There is a new bright trend in modern Society. People value experiences over products. People are more willing to share than to own. People are shifting away from Western capitalism to Zen-Buddhist communalism.
What a heart-warming vision of humanity. Is it really happening?
Of course not. It is only a fantasy. We are as selfish and shallow as ever.
Thanks to smart phones and social media, you can now tell the whole wide World what you are up to, right here right now. Your experiences are no longer stuck in your fading memories and photo albums. They are all neatly framed up on the Internet for anyone else that you allow to see, to see.
A selfie next to the Eiffel Tower is worth more than a Chanel bag. A selfie is hard proof that you have been to Paris. A Chanel bag? Well, anyone could just buy it off the rack from any of its stores worldwide.
A bundle of packaged experiences allows you to show off, far easier and more effective. When you buy a bag, the opportunity to show off is limited to people you meet in person. But when you post a selfie on Facebook, it gets plastered on the Newsfeed of your friends.
But the more you try to capture the moment, the less you live the moment. No photo, then you were not there. Not enough ‘Likes’ for your photo, then you did not have a good enough time.
Your own memory means nothing. Validation from others means everything.
By capturing your experiences, you think you have greater control over them. That you can pin your experiences on a board like pretty butterflies, to admire over and over again. That you can be proud ‘owners’ of your experiences.
Ironically, truth is quite opposite from theory. For the more you try to ‘control’ something, the more that something ends up controlling you. It happens all the time with products. You let your clothes and cars to define who you are. You are chained to the very homes you thought would set you free.
The more you try to curate your experiences, the more you treat your life as a show, crying out for hundreds of thumbs-up. Like an exhibition desperate for rave reviews from critics.
Your life is filtered through the eyes of others, by their judgments. You let your actions be dictated by the audience – your friends, your peers, your social media followers.
Instead of caring about how good you feel, you care more about how good you look (or rather, how good people think you look). Instead of being happy for yourself, you need others to feel happy for you.
In your constant chase to control your experiences, you instead lose control of your own life, your identity, and your sanity.
And then you go a step further. You use filters, cropping, hashtags and other fancy graphical tools. It is not enough to capture moments; you need to be curated. You spend hours long painstakingly selecting and editing your content in the best possible light to gather maximum ‘Likes’.
Your experiences are content, and the worth of your experiences are measured by the number of ‘Likes’. You portray yourself as … a product. Well, not ‘portraying’, more like ‘marketing’ actually. Yes, it is a mad world we live in, where you market your experiences as products. How tragic.
Taking photos of everyday stuff? Do not fool yourself. No one really gives a shit (except maybe creepy stalkers, your overprotective Mom, your jealous ex and other sad insecure souls who keep bugging you to follow them back).
Life is a stage. Shake off your strings. Do not be a puppet. Dance to your own tune. Dance even if the camera is not rolling. Dance like no one’s watching. Dance your heart away.
Just cherish your experiences. You do not need to capture, curate and control them. For if they are truly worth remembering, they will burn brightly in your memory and the memories of people touched by them.
You can always make new ones, better ones, more memorable ones. Live every moment as if you can not relive them again. Live every moment as if you can not remember them tomorrow.