Think Before You Share

 

First there was Facebook, joining people all over the world. Now you could know what your friend a continent across was doing at that very moment. Early days of Facebook were filled with “XYZ is bored of studying” or “ABC can’t wait to go out tonight” (we did this, don’t lie). Then someone discovered the share button. Now all you see on Facebook is “XYZ shared Best of Tumblr’s picture” or “ABC shared Dog’s post”. Very few people write their own status’ anymore yet our newsfeeds fuller than they were back in the good old days.

Moving onto Whatsapp. A perfect forum to message friends, and family alike. It was connected by the phone number. Little work, all the socialisation. Messages of all sorts were sent, from “Hello, good morning” from that one creepy guy who’ll never let go of the fact that you aren’t really friends to your parents messaging you a memory that just popped into their head at that very moment. It brought people closer. Now the only messages I get across any of my groups are shared messages. The cheesy ones, the ones that talk of “patriotism” or of an old woman who sells street food and how badly the government has treated her. Quite insightful but not personal.

These social media forums were supposed to bring people together, to create a place for the amalgam of ideas. Instead now they have become just the opposite. They have become a factory to mould people into a person, not real, not perfect, but highly opinionated. It doesn’t even matter if the initial person agrees with these opinions when they enter the factory. When they come out, it is a guarantee they will all think alike.

Why has that been happening? I am no psychologist, but in my limited understanding of the human mind, I believe that “sharing” removes the individuality element of the idea. Two people may agree or disagree with an idea, but their reasons for doing so might be vastly different. Or the actual perception of the idea might be ever so slightly different. “Sharing” has managed to take the eloquent people in the society and imprint their opinions on the masses. Because initially there may be a small discomfort you feel when you read the shared post or message. The ideas on the screen look exactly like yours yet, it doesn’t feel right. But there is no way in hell you could post something better so you might as well “share” and in doing so you replace your ideology with this ideology, ever so slightly different from yours. Hence, you think the same as the original author of the piece and the effect propagates.

The issue is much larger than a meme or a post on how some Indian somewhere in the world did something. Its powers help propagate hate. Hate, a word too strong for some people to use, yet so often felt. More often than not, the shared posts are hate posts. Without the ability to distinguish between hate you inherently feel (like when my fire alarm decides to go off even though nothing is burnt) to hate someone else feels (because the intensities with which people feel are different) because that is what you have read and decided to share.

Were people to stop for a moment, think, analyse the piece in front of them to find the bit that makes them feel uncomfortable, they might feel more obliged to indicate that. Maybe write their own post, or even more conveniently a little post on the share, just indicating that, preserving the originality and clarity of their own thoughts. But that’s wasting too much time. How else will they scroll right to the end of their Facebook feed and go back to the same feeling of boredom that brought them to Facebook in the first place quickly?

So I beg of all of you to think a moment before sharing. Think about what you are sharing. Think about whether you agree with it 100%. Think about your audience, and the message they will get when they read it. Just think. And maybe we won’t enter a dystopian 1984 world where everyone believes and embraces everything that comes out of their screen.

 

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Our mind is our controller. We are our mind. The two are one and the same, and everyday, every decision we make, re-enforces that concept in out mind. So much so that we forget what really matters sometimes. What gives each one of us our little spark. Our heart.

We try to shut down the words of our heart in fear of judgement, in fear of looking stupid or just in the fear of rejection. Basically, a fear of the reaction other people will have towards you. And so day after day, the heart starts peaking less and less, till one day only a whisper can be heard. And whispers are much easier to ignore than loud booming words.

I have a friend who I live with. We do the same course, used to spend an awful amount of time with each other and genuinely enjoy each others company. Lately we have also been sleeping together. Not sleeping in the modern way, which implies sex, but rather just cuddling. It all started as an attempt for us to be warm but now has become something so much more. Every initial touch throws butterflies all in my stomach and I feel safe in his company, craving more touch.

To those I have told about my nightly encounters with the body of a man, I keep telling them that I have no feelings for him. My surface is almost as fooled as my friends are. But deep inside, the voice gets louder and louder. A voice whose sound I fear, for it will tell me what I don’t want to hear, what I fear the most.

“I am sorry but I don’t like you that way”

That’s the only response I know I will receive. So why, when I know of impeding doom, can I not quieten this voice, live in my solitude where I accept myself and no other opinions matter.

An attractive guy like him could have any girl falling for him. But unfortunately he fell in my boat and now he is rocking it so hard, I am afraid of falling. Afraid of losing my boat.

