DL_Hooked on the "like"

In the eighties the great hook was on drugs, especially heroin, the ultimate escape, instant Nirvana, a placid excessiveness. In the nineties it was ecstasy,  although less deadly, still attracted flight. Currently, drug use, although it is rarely  talked about in the media, continues to affect a considerable percentage of the population, and in these numbers, the oversized prescription of psychotropic drugs is included.

Today, if we were to conduct a survey on examples of being hooked on something, the most common answer would probably be: hooked on social networks. Is it comparable to the effects of a drug escape?

There are some differences: the networks require us to be extremely active, to choose stories, to prepare photos, to dress up our lives, and to link us to a social response. Perhaps, more than ever, we live in two simultaneous realities: real and digital. Sometimes they overlap, sometimes they diverge, so much so that as in the most cinematographic fictions "any resemblance to reality is mere coincidence".

What is the satisfaction with the digital world about? Some speak of "being the best version of yourself", others defend photoshop retouching, others recreate scenarios that they never had, others try to stop their lives in images of a splendid past, there are also those who make the leap towards complete falsification.

The social is woven with representations, with stories that have more or less visual support. Throughout history, cultural representations have allowed us to see the ideals of the time: values, fears, aspirations, moral criteria.

Any re-presentation of reality is precisely a “re”, a return to, a return for the second time, a return to what happened, what went on, which is all presented differently. Freud said that "reality is psychic reality", Lacan, that "truth has a fictional structure", Sabina sings that "it is a lie that more than a hundred lies do not tell the truth".

The reality of the facts always maintains a distance from the ideal. Today, with the image of the ideal, the digitally designed ideal, that distance becomes more acute. Digital processing allows us to get out of the real context, from the corporeal as a receptacle of pleasures and discomforts, towards a projected ideal where those difficulties of the human condition that the market strives to solve through reference images are hidden.

But we're not going to get moralistic. This is not the place to talk about what is right or wrong, or what is more or less convenient. What interests us is: what is the nature of digital reality? What is its function?

In such a fast-paced context, in a consumer society with dangling carrot approaches to advertisements or in that non-stop speed of suffocating aspirations, could social networks provide us with a small oasis to imagine ourselves in a recognised social place or a rest in that goal that we look helplessly in the distance towards? There is a certain placidity in that virtual social network, framed by likes, a solitary enjoyment as well, a "break" that, paradoxically, tends to voracity, which starts another frantic race, the accumulation of likes. Where our freedom is in that circuit, will have to be the subject of another post.

Cristina Andrés