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Monday, 2 June 2014

"Compulsive contactless sociability." Wilhelm Reich versus social media.

John Alexandra, author of Journey Beyond 'God' applies the insights of Reich to our increasingly antisocial media and fragmented lives.

'Compulsive contactless sociability.' It’s the phrase that life energy researcher, Wilhelm Reich, used to describe mundane relations between people—the evasive deluge of meaningless words that we routinely accept as human contact. Interesting that he coined the phrase in the age of typewriters and telegrams.

Since childhood, we have been conditioned to disguise our intentions with half-truths. Now, the internet age has amplified that fake sociability, and the ego's frazzled determination to strut its imagined significance has spawned a global avalanche of drivel.

Are Facebook, Twitter, UTube and the Blogosphere benign?

Clearly not. Tech companies make a buck by data-mining your mindset—by exploiting your hubris and lack of restraint. And the more you descend into the quagmire, the more vulnerable you become. Sadder and wiser? No. Just sadder and more stressed with the benefits of anonymity trampled in the rush. It will revert, of course. You can see the beginning of this now.

Show me a person's friends and I'll tell you what he is.

If you use Facebook with maximum security settings to exchange your family photos—fine. But if you expect acclaim, commercial benefit, fame, you are likely to be disappointed. Facebook is mostly used as a selling platform for the self. You wish your ridiculously burnished self to be believed and admired. You want 'friends'—numbers on a server less familiar to you than statistics. You expect them to appreciate and extol your self-serving self-description. But this hardly ever happens. Because your 'friends' are mere click-backs who want you to do the same for them. So a billion egos shout in a vacuum.

Behind this churning is fear. The fear, of never being recognised, of being left behind, ignored, of not 'making it' and a thousand other dreads. Ultimately, the fear of death. Not actual death but the death of your precious personality. The thing you prop up on every possible occasion. The thing you layer with make-up and stare at in mirrors. The fiction you have been conditioned to call you.

'Tell me, sir,' said Krishnamurti to one egotistical enquirer, 'Can you be content just to be nothing?'

We can't. The prospect appals us. To be attentive to our lives requires inner effort and we prefer the security of our inertia.