a life removed

i understand the temptation to imprint yourself on the blank slate of the universe, to say, “i was here, take note.” but there must be more soul-gratifying ways to do so than grafting yourself on to every passing occasion. are we all so wedded to the “spectatorial” gaze – the confirming, approving gaze of others – that we don’t feel endorsed in the privacy of our own consciousness? it seems we’ve been so inundated lately with carefully edited look at others’ lives that it’s left us terminally insecure and in need for reassurance. it’s as though we can’t decide the quality of our daily experiences without culling the crowd’s opinions.
besides, i wonder what part of the experience gets lost: instead of your won lens being enough, everything gets distilled through a second LCD screen. you end up living life removed, dissociated from your own sensations, perceptions, and feelings. today every event is deemed kodak-worthy, and you can’t digest the moment before it’s out in the world, leaving you as an empty canister of film.
this is not a Luddite’s diatribe against the digital age. what i am making a plea for is a return to internalizing experiences instead of treating all of life as a performance in search of an audience. rather than take cues from kim kardashian, we might cast our eyes back to the late lauren bacall who cultivated an air of mystery on and off the screen. if we emulated bacall, the radical way we live today would be as if no-one were watching. who knows, that glamour of anonymity might make a comeback, if we pause and put our damn phones down.

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