 

Rejections are always the hardest

There is a large sense of inadequancy that follows any rejection. And no number of prior rejects can truly prepare you for a new one. I currently got rejected for a job promotion. I am only 19 and my promotion was to a higher level of student ambassador in my university. I was quite excited for it, taking on the extra responsibility but a large part of me was also scared if I would be able to take the responsibility as well as managing time. All the activities I am doing next year are very time consuming.

However I had still spent a good two hours on my essay as compared to my friend who probably submitted his in half an hour, talked about deep and meaningful experiences, and yet after everything I was rejected. To a guy who spent half an hour on his essay. I am not saying that I resent him, because thinking about it he was much more suited to the job. he is confident and loud and friendly. I am the opposite of all of this. Yet somehow I feel like he can get by with so little work put in, and yet me, here, slaving away get no where. This is only what happens in university but what if this is real life? What if I am inadequate for real life. What if I have to put in hours of work to match up for some one else’s 30 minutes? What if I forget about all this extra work i need to put in because I believe that since the people around me are putting in little work so do I? What if….?

Good luck guys

I can’t believe how fast time has flown. this time last year I was preparing, more like bracing myself, to write my IB final papers. Two years of hardwork, coursework and amazing times with friends and many more memories. I don’t like to think too long about what this period was like, but I can guarantee to all those who are about to face it now, it will be a great experience for you. So all you IB students out there, good luck and do your best!!

Sometimes I look and society and just feel like laughing. There are subjects dedicated to studying the histroy and learning from its mistakes but yet the brightest minds of the future refuse to look beyond the positives. And in this refusal causes the conflict of the minds who can look at the alternative. Take the example of GMO’s. Genetically modified organisms. The perfect answer to end world hunger. Thats what the people think. And they believe strongly in it. But do they really know about the effects it has beyond the stomachs of the people it feeds? Beyond the supermarkets?

GMO’s are known to be genetically modified to change a certain aspect, almost never is it its nutirent content. The state has come down to choosing filling stomachs to providing the optimum amount of nutrition. Not only that but by sing htis, there is an increase in the amount of fertilizers used as well as the amount of pesticides used. This kills not only the soil but the organisms that live in the soil as well as causing a higher build up in the trophic levels. These creatures, not the ones that feed mankind but rather keep the balance between nature alive die or at least are disrupted. This further causes a higher need to create more GMO’s since the soil itself is now incapable of sustaining the crop. And the cycle continues.

But all the people see is that it is feeding the poor and removing malnutrition.

Now lets look at the socio-economic reasons as to why there is malnutrition. Since the world moved onto trading by currency bartering has played a very small role in it. Take a small farm, big enough to sustain itself as well as sell a small crop to buy other necessities. In come the GMOs. Less space is needed and hence newer businesses that were established to only grow crop to feed, rather than because it is a family tradition based on sustainability is erected. This causes competition for the small business, the owners of which cannot compete with these big firms, with their highly subsidized crops. Hence the small farm has no money to buy other things it needs to survive. Soon it will realize the need for it too to change to using GMOs to compete with these business. In doing so it ruins the balance it had with the soil and the environment, ruining the soil. On the small farm the first crop is good and they earn some money but hen realse for them to keep this crop of GMOsgoing they will have to buy more fertilizers and pesticides. This will 1) lower their profits since they are not only now buying the GMO seeds (of which the crops do not produce further seeds to be used) and also the extra costs of fertilizers and pesticides 2) will kill the organisms in the soil which kept pollination rate high in the first place. With this massive chunk of the fortune gone they will yet again be poor. They are now faced with a choice. They can either up keep this expensive business or choose to go back to their original farming plan. By this point the farm’s condition has deterioratedsuch that further crops are impossible to grow without the help of chemicals. This is just one small farm providing a small chunk of the fruits and vegetable into the market. The impact of this is small. Now realise that there are millions of these farms all over the world, whose production has either drastically decreased of has completely stopped. Hence inducing a famine and hence creating the so called need for “GMOs”. This is all a hypothetical situation, and maybe on future research it could actually be seen to be happening.

Lets take another example of a chemical that seemed to remove all of mankind’s problems. Thalidomide. The morning fever cure. Not in the same proportions but the number of people facing morning sickness is almost the same as the number of people who face malnutrition. The chemical was great. It was tested. Positive results were enforced and results that were positive were further funded (sounds similar to the GMO case doesn’t it?).

Then doom struck. The drug was found to be hazardous to the feotus. The impact couldn’t be rescinded. What was done was done and the lives of many people were ruined before they could even begin. All simply because the discovery of this new “cure” caused refusal in the  scientists to even look properly into the long term effects.

