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Home OPINION Digital activism, real-life slackening or is this the death of Maslow's theorem?

Digital activism, real-life slackening or is this the death of Maslow’s theorem?

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Social media, Facebook and Twitter most of all, has bred new creatures. These are those with “split personalities,” totally different private and public personas or, to be more specific, disjointed online and offline identities.

Case in point is the incompetent student at school – lazy, sloppy at writing and research, the poor academic performer who excels only in hiding the zucchini, the one who brags about their sex life as if that is their only achievement. If that is a measure of success at all.

Not ready for work after graduation, unfit to take on real-life responsibilities, too lazy to take accountability even for their self. This type of people continues to stay with their parents even after graduation trying to “find themselves” or embarking on a “journey of self-discovery.”

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Which is a lot of bull.

I have yet to figure out if this is a generational phenomena born out of an artificial sense of self, a lack of grounding in reality, a failure to understand day-to-day life and its responsibilities including simple tasks as fixing the bed, cooking rice or washing the dishes.

Most of them are active keyboard warriors who fancy themselves as social justice warriors, “snowflakes” as critics derisively call them.

Sloths in real life, they seem active on-line, always opinionated, sounding sure of themselves, seemingly critical, analytical though their opinions and arguments are grounded on memes, blogs. Their emotional arguments lack depth, and are starved of facts and, therefore, bereft of diligent research.

Their favorite advocacies are the environment, LGBTQ+ rights, mental health, realism in cinema.

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I have noticed some of them eschew long-form or investigative journalism in favor of blog articles or memes that reinforce their preconceived notions.

They are touchy. If their beliefs are challenged, they react aggressively and consider the other person as an enemy.

They fancy building an inclusive world but are exclusivists who cannot hold their arguments in face-to-face debate, preferring to exist with their vision of the world in their digital ghettos or binary echo caves.

What they lack in understanding the real world, they make up through “vicarious experience” no matter how limited it is and appropriate it as their own.

Some questions come to mind.

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Is this a sign that physical labor has no value anymore and has led to the primacy of the mental one? Meaning, is the so-called “intellectual work” on social media the measure of one’s actual worth even if it is not real?

Are we living in a binary reality that is shaped by what we see online?

Is social media reshaping our values? Even our sense of self?

More chilling is the question: have we become more fragmented as a society, as a community with no shared values?

Is this a sign of what Durkheim calls anomie?

Or has Maslow’s theory turned upside down with “self actualization” becoming more important than basic needs?

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Julius D. Mariveles
Julius D. Mariveles
An amateur cook who has a mean version of humba, the author has recently tried to make mole negra, the Mexican sauce he learned by watching shows of master chef Rick Bayless. A journalist since 19, he has worked in the newsrooms of radio, local papers, and Manila-based news organizations. A stroke survivor, he now serves as executive editor of DNX.

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