Illustration by JAYMEE L. AMORES


A SPIRITED SOUL - Jeannie E. Javelosa (The Philippine Star) - April 29, 2018 - 12:00am

I was trying to reach myself and was blocked against myself. Some hacker got the better of me by taking my personal Facebook away.

In five seconds, I went through a whirlwind of wild emotions from feeling violated, angry and vulnerable. I felt the frustration and sheer helplessness. By the 10th second, I had become coldly detached. Perhaps it was my coping mechanism to think hard and logical about what to do next, especially since so much of my life, work and relationships are supported and built through social media.

As I write, it is Day 5 of me stepping back from the Facebook site as I rethink how to approach my online footprint. While Facebook security responded, the thought that my personal history and photos of more than a decade are in the hands of some stranger fills with whatever evil intentions, fills me with dread. Worst, Facebook is the online space where we, as small entrepreneurs, link our personal footprints for the authenticity and traceability of our brands’ messages and storytelling so vital to the market today.

The recent security issues of Facebook have been all over global headlines, so I won’t even go there. What is frightening is the sophistication and proliferation of hackers today. Which begs an answer to the question…do we even want to continue using Facebook? Technology is a given, we need to use this. With Facebook as the biggest, strongest, global footprint that has helped make the world a smaller place — this social media giant is so powerful that its positive use can really help change the world. But I guess I am too much the idealist. For there lurks, too, a growing negative force, driven by people with real evil intent of sowing confusion, control and fear. 

On the other hand, I view this situation with another perspective. When I want to post something or check the site, I stop myself and think. Now that I cannot post, is this post really relevant? Do I really need to connect out there? My next concern was for all my FB friends. I was appeased only after Facebook security froze the site.

My real reflection was on my history of posts, photos and videos since 2007. That’s a good 11 years! With my yogic brain kicking in, I realize that all of the past is really gone, finished, kaput…and those posts…mere memories, like “dust in the wind.” What is central to all this is the attachment to our personality and outside image, our compulsion to create perfect, happy settings to define who we are for the world to recognize. Our addiction includes how many “likes” we get for every post, and the emotional roller coasters that may be related to them. Although not a clinical diagnosis, social media addiction is a global social epidemic happening. So central it is to our lives, relationships and the molding of the youth that social scientists study and write about it, researches are funded, therapies are suggested and we, the obsessed netizen-public, realize we are battling varying levels of online addiction.

Harvard University researches have actually hooked people up to functional MRI machines to scan their brains. They found that self-disclosure communication stimulates the brain’s pleasure center much like sex and food. Technology has enabled the egoic mind’s pleasure to graduate from sensory to mental stimulations.

It has enabled us to express, not just the ethos of our age, but the ethos of each of our own minds. That’s 1.34 billion minds on Facebook! The real crux of the Facebook phenomena is the hold on our consciousness. There is the collective that is unconscious and can be manipulated. But there is also a small collective within that is aware, conscious and using social media for positive change. Because of the latter, there, too, is a part of the collective slowly awakening.

Content is clearly king. There is a power in the self-disclosure content being driven by 1.34 billion users 24/7 that gives rise to two energies interacting with each other. Two energies that define consciousness levels. It is still about the higher versus the lower. They who control the global network control the world, control consciousness. I must admire the skill of these hackers. Those used for cyber security, and those used by a negative control network. Again, it’s still the age-old game of good versus evil being played out on the internet. And we, all of us online who build on the footprint of Facebook, what game do we play?

Day 5 without Facebook and suddenly I feel a sense of liberation. It’s the same way I felt when I chose to take my TV away because of all the bad news. Or when I lost my second phone, which also kept me addicted online. Maybe that old me online from 2007 must now take up a new space, be defined in a new way. And like a snake shedding its skin for further growth and to remove parasites, stepping off Facebook (at least for now) doesn’t sound so bad. I’ll live.

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