Seize the day! – states the famous quote from the movie Dead Poets Society.
In my teens, when I left home to hang out with my classmates a few streets over, my parents could track my whereabouts in one of two ways: they could either come with me or call me on a landline. Since then, technical evolution has developed in leaps and bounds.
Ever faster computers, the hesitant birth of e-mails, compact disks, mobile phones, and the first local social platform, which we mainly used as an alternative to mails. I was in Krakow, Poland on an Erasmus scholarship when the news arrived about Facebook and what a great way it would be to keep in touch with my Erasmus mates.
Since then, Facebook has devoured the internet and mobile telephony.
But I’m not bent on delivering a dystopian diatribe on how the all-pervasive Facebook has dissolved personal space and put our lives on display for all to see and judge. Because this can – with a modicum of effort – be avoided.
What I am really trying to say is that although nothing forces us to post every banal event, we somehow still do. What’s more, Facebook motivates us to lead a life consisting of postable events.
One could say that this is a case of collective narcissism and our need for recognition and love. But there is more to it.
The digital junk collection that is Facebook, storing and hibernating our moments on some remote servers is ultimately a desperate attempt to stop time
The ever-flowing and more often than not muddy river of time carries with it all the memories we have shared, occasionally bringing random ones to the surface – mostly on anniversaries. But ultimately this river also dumps everything into a great abyss, thus paradoxically being both an attempt at recording events and a permanent reminder of the passage of time.
I cannot know whether Facebook will be with us in a couple of hundred years as are railroads and telephones or be superseded by something else, never to come back again.
What I do know is that man has always been desperate to seize the day, with whatever means at its disposal. And we will keep on fighting the passage of time.
Title image: Niagara Falls (Gergely Szilvay)