Facebook tought us to expose who we are in exchange for being liked. Has tought us to create false personalities that attract more friends or “love signs” under our posts. Facebook craves the information we publish, as it helps the big companies create our marketing profiles, so that they can sell us more directed products in the future. Moreover, they can do with the information we share whatever they want.
Why do I write about it here, on EcoHealthLAB? Because our lives and health depends on our behaviour in each of the fundamental areas: mental and physical. Your physical, musculoskeletal system may be in pain due to prolonged stress, you may feel intense pain in your spain due to some emotional trauma you have gone through. It is not always the injury that brings physical pain, but emotional problems too. They may even create serious illnesses like diabetes or cancer.
Last Sunday I went through a mild, yet shocking experience, that brought these thoughts about your own privacy and behaviour online.
The immediate gratification you get when you publish something, is very rewarding. Makes you happy fast. This makes you forget about the price you pay when you overexpose your private life, or worse, somebody else’s privacy.
FBI uses Facebook to catch criminals for example. “Reputation defender” an online reputation protection agency, wrote in their article titled: “The consequences of oversharing on social networks“:
“After all, when you post a photo online, you give up all control as to how that photo could be used by those viewing it.”
On the internet, whatever you publish, may get shared to reach people you would never like to reach. Your private thoughts, photos, videos. The images of your kids and parents, your loved ones, your delicate emotional states, that may be misunderstood, or worse: used for somebody’s own purposes.
When you overshare on the internet, whether you do it consciously or not, steal away your privacy. And your own private life is something that creates your internal temple of peace. Such situations, freeze the moment as well. After a day or two, you may be in a different state of mind, but the shared post, can be out there, circulating, and affecting what you think about yourself today.
Yesterday is gone already, yet the shared stuff is there to remind you. It clutters the thoughts.
You need to have something, that belongs to you only, without exchanging it on facebook or instagram for likes or comments.
So actually, what happened to me that brought all these thoughts?
Every now and then I swim in an ice- cold waterfall. It is a tremendously strong experience, during which you intensly feel your own body, improve immune system. I love it especially because of the strong physical sensations I endure.
Together with a friend we were just entering the waters of an absolutely wonderful icy-cold mountain waterfall. The river flows between the walls of the hills. Just where the waterfall is, on the right side one hill formed a natural elevation, on which one can stand and look from above to the lower floor of the water.
Right at that moment, I see four people on the right hand side, on that elevation above. Three adults and a teenager, who pulls out the camera and starts filming us as we immerse ourselves in cold water.
When I see this, I scream to him: “Please turn off the camera, this is a private swimming in the water, I do not wish it to be recorded. Please, turn off the camera! “, I even cursed, as I was angry, that even there, in an isolated place, one cannot stay safe from being watched.
And the kid did not stop recording us. He did not turn the camera away. I only noticed that he looked inquiringly at his father who was standing next to him, who just gave him a sign, which said nonverbally: “all is fine, just keep recording”. He was just as a grizzly bear who just catched his fish!
Despite the loud expression of disagreement, this boy continued to film us, like a robot. Without a word of apology or question if he could.
He did not speak to us at all.
When three adults that were with him entered the water later, I looked into the eyes of this boy’s father. And it shocked me to see there pure emptyness.
There was no consciousness in his eyes. These people stayed in water for some minutes and went out. All was filmed by the kid.
It got me thinking. The fact that a teenager could violate the privacy rights of another person, without understanding what he was doing, or even asking a question, what did it say about his understanding of another person, compassion? It seemed normal to him. He recorded the movie to use it later. Was it facebook where it would be published later to gather some likes?
The culture of filming everything, taking pictures everywhere, and above all, continuous publication mixed with the desire to please others, done in exchange for Facebook likes, created androids, robots, not thinking individuals. Drawing shallow satisfaction from the experiences of another human being might be a result of the lack of ones own internal thoughts.
When everything is for sale, there is no space for intimacy, privacy which are an oasis from the rest from the world. This oasis creates such a necessary space for analysis and distance. Just to be, to live.
If it does not exist, if you have no internal place or memories, that are yours only, you have instead an addiction to the world and others, the emotional reactivity and the hunger for constant excitement.
If we want our bodies to be healthy, we need to protect our minds and work on emotional health. One of the essential ways is to have boundaries on what you give away to the world, and how you treat other people’s secrets and privacy.