It’s 2022, and war is still happening. Naive as this intro may sound, it describes precisely how I feel about this week’s horrendous news. No matter how hard I try to process this information, to somehow fit it among other life events that may or may not interest me, I simply fail. How has our processing of information changed during the past few years of digitalisation? How is the utter transformation of the digital media landscape affecting our understanding of severity, especially considering our constantly shrinking attention span? How could it be affecting our awareness on life threatening matters, giving new nuances in the definitions of war, in this case in Ukraine? Most importantly, how is our social identity redefined, redirected, and expressed?
So many questions; so much information; so much pain, scattered across social media, proportionally laid next to fashion shows and vegan recipes. Feels to me that all sense of proportion has been lost, leaving us instead with a sense of disorientation: scrolling up and down essentially dissimilar, but visually equalised content, results in a frenetic, emotional rollercoaster, which ultimately leaves us dangerously numb: nothing sticks longer than its scrolling duration. Unable to absorb all this information, we end up retaining nothing. I spent significant time reading about the current Russian invasion, yet here I am, writing this edit while I listen to music. Fuck; this feels so wrong on so many levels.
Since the pandemic, the hardest global hit during the cyber era, there has been so much frustration on every level that has been pacified via content consumption. Why else do we need all this light content for, if not to pacify ourselves? Seems to me that we are in need of complacency, be it real or not. If so, why? Because, why should life be heavy anyway? We are all tired of heavy; we are tired of pandemics, wars, austerity, emergencies. What I believe that we are tired the most, is the inability of the current system to focus on solutions that will ultimately improve life for everyone. But. This is where the problem lies: we share no common direction as far as what life’s improvement means. For some it means one thing, for others another. For as long as we fail to reach a semantic agreement on a global level, normality at large will continue being forfeited, will continue being utopic.
All in all, the content that has reached me this past week has been terrifyingly triggering, as well as confusing. How am I as a user to distinguish the importance of each piece of information? Supposing that I do somehow grasp the gravity of an event as serious as war, am I supposed to make a stand by picking a side, and am I educated enough to do so? Most importantly, should I be educated to tell right from wrong, especially on such complicated matters?
This is how we should evolve as content consumers, primarily educating ourselves on how to process information. Previously, with traditional newspapers’ covers, things were much easier. During the transition from print to digital, the format has changed dramatically, and so has our understanding of it. What happened to layout? Where are the headlines? Where is content diversification according to importance? In all sincerity, is the latter even possible during digitalisation? For the time being, it seems not to be. What is important, though, is the extended dialogue across the planet, which would not have been possible without the internet. This cordless, rapidly spread reality, gives us the chance to have an entirely new approach to life-threatening events, such as a war in this occasion.
What does war mean? What does it mean to humanity in a broader sense? What does it mean on a local level? Do all these details matter during war? Frankly, I think that nothing matters during war, since, if taken, this road has no other ending than annihilation. And that is never an option. To my eyes, war is the ultimate form of destruction. At the snap of a bomb, it eradicates all of our painstakingly gained progress, both spiritually and organically, condemning the attacked to prolonged, even interminable at times, recession.
A country hit by war, most likely will always be sided by peacekeeping messiahs, ready to exchange peanuts of prosperity for economical, political, or even territorial rights. No entity grants peace for free: this is why it is crucial to understand that eluding war is a costly hobby for everyone involved. War has no winners, war is never a solution, war is eradicative. Waging war in the name of peace, feels absurd, almost ridiculous. What peaceful weapon do we have against war? That one is so easy to answer, yet so hard to apply: collective, anti-war alliance; on every level.
Never have I ever witnessed such a profound humanitarian, socio-economical, and for the first time military, digital solidarity. The constantly growing digital activism has reached an unprecedented milestone, with an online fundraiser for the Ukrainian army. On the other hand, the most powerful digital players reach new levels of cyber sanctions: according to the parent company of Facebook, Meta Platforms Inc is now censoring Russian state media from running ads, campaigns, or anyhow monetising on its platform anywhere in the world. Definitely many obscure points here in terms of legality, but what is legal about war anyway
What saddens me the most, is the need of regulators overall: do we really have to choose sides, Putin or Biden or NATO in this case? Humanism is usually lost through the slits of such choices. Are we ever going to understand that no enemy should ever be identified in the face of another human? Are we ever going to channel our energy towards prosperity and existential evolution? Ultimately, will we ever focus on nobility and peaceful coexistence?
I read a statement of a Ukrainian woman who lost her house due to bombings. “Make peace,” she said. “Reach an agreement. You are all adults, educated people. Make peace so that people can live freely, without tears and suffering.” It is evident that no matter one’s education, kindness is not guaranteed, as it is a lesson taught by heart, not by brain. The skillset needed to elevate us from warfare to welfare, is compassion at its purest form. Respecting boundaries, be them geographical, emotional, mental, physical, suggests that one has an intimate understanding of coexistence, a humble control of greediness, and a foundational appreciation of life: it takes collective effort to centre this idea and actively pursue it worldwide. Have a lovely Sunday.