The World Has Always Been on Fire

Photo by Elijah O’Donnell on Unsplash

FACT: Everyone who has ever lived has had to face adversity.

Still, for some reason, it feels like society has become an increasingly difficult place to live.

The past few months have only deepened fears of a looming economic crisis and cynicism toward government.

Nostalgia can feel overwhelming when each day appears to usher in a new nightmarish historical event.

Since this year has begun the Senate acquitted the President of the United States of impeachment charges, a beloved public figure died tragically, the coronavirus pandemic has affected millions, elections have been canceled, unemployment rates have soared, and most recently ‘murder hornets’ have spread to the U.S. for the first time.

These horrible and overwhelming events are only new to us, not this world.

There have always been economic crises, trauma, plagues, genocide, terrorism, slavery, and oppression. They’ve also almost always coincided with each other. A cluster of chaos.

But again, the world itself has not changed, technology has.

The internet gathers evils of the world and delivers them to our inboxes and posts them to our timeless, packaged as news.

The 24-hour news cycle prevents us from ignoring the latest horrific events.

Revolutions, pandemics, naturals disasters are all able to be live-streamed. All occurring on the same social networks we turn to for entertainment.

To go online is to accept the perils of the world into your home.

The world is shrinking due to globalism and expanding internet connectivity. Our increased proximity to the complex human experience, especially pain, through the digital landscape has heightened our empathy.

Digital citizens are left feeling the impact of what once would’ve been someone else’s problem.

Today we may be separated by land and culture but remain linked together by web servers, satellites, and ethernet cables. Instantaneous alerts and notifications prevent ignorance and reduce apathy.

In the past, even had you cared for the plight of people halfway across the globe, limited information would’ve prevented you from acting in any significant manner.

The battle would’ve been won, the insurgents defeated, the wall torn down and a new political regimen put in place.

Now, there are no excuses.

The internet can inundate its with visitors with horrors of people they don’t personally know and display the universal human experience, suffering.

Recordings of children crying while their homes are bombed, footage of cities being burned down, and families being separated auto-play on Youtube and continue to replay in the minds of viewers much longer.

This ability to be separated physically but mentally aware reinforces the burdens that come with complete digital accessibility.

The people of the past did not have it easier they were just more ignorant.

Even without today’s technology, there has always been a push for increased communication, whether it was via morse code, telegraph, or carrier pigeon.

These low-speed forms of communication didn’t stop the tragedies from occurring but only allowed for greater passivity.

No, things aren’t worse than they’ve ever been. Technology just has increased awareness and produced greater equity.

Marginalized communities now can use technology to amplify knowledge of the injustices they face. Environmental agencies can raise awareness of forthcoming nature disasters. More voices can be heard and change can be made, both far and wide.

So, if you want things to go back to how they used to be I offer you a simple remedy, just unplug.

Life eventually comes for everyone.

I’m sure you’ll let us, the people of the internet, know when it comes for you too.

Social media and culture writer. @bonebritt

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