So I have a fully formed idea as to why I feel GMOs are a bad idea, to be mass distributed if the exact consequences of the actions cannot be known. So if I have complete faith in my ideas, is it wrong for someone to tell me that I am not a true “scientist” because I don’t believe that GMOs are a bad idea, unless long term research has shown us otherwise? Isn’t that exactly what I am embodying? The curious nature of a physicist, one that is not quietened without proof, not short term results that seem to appeal to the masses? Only one believed me then, and it makes you just wonder that those who call themselves “scientists” are they really open to asking the big questions or are they scared into believing that the reality that society as created for them is satisfactory until someone else, someone not them, has the courage to actual question what seems to be the reality. And if they are waiting for this person to appear then how do they expect him or her to rise about the cloud of sheeplike mentality when they themselves push down these ideas?

Sometimes there are those moments when you feel completely and utterly lost. Who an I? Is a question that never leaves your side. Am I that person who gets angry at every little thing? Or the person who is perpetually happy? Am I the rock lover? Or a Hannah Montana fan? I can’t answers these questions and my brain wants me to be all of them. To fit in. To make people like me. But then I also know that they won’t like me if I am not who i am. So the vicious cycle commences dragging down security and faith till all that is left is a ball of flesh confused, lost and most importantly desperate. Desperate for anyone to say that it’s fine. That I don’t have to pretend. That I can just be myself.

A walk down nostalgia lane

Sometimes you look at one thing every day and it means nothing to you and then suddenly one situation, one perspective and the whole situation changes. That’s what has been happening with my stats. There was one single person reading my blog from India and I just couldn’t figure out who. There were only two people in all of India who had my blog address and one of them had moved away and the other one had become a stranger.

And then he talked to me. I have never seen a stranger put their emotions so upfront to another. And it was refreshing. All those memories of late nights, of sneaking texts and messages under the blanket or sneaking to the living room to turn on the internet so the conversation would never end. That is what that year was for me. Hopefully for the stranger too.

Then it all stopped, the jokes, the laughs, the tears it all vanished. We stopped talking and the link to my previous life, the life where I was with my best friends everyday vanished. He had been my support without knowing it. So maybe the stranger (who I call friend now) will read this, maybe he won’t. But I want it out there to know, that to come up and to deal with something like that is so brave. So if you, you stranger need anything at all.. Please don’t hesitate to ask?

Women are always weaker

You know what is unfair. The need of women to pretend to be emotionless in all situations to exhibit their expertise in an academic field. Some women have less susceptibility by I emotions but then why is it that when they exhibit these emotions are their academic avhievements undermined. And why is it that every guy must fight to prove their worth in this field where they must be superior to the women. It doesn’t matter if they get less marks they will still pretend to be superior in one way or another. And if that doesn’t work they bring emotions into play. That’s all it is for them. A tool to exhibit their dominance.
It frustrates me more than I can put in words. Till schoplcit was just a general competition but now in unuversity it is serious. You finally feel free so being pushed down at this great stage isn’t what you want.
Either that or I need better friends

The man who was always there for me

There are great men in this world, men who you don’t need to know personally for them to have a change on your life. Gandhi, Martin Luther Kind Jr and Obama are such men. The man I knew was one of such men. He wan’t famous and not a lot of people knew about him, but the impact he had on my life is immeasurable.

I only knew him on facebook, and people on facebook aren’t usually the people they are in life, but this man was so pure his essence floated through the fibers of internet and reached me and my best friends heart and touched us. We first encountered him on his comment on his grandsons post. The comment was about coffee and it made no sense. When no one replied to him, after a few more comments the humourist striked again, sayaing “where is my coffee”. Those few words and me and my best friend were sold.

We talked about him for hours on the phone, imagining our first meet, how we would talk about coffee, sing him “its my birthday”, a somg he had posted again on his grandsons page on his birthday expect every bacardi was replaced by sprite. We giggled as he posted comment after comment, sometimes making no sense, sometimes a joke. His profile picture was a picture of the grandson, a boy who shows no emotions, smiling proudly as he held his violin. This picture never changed in the two years we knew him.

And then times changed. We went to university. Granddad stopped posting as many comments. We barely noticed, me and my best friend needed each other to talk about him and now we only talked through whatsapp, a few messaged every few day. We didn’t notice the diminishing posts.

We found out about his death three months after he had died. Three months for a man we gave our hearts to. The man who brought us together. We read his granddaughters epithet for him. She mentioned his cryptic messaged to them. We had seen these messages. We had been looking into his life without even knowing. She talked baout how his humour always lightened the mood, how he was there every time she had a problem. What she didn’t know was that he was there when we had problems too. Instead of talking of these problems we would talk about him and the day would become so much better.  He gave us something to use as a support system. He was our grandfather.