit-forming and may even cause one to neglect important tasks like work and sleep.
I suspect that we are a generation driven by egocentric hedonism – a generation in pursuit of self-centered pleasure and happiness. I imagine an arena where ethics have been contested by the pleasure principle. I visualize that in that arena, somehow, ethics have been overpowered and knocked down; therefore, ethics have become relative. The truth becomes subjective and thereby turns out to be relative but not absolute. In this high noon of ethical relativism, one’s own pleasure and happiness become the watchword. But happiness started acting pricy and blurted, “Buy me.” Therefore, everyone on the highway toward the town of happiness is compelled to have money because mirth is exhibited with price tags. Is it really true that all the fun under the sun has got a price tag? It is not, but it looks like. In order to reach the town of happiness, ethics was surrendered to relativism, and morality was debunked. I am afraid we will not dare go off-limits chasing after the money to buy happiness in this generation.
Stephen Long, in his Christian Ethics, points out that God was contested in modernity for the sake of ethics, and ‘ethics’ is contested in postmodernity. Indeed, some of the great modern thinkers voice out that humans are good by nature; therefore, God is just our imagination. The modern world, therefore, propagated the idea that since humans are good, we have the freedom to make all our moral decision; thus, God was hypothesized. Postmodernity, with its watchword ‘embrace all,’ pushes moral decision-making to subjectivism – a personal view, and hence I feel that ethics was surrendered to egoistic hedonism.
I am afraid now because we are living in a generation where God was contested and relegated to a mere concept. Ethics is shoved into the kitchen corner of subjectivity and left there to decay. It is a blundered generation. In such a time as this, I feel that the voice crying in the desert is “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of the wisdom.” That voice in the desert is wailing, and we are summoned to introspect critically about that voice in this generation.