Performing in the World Stage

That we are actors in a play in which we must perform our parts as best we can is an old metaphor of the ancient Stoics. Epictetus was especially fond of it. The point being that many things in our lives are outside our control and influence. And so we must focus on those we can alter and transform and disregard the many others we can’t do anything about. Life is but a stage.

The ever-increasing speed and interconnectedness of the world made possible first by industrialization and currently by the internet is taking this ancient metaphor to its most extreme realization. The digital is taking over the physical, the former becoming more real than the latter. And thus rendering life even more of a stage.

Your avocado toast, your CrossFit workout, your low-cost flight, your visit to the cereal bar downtown… they are all mere physical tokens that transform into social currency when they become digital and increase your perceived social market value. And the problem with giving in into this dynamic is that you become a slave of algorithms. The dopamine pirates in Silicon Valley have designed their user-generated media platforms in such a way that they reward constant interaction and new content. Younger, thinner, hotter influencers flaunting their hips and cleavages. More extravagant recipes with ludicrous combinations of fats and sugars. More outrageous more shocking content. Schizophrenic neomania. The digital world first started as the mild and soothing “Digital Love” from Daft Punk’s “Discovery.” It has since become the dark and industrial “Technologic” from their next album “Human After All”.

Give in, or disconnect. The choice is yours.

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