Going Cold Turkey on Facebook

I have deactivated my Facebook account about two times in the past and last weekend was the third time. I probably am deactivating my account for good. Maybe I’d go as far as deleting in completely.

As Facebook went on to become the biggest social network, I have been constantly bombarded by ads that I could not get rid off to the point of major annoyance. Ads ranging from a variety of spurious products to things as despicable as softcore pornography coupled with all sorts of useless information have invaded my account. My privacy and my data are at risk over Facebook. It opens up the to door to so much temptation. This is one good reason to quit.

Out of the few 200+ Facebook friends I have, how many of those are really my friends? I would bet that only a tiny percentage. It is a meaningless demographic.

Facebook has also become a big distraction that it takes away precious hours that I could have used for other more purposeful activities. It is like the gossip column of your local daily newspaper, only bigger!

The last time I used Facebook, I was exposed to so much negativity that I decided to quit. Isn’t Facebook supposed to be a place where people share each others thoughts, ideas, and experiences? Apparently, this is a double-edged sword. It has become a space that is toxic with hateful and judgmental speech. I couldn’t stand it anymore because it has become such a depressing place. I feel like I’m devolving rather than improving when I’m on Facebook just because of so much hatred.

Because of Facebook, every person on the planet feels entitled to spew out random thoughts, some of them useful, some of them downright hurtful.  Tactlessness has become the norm, and because of this what little ties people have with one another become severed. One instance of this is that my wife and two of my friends whom I have grown up with now hate each other. Rather than connecting people together, Facebook has become a medium for people to sever ties with one another.  I could no longer stand how both of them exchanged such hurtful words.

James 3:3-10  reads:

3When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

7All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

9With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.”

Facebook has indeed provided many with too much freedom to say what they want and express what they want. People have gone wild over that social network with their words that it does not in any way reinforce thoughtful conversation. Rather, it has become an avenue to slander each other. This I believe is my biggest reason why I have gone cold turkey with regard to Facebook.

Facebook, Virtual Society, Virtual Insanity, Chaos, Order, George Carlin, the “Paradox of Our Time”, and Ecclesiastes

I am but one of the many who have noticed that Facebook is the host or platform for today’s virtual society. Much of the world interacts of Facebook. I myself am, out of necessity (unfortunately), within the confines of that bandwagon. Almost everyone I know is on Facebook although there are three friends who come to mind who are not on Facebook (a high school buddy and two physicians). As almost everybody is immersed on Facebook, almost all sorts of human activity is (dangerously) represented in it such as music, the arts, work and business, social interaction, leisure, etc. Coupled with the advent of tablet computers and smartphones, everybody has a photo album inside Facebook, making physical photo albums almost obsolete. Heck, I for one have digitized some photos from old collections myself. Since FB now appears to be the platform of global society, I also see things such as rumors, political agendas, and everything else in between. You can even say that it also has become a platform for anarchy: one could now easily express thoughts and ideas (through writing mostly) that people would be ashamed of proclaiming in setting where people have to physically meet other people. Apart from actual physical manifestations of people, animals, things, places, etc., it is as if almost everything is there on Facebook, very much like the town squares of cities worldwide, a virtual space where order and chaos are playing tug-of-war.

Much activity on Facebook operates on writing a post, commenting, “liking”, and sharing. Being mired with human imperfection, we often get too much unverified information out of it. Many of my Facebook “friends” have posted a lot of unverified rumors and statements ranging from the usual gossip and pseudoscience to urban legends. A notable one is the essay “Paradox of Our Time”. I’ve been hearing excerpts of this essay over at 98.7 DZFE for quite a few years when just this morning, It’s a very insightful piece regarding observations we see in society today (double income, less family time, the negative perception of marriage, more technology, less physical human interaction, etc.) I saw a friend of mine share the essay over Facebook, saying that the comedian George Carlin wrote it. My skepticism led to me to find out (outside of Facebook) that it was written by a pastor named Dr. Bob Moorehead. Another thing is that on the old George Carlin website, Mr. Carlin said that the essay is not his writing and he even goes on to call that essay as “bad prose”, “weak philosophy”, and a “sappy load of shit” that he doesn’t even care about. The sad thing is that, like in actual physical society, many of my FB “friends” would fall for it, believing that essay to be George Carlin’s writing. I also remember listening to Jamiroquai’s “Virtual Insanity”, which is apparently Jay Kay’s rant about how messed up the world is.

Such observations have led me to thinking about a number of things. It’s already very obvious about how messed up this world is. Chaos has been increasing day by day. It can be easily observed from a number of things ranging from November 2013 supertyphoon in the Philippines to how relativism and situational ethics have become the primary guiding philosophy of this generation. It’s also odd that in this day and age where knowledge flourishes, a lot of people just choose to accept information rather than think about it. I remember that catch phrase from Ecclesiastes that says, “Meaningless. All of this is meaningless”, or “Vanity. All is vanity.” Most of the time, it does appear to be that way, unless you have some sense of purpose of an absolute guiding philosophy that directs how you conduct the way you live out your life.

If I choose to think of my life as nothing more than an accident, then I could just do whatever the hell I want without regard for consequences. After all, everything and everyone is either an accident or a part of something whole entwined in a complex process that is part of a singularity, that somehow, whatever it is that I choose to do, it will all work out towards becoming one. And so therefore chaos wouldn’t matter much. Why would I care then?

However, I don’t think of life that way. I’d rather believe that I have meaning and purpose in life. Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 reads,

“Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the duty of all mankind.
For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil.”

You can call me stupid or crazy but I’d rather believe in meaning than randomness. Let’s say that, for example, I die now and my existence ceases (as naturalists would believe), then I have lost nothing. But if for example I die now and there is something beyond this physical life (yes, I’m talking about God), then I would have gained more. What is there to lose when you believe in something greater than what your five senses can perceive.

Now, what has all of this got to do with the Paradox of Time, Facebook, etc.? Seems like there isn’t a lot but let’s face it. Facebook is now a reflection of what life is like in a messed-up world where everybody calls himself/herself an expert. If you have no solid philosophical framework as the backbone of your mind, then you would be easily led to believe everything you see and hear. We all need some semblance of morality and philosophy to help guide us how we think for ourselves and how we decide what to do with the things we perceive on a day-to-day basis. The philosopher of Ecclesiastes said, “Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.” This is especially evident in the age of information, and Facebook (unfortunately) represents that, a platform that is capable of bombarding us with information, much of which I believe to be useless, and this is why we need something in our minds to filter that.