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Get used to it, the world is just one giant selfie….

1441488_10151644964722134_1507196199_nGARY JUFFA

THE world is one giant selfie…. That’s the conclusion I reached some time ago when I saw a post by a friend on Facebook.

Yes, Facebook, the social media network for communicating and posting your opinions, photos of anything and everything, and staying in touch. I went back to Facebook after avoiding it for about a year.

I took time out so I could concentrate on what I needed to do. That’s the official reason.

Actually, I got off it because I kept finding myself having to respond to comments and react and act and correct and so forth. I was getting frustrated at having to explain every time to everyone who wanted to know something. The cartoon above says it all.

Anyway, someone said I should get back on Facebook so I can connect with people.

I agreed, and so far so good. I have even restrained myself from commenting on forums and pages that do need correcting. I have made a concerted effort to ignore the blurted out comments and the completely off the mark statements some people make to posts.

Humour is not always translated the way it was intended, is all I can say.

Back to my original statement about the world being a giant “selfie”.

It was in reaction to a statement made by a friend (Facebook friend – do they count as real friends?) who spoke of a friend interviewing university students for employment. A great number insisted they were “leaders” or had “leadership qualities”.

They went on to state that what was wanted was a “team player”. I read some of the interesting comments (there are some real gems of wisdom if you sift through the lot and ignore the rocks) and found one which more or less stated that this was what was happening these days.

People are evolving and individuals are being influenced by the new norms being set by an evolving society. Smart stuff, I thought. It’s true I think, though this is a conclusion from my own limited experience, so please nobody base a thesis on my assumptions here.

Everywhere you go, you will experience that everything has a price tag on it. If it doesn’t, it will, when someone realises a profit can be turned from it. That’s the way the world is moving, man.

Just try going home to the village and asking someone to help you build a house or clear a patch of bush. Prior to and just after independence, if you made an announcement that you wanted to clear a patch of bush or build a house, your relatives and friends turn up and do it for free.

Well sort of. They did it knowing that, when they needed help, you would be there too. You didn’t have to pay them upfront or coax them with money and goods.

Well, the goods are no longer applicable. Everyone wants real money and they are no longer easily swayed by tobacco and a carton of lamb flaps. Except during election period, but that’s another story.

Anyway, the understanding was there that communal help was available to individuals who were part of a community on the understanding that the individual was also required to chip in for something at some later date.

Today, if you were to make such an announcement, you would be literally chased away if you did not offer some form of monetary payment up front.

They will turn up and do it. But at a fee!

Of course we are prone to nostalgic reminiscing about the good old days when people cared and shared and gave up their time and sweat out of good will.

But were they really good old days? If so, then for who were they good? People are educated. Well sort of. They know money. They know time equals money. They know if you want their time, you will need to pay them money.

People are also figuring out that it is better to negotiate a price for oneself than for a group because sharing is complicated and not everyone gets what they deserve or what they want.

The individual emerges as more important than the community. Villages are broken down into hamlets and tribes into clans and extended families into nuclear families and finally individuals.

Individuals who are people in their own eyes but, to the globalised corporatised world, merely consumers existing merely to purchase. We have become self – absorbed.

And so here comes the selfie.

That’s right. Everyone for himself, that’s the way of the world today: “Me first everyone else later”, that’s the world’s vision and mission statement rolled into one giant selfie.

When was the last time you spent any real time concerned about anyone but yourself? Let’s say the kids for instance.

We all like to imagine we are great parents who love our children to death and spend quality time with them but are we really?

Of course we love our children, but I mean spending time with them? Where are they and what are they doing? Most likely taking selfies with the new gadgets they purchased or you purchased for them because you felt guilty for not spending time with them.

Time is money. Even the kids know that. Try spending time with them. It will cost you. They charge their fees too. They are going to negotiate their time for a fee.

Time is money. You need it to make money. So you can have money to consume. So you forgo certain things, like spending time with your kids. How about your spouse? Are you really spending quality time there? Gauge how much time you spend doing what you want compared to what you both do together. She won’t mind. She is busy too. Updating her status or taking a picture of her dinner or just another selfie.

Well, in due course when all is almost lost, the earth at the brink of destruction (contemplating ejecting man via some horrible disease) all thanks to the great economies that are being pitted against one another by the real empire, Corporatedom, whose mission is pure greed and profit, yes only then shall the people shift from the “selfie” to the “global philanthropist”.

Here will be crowds of people, mainly wealthy people because they have the time which also means they have the money to throw around and can actually contemplate what’s happening to the world and will try to correct it by doing good things to save it and also try to convince their fellow wealthy people that they should stop polluting the earth and digging giant holes and emptying all the oceans of marine life and cutting all the trees down.

They won’t be doing it to save the poor but to save themselves and feel good and so since the rest of the world of man lives in the same planet Earth, they can be saved along with it.

There is another reason I wanted to show that cartoon. It’s a fact that articles with pictures have more chance of being read. So the cartoon will get some attention and perhaps this article will be read.

That’s right. No one reads much these days. It interferes with more important things. Like taking selfies and watching rugby league. But hopefully my article will get you thinking.

I believe that, if everyone takes a step back to stop and think what they are doing as individuals and stop taking so many selfies, they may just realise that we need to connect with each other if we are to get out of this mess we have all created.

I know, it’s very naive but it’s a reasonable excuse to write a rant.

Don’t worry if you don’t get this, I didn’t either after I read it all, but it sounded interesting at the time I wrote it! By the end of the week no doubt it will lose its flavour and I shall replace it with something more easily understandable or maybe just a selfie!


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Chris Overland

Gary, I want to reassure you that you are not alone in your assessment of the impact of modern information and communication technology (ICT).

ICT has become a tremendous forum for a great deal that is selfish, venal, cruel, contemptible, banal and just plain stupid.

But, before we all lapse into utter despondency about the state of humanity, we also need to remember that ICT is a facilitator of a great deal that is humane, altruistic, intelligent, enlightening, educational and even meaningful.

This very forum upon which you in PNG and many people scattered around the world are having a hopefully intelligent conversation, is surely an example of the good side of ICT?

All human technologies prove to be two edged swords. Poor Alfred Nobel honestly thought that his great invention (dynamite) was so powerful and terrible that it would end warfare. The prize named after him is his attempt to make amends for his terrible error in judgement.

We must not despair. All that we see or hear via ICT is never the whole story, only part of it.

For every opinionated fanatic or moron given a voice on the internet, there are many more people quietly working to make our world a better place.

We must all hope that the latter ultimately prevail over the former.

Barbara Short

Thank you Gary, very true, sadly! It is called "selfishness".

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