Nelson Mandela, and The Singularity of Modern Life

So, Nelson Mandela died. It’s really sad. However, i must confess that I didn’t make a facebook/twitter status about him. To be honest, I didn’t really follow his work, I never said he was my greatest idol, and I only had a tenuous grasp of the story of his life (although, of course I know how important he was). I didn’t say anything because my words would have been meaningless. I respectfully and soberly read what others wrote, and thought ‘well done for living so long and surviving so much’.

Lots of people in my social networks posted about how much they loved him and what an inspiration he was, and everyone seemed to be copy and pasting quotes as quickly as they could. But all of this seemed a little trite. Of course, fair enough if you truly did love him. I just hope that the people repeating the things he said actually stop, analyse the content, and ask themselves if they are actually taking note of what he is saying and making a change. I just hope that his messages do not become lost.

As many have pointed out, he was long viewed as a terrorist by the west. Now, his wise observations on black power and real, tangible, damaging segregation seemed to have been hijacked by people who want to use them as general spiritual, aspirational quotes, without thinking of the political and historical context of what they are quoting.

Never forget him, and what he did; but also do not see him as the man who single-handedly ‘got rid’ of racism. Do not see his struggles as a relic of the past. He knew that we still have further to go; I hope everyone else remembers that.

Ok, onto the next thing. Have a little click on the picture below…

Scary, huh? See how the internet can promote political extremism and bigotry and a  closed mind (of any kind, I’m not just talking about the far right here). It’s easy to think that the little online bubbles created for us online are unbiased reality. But adverts are tailored to us. On top of that, we choose who to follow and like and be friends with. It’s harder to have your views challenged. Which is dangerous.  We all play a role in creating our own realities, and what we see as mainstream. So try to consciously choose to read and consume good things. Meaningful things. Sometimes you need to step back and try and realise what’s really going on. Stop being hemmed into pigeonholes that can be easily marketed to.

So, we all have our little filter bubbles; our individual worlds. And speaking of individual worlds, I was on Pinterest the other day looking through deep quotes and shit (cuz that’s how I do), and I noticed something about all those quotes. They’re all about self love, or what a special person you are, or cutting people out of your life if they don’t serve any purpose, or that success is all down to you and how much you try (and not influenced by external societal factors), or that beauty and dreams are more important that reality. Individualistic neoliberal propaganda? Or is that just my crazy Sociology student brain? Probably the second one. And this isn’t representative of the whole site or anything. But I didn’t see many about helping others, loving society, acting as a collectivity, or taking responsibility for the state of the world…to be fair, some of that tumblr quotes kind of shit can be pretty profound. Sometimes. When it’s not being cringey.


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