Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Internet Subscriptions vs. Internet Prescriptions

There’s something wrong with the way we’re interacting—largely with those around us but predominantly with ourselves. We live in a virtual society, one dominated by likes and followers and “friends” and…deep breath—the list goes on and on. Do we really understand though? Do we understand how terrifyingly harmful confiding in the illusive hideout of our devices can be? I’m not saying this in an effort to sound like an “old soul” and or simply to act as a contrarian member of our generation…I’m coming from a place of honesty—honesty with myself and, in an effort to rescue you from falling down the slippery slope that so many of us do, honesty with you too. 

Do you ever think about denotation versus connotation? It can really throw you for a loop. Say you’re looking at a television. Sure, we’ve come to know a rectangular device that displays moving, illuminated images as a “TV” (…it’s a bit more complicated than that, but you get the gist). The word used to define it (i.e. “television”) is the connotative definition, or its meaning in the context of our contemporary society; it only has the meaning that it has because we have given it—we have created—such meaning. Denotatively, however, what do we see? Like I said, it’s merely a “rectangular device that displays moving, illuminated images.” It’s often black. It often says “Samsung” or “LG” or “Dell” at the bottom…Sometimes it’s mounted on the wall, sometimes it sits freely on a stand of sorts. The list of surface details is endless. If someone from the 1500s miraculously and suddenly emerged in our current era, he or she would see the word “television” as nothing more than a meaningless combination of letters and, visually, would observe the surface features I mentioned but would be unable to conclude why? What? How?

Another example. 

A pixelated image of a…gun, let’s say. The image is pixelated, which lets us first know that it’s digital—virtual. The image is not real; it depicts something that we know connotatively as a gun (which, more deeply, is a symbol the prompts us to think of words like fear, danger, attack, death, and so on). However, the pixelation allows us to detach from ourselves and the subject—it emphasizes the virtual-ness, the lack of authenticity, of the image. 

We, the “lookers,” are alive—looking at this “image” on a screen. It’s an aesthetic appearance, an apparent one. We know that we are not physically or actually in danger by viewing such gun on the screen—especially from afar. Seeing it from a distance, we’re fairly unaffected. It’s an experience of sight, of viewing. There’s a kind of tension between seeing it from a distance and imaginatively seeing it up close. 

Hold on. 

Open up Instagram and begin scrolling. What do you see? A latte? A sunset? Two smiling faces? Why do you know what I’m talking about when I use these descriptions, these “labels” of sorts? Because, connotatively and societally, we’ve given meaning to such things to the point where there’s universal comprehension and interpretation of most visual spectacles we encounter in life. However, all of these “subjects” are fairly objective (the latte, sunset, and smiling faces). How about when we begin enter the realm of subjectivity? 

Again, open up Instagram.
What do you see this time?

These designations are not denotative. They are connotative but, more bluntly, they are judgmental—they’ve gained their connotation through the widespread judgements and ideals that our society possesses. Our job, as the users and main demographic that makes up such virtual society, is to be honest with ourselves. To recognize that the judgments we give to the things that we see are…bullshit, really. Just because a norm is widely understood or practiced by our society does not mean that it’s valid. Sure, it’s cliché but…beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.

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Photos are made up of pixels, just like words are made up of letters and matter is made up of atoms. Everything can be broken down…and broken down…and broken down. Including YOU—your confidence; your sense of reality; your ability to distinguish realness.Don’t let virtuality blind you from reality. Be a conscious-consumer. Be smart! Engage with the world and the things within it mindfully and with awareness. Don’t be a victim—you possess the control in this situation, so use it.

xx, Lib


  1. This blog post really get the thoughts going! in a good way!

  2. This blog post was amazing! it summed up so many of my thoughts in such a beautiful way :)