Perhaps I'm just a bit too invested in the day to day statuses of people I know (and sometimes have never met) on Facebook. Perhaps in the algorythms in the UI's of my news feeds, there are just too many articles marked for self affirmation. Maybe because I'm regularly trying to be a better person in general, I'm merely seeing the onslaught of memes that encourage everyone to "Be YOU!" and "Give No Fucks" and "Love Yourself!"
Since as long as I have been an artist, I've been fascinated with the image of a high rise apartment building (think a brownstone in New York City painted by Edward Hopper) with the front facade sliced away revealing all the inhabitants. In the most voyeuristic fashion, imagine no one in the various compartments knows the facade is gone and that you can see them as they go about the business of life. In that high rise there will be at least one person being born, at least one person taking a final breath. One person is in love, while three floors down is someone experiencing soul-crushing heartbreak. And the image is that of the Whole of Humanity and it gives me a sense that there is a larger system in place than merely the act of survival.
And it occurs to me that Facebook IS that high rise. Except that in this high rise, everybody is aware that I'm looking and is crafting who I see with a bit of artifice. The mask presented is subtle (sometimes) and obvious for others, but if I look hard enough, I can see behind the facade thrown up and see behind it.
There are the people who post random shots of food they're eating and videos of cats and dogs and elephants doing adorable things and their recommendations for television and movies. Behind that facade seems to be people who want other people to "like" them by posting a lot of harmless, goofy stuff.
There are the folks who use the Book of Face to present political arguments and articles detailing issues we think are worth discussing. Unfortunately, many of these types tend to "black box" their issues and post the same outrage about the same issues over and over (I know as I am one of this type) until no one is listening anymore. It's a case in that too much outrage becomes white noise (or #blacklives noise or #antiGOP noise) and, in the end, wastes the simple pulpit they have to offer ideas from to instead alienate and bore people.
Others post enough "Give No Fucks" and "I'm the Best Me I Can Be" self affirmations that it makes you wonder why they feel so shitty about themselves. I mean, anyone who needs to remind the world how much he loves himself and how badass he is on a routine basis probably has some self esteem issues. Once a month? Sure. Three times a week? Problems behind that particular mask.
The challenge in living in this world is to Give No Fucks, indeed. Give No Fucks about the things that do not deserve your attention. Shun those who are beyond your control to change. Ignore the opinions of you (you're fat or ugly or loud or vulgar) that ultimately are meaningless. Tune out the white noise - be a friend rather than an "ally" as "allies" are only that as long as their contribution is on someone else's terms. Give No Fucks to those areas in the World that deserve no fucks.
But absolutely Give a Shit. Give a Shit about the struggles of other people. Give a Shit about using your voice to make a difference rather than simply be heard. Give a Shit about issues that affect actual people rather than hurt your self inflated ego and sense of heroism in your own fucking movie. Give a Shit about learning and adapting and growing. Give a Shit about reading something new rather than just listening to people jaw on about their filtered version of the Truth.
1.5 out of every 7 people are on Facebook and that's a whole lot of fucking statuses. That's a ridiculously huge high rise and far too many people to even imagine keeping tabs on. But the tiny slice of my FB "friends" gives me a strange view of the rest of humanity and what I am learning from my vantage point is to Absolutely Give No Fucks but Definitely Give a Shit.