For a long time now, ever since I have got on Facebook and had many people mostly from my past, friends or not, send me "friend" requests, I have been feeling a vague distaste for this whole social networking culture. That still small voice has been nagging away at the back of my consciousness and I'm finally starting to sit up and take notice. Why does Facebook creep me out? Here is a start:
My friends list is basically a graveyard of people I have had some intereraction with in the past, some memorable, some wholly forgettable. And after they request to add me as a "friend", there is no further interaction forthcoming from them, even ON Facebook! So this whole adding-as-friend business seems to me to be a subtle kind of mutual voyeurism agreement - you peek into my social world and I'll peek into yours, with a still more subtle connotation of "and then let's see who is cooler". Everything you join, do or say reflects on the newsfeed that all the "friends" get to see - so everything that you say or do or join, you do with an eye for how it will look, how it will affect my "cool factor". Quite a Danse Macabre of the ego.
In a recent discourse to His students, Baba said, "I wish that you all be very careful in your contacts and relations with others. If possible, dump your cell phones in a well. You will be happy and peaceful. Better you don’t acquire them at all! Even if you acquire one, establish contact and connection with only those with whom it is desirable. Do not develop unnecessary and undesirable contacts with others. By developing such contacts, you gather news from all and sundry and pass it on to others. Ultimately, you will end up as Narada, poking your nose in all sorts of things. You will not only spoil your mind with unwanted things but spoil the minds of others too! Why all this unpleasantness? Is it not because of your unwanted and undesirable telephonic contacts? Hence, be careful and earn a good name for yourself, your parents, and the institution in which you are studying."
He's talking about cellphones, but He has also described Facebook to a T! The message here is more than clear. In a nutshell, Facebook turns you into a Narada of the worst kind!
Eckhart Tolle once said in an interview - "Transcending the world does not mean to withdraw from the world, to no longer take action, or to stop interacting with people. Transcendence of the world is to act and interact without any self-seeking. In other words, it means to act without seeking to enhance one's sense of self through one's actions or one's interaction with people."
Now we're doing precisely that in Facebook - seeking to enhance one's sense of self through one's actions (like joining groups after seeking what you want to identify with out there) or one's interactions with people (commenting, peeking into profiles, writing on walls, relentlessly acquiring "friends")!!
Someone once said that your past is the ultimate delusion, and Facebook keeps one nicely anchored in that delusion. And it's so insidious that you don't realize it at first. On the surface it is most innocent, hail-fellow-well-met and all that, just keeping in touch with people, what can be nicer? But underneath, your ego is just feasting off the whole thing, revelling in self-preoccupation, muddying your mind with an explosion of unnecessary thoughts and emotions, and taking you far away from the Here and Now. When Here and Now is where life is.
Social networking for the sake of social networking is an ego prop I no longer want to burden myself with.