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I'm a teenage girl who enjoys a variety of things, such as flowers, colors, piano, music, henna, writing, animals, reading, acting, creating, talking, moving, learning, smiling, and playing. This blog is about my life, interests, and observations.

Monday, August 30, 2010

To Exist.

I just read a book set in the future. Everyone has their own feed - posting pictures and blogs and videos - everyone is always connected, everyone wants everyone to look at them. To be famous is to get what you want, no questions asked. Not too different from the world as we know it now, is it? But it brought to my attention a certain question: what if you unplug, and no one is looking at you anymore. Do you still exist?

The answer is yes, of course, but the frightening truth behind the question lingers: most (if not all) people want to be acknowledged, to really prove their existence to the world. They want to leave something behind, to be remembered. But it's also a question of security. Do you still feel comfortable in your skin, doing what you're doing, if you're the only one giving yourself approval? Or do you feel you need the eyes of the world on you, nodding, giving you a pat on the back?

A rough quote from the book is, "Don't worry, you'll still exist, even if you don't have a camera pointing at you."

There are so many people I know and look up to, all of whom are confident and happy and secure in who they are as people. But I still can't help but feel bad for the people out there that think they need to be showered with attention to feel alive, and as soon as there is no one looking at them, think they're alone. That doesn't seem like a happy or fulfilling "existence" to me, if it can be called one.

So here I write my own philosophical inquiry:

If you do something and no one knows, did you do it? If you did something only so someone would know, was it worth doing?

If you're alive but no one knows, do you really exist? If you live only so people know you exist, is it a life worth living?

10 comments:

Ren said...

We're communal creatures, so I think the desire to connect, to reach out, to be loved and to love are all totally natural. But great questions and ponderings...as always! Good to ask ourselves why we do certain things....I do love reading about what everyone is up to from day to day of course!

Laura/CenterDownHome said...

What Ren said. I think that we are all reaching for love, for connection. But as I read your post, I was thinking about the young people who attain fame these days, and how they equate it with love, and how some of them fly high, then crash and burn. Is it because they get all of the attention they seek, but something is still missing? Does it call into question the nature of love and connection versus that of fame and notoriety? What are we all really seeking?
Abbi, have you read Fahrenheit 451? I remember the main character's wife spent her days in front of a screen watching strangers that she called her family. She was so disconnected from real life, real relationships, that she tried to commit suicide.

Whew -- interesting, this post of yours that has me thinking deep thoughts before my morning coffee!

laura said...

i have asked myself these questions. there are times when my need for validation and just to be seen is so strong. other times not so much. this is actually pretty timely for me as i'm pondering these things long and hard the past few days. having this desire to simply withdraw from the facebook world...from technology in general. i think having grown up without much of it gives me a point of reference. of what it looks like without it and to sometimes crave that simplicity. the idea of being far and away from everything appeals. to do something for myself that no one can see. to not feel the need to share everything (or almost everything) i do. my isolationist self is emerging lately. could be the hint of fall in the air...

Abbi Traaseth said...

Ren and Laura (P), I completely agree that as humans, social interaction and connection is essential. I definitely went to the extreme in this post, thinking past "average" connection to being afraid of being alone, or getting a sense of apathy if you do something without acknowledgment.

I'm glad that you found an interest in my post! You both raised good points; exactly what I was going for. As for Fahrenheit 451, I haven't, but I'll look into it if you recommend it. :)

Laura (B), also what I was going for. Lately I've been practicing a bit of meditation, and what it means for me to just be content with knowing that I am calm, without someone else patting me on the back or looking up to me or trying to do better. A lack of competition. Just me, myself and I, how I can love me, and what that means to me.

That is to say, I think balance is even more essential. Loving and accepting yourself in all of your qualities, even if you do crave to share with people. And sharing- that's what friends are for! To turn your back on them completely, I'd say you're going to the other extreme, and that's not necessarily healthy either.

Mm! What Laura said: deep thoughts, before my tea!

Mary Ann said...

Just came across your post by God-Incidence. It was just what I needed to hear. Thanks so much for sharing your insights.

rances said...

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