Life has become easier but not better

11/29/2018 - 19:22 PM

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We are now approaching the end of the second decade of the 21st century. A lot happened since the information technology outbreak in the 80s. Now we are connected to more people than ever before, spend hours on the phone looking for information we want at almost no cost and selectively turning our lives to almost a virtual one.  However, let us think about it with a pause. How absurd have we become? The booming culture of social media has literally turned real life into a tasteless construct that consumes most of our time every day. According to American adults, spend at least 11 hours interacting, reading, watching or simply listening to news through social media daily.


The culture of consumerism has also been severely affected by our world that has turned virtual. We literally squeeze ourselves into the cyber world. Perhaps it's the human nature of attention seeking and recognition to spend time transforming their lives that turned meaningless. Individualism to the millennial generations took the wrong path by turning into a competition and animosity. As the world is now virtually accessible within one click, we can now understand how normalized are its contrasts. Middle-income families that provide a privileged lifestyle to their kids make the latent share their meal photos on Instagram merely a sign of an upkeeping with modernity whatsoever that might translate into real life.


The commercialization of the mindset of consumerism reached a new level of cultural mayhem. I do remember that it took Apple Inc. nearly 18 months between the release of the first iPhone and iPhone 3G. Whereas it only took 9 months gap between the release of iPhone 8 and iPhone X. Finally, Apple released 3 different versions of iPhone X in 2018 alone! Yeah, because most people actually need a face recognition to unlock their phones and that using fingerprints as a unique security is now cliché and old-fashioned. It might actually feel great to do an upgrade by spending an additional $200 to get a device with additional features that are the least relevant to the ordinary human life. Maybe a front camera with additional megapixels would make the selfie more professional.  Do not forget the Instagram that would make that selfie more nostalgic by its vintage filters. Duh!


Even multinational corporations that always campaigned for equality and justice would still pay celebrities tens of millions of dollars for commercials at a cost that by far exceeds the amount needed for the "cause" itself. However, at any cost celebrities would be the bait to galvanize the ordinary people towards any disguised attempt to show the goodwill of the world without even taking an action to end the misery.


Have you ever heard of the term ‘'education-inflation''? Yes, this is its literal meaning. The degrees you earned at your college earns you far less money than your parents' high school diploma. It does not even matter whether you got your Alma mater is from a prestigious institute or public university. You will be now paying an accumulated student debt for the two decades before you start saving money for an apartment. You might even be having two jobs because your employer who is a multimillionaire is too greedy to pay a surviving wage.

Life is not about racing for materialistic gains in a short period, it is more about defining the goals of what we want to accomplish and what we expect to achieve. Life's not about the latest phone you have, camouflaged persona on social media or job you do. We are living in the times where life becomes easier but definitely not better.

* Fidel Azazi is a Lebanese graduate student of Political Science at Université La Sagesse, human rights activist and a previous United Nations Employee. 
Azazi is also an active member of the New Orleans Secular Humanist Association based in New Orleans, Louisiana.






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