Mystery & Modesty in the Internet Age

very thoughtful

I remember a time, say before 2005, when the everyday routines and minutiae of life would pass by unnoticed . . . . But recently . . . . [there is]  No detail too small, task too pedestrian, gripe too minor, or appetizer not photogenic enough to avoid broadcast across ones social network with the urgency of a tsunami warning.

This peculiar behavior is perhaps just a canary-in-a-coal-mine of a broader cultural trend of over-sharing. Reality TV and even mainstream press encourages participants and viewers to bring out the skeletons from the proverbial closet for our entertainment and prurient interest. [ ] 

This recent trend has run concurrently with the greatest explosion of information in human history. The Internet has put the entirety of mankind’s knowledge literally in the palm of our hands. Not only is information ubiquitous, it’s immediately accessible at all times. It seems the world has become more and more unveiled and less and less mysterious. [ ]  While the power of the Internet and human knowledge has undoubtedly benefited us immeasurably, I’m here to argue that there is something lost amongst all this insight as the blacklight is run all over the stained comforter of human existence.

There is great value in not knowing. While the access to information has increased the speed of innovation by allowing faster sharing of knowledge, such access can easily stifle creativity and imagination. The various distractions of modern life make it difficult to contemplate for long periods of time. It’s this contemplation that allows imagination to run free, not limiting to what is already possible, but allowing the mind to explore that which has not been thought of yet. [ ]

On an individual level, mystery serves a similar function, allowing others to project their ideals onto us. A lover may project their romantic fantasies on to a new love and over-sharing, particular of pedestrian topics can serve to grow that infatuation cold. Anyone is boring if you hang out with them long enough.

Women [and men] are grappling with this in the age of Internet pornography. . . . the unprecedented bombardment of sexual stimuli the current generation of men have been exposed to. The resulting collateral damage is an emerging trend just coming to light.

[ ]  For despite our claims to contrary, we don’t really want to have a beer with our sports heroes, movie stars or leaders. Down-to-earth seems like a worthy ideal but we in fact require a level of distance in order to admire. A leader can most often be followed when their leadership is peppered with fear and awe. Again, this taps into a peculiar aspect of human psychology, where the desire to project ideals must be projected onto a canvas with plenty of white space. A cynic would perhaps argue that this psychological need is the basis of religion, man creating God rather than the reverse.

Again, I am not advocated not sharing with others, particularly over the long term as friendships and relationships require that level of intimacy. I am, however making a call to modesty. Before sharing the details of your workout routine or daily dietary consumptions consider for a moment if these details are truly expanding the closeness you feel toward the recipient or whether you are merely chipping away at an aura that is best left intact. I am suggesting allowing an interested party to utilize their withering imagination in the face of unpredictability, an imagination that is now only briefly engaged when the object of our affection is slow to return a text. After all love is tied to delusion, the belief that someone is not just the best person for me, but is objectively better than all others. I would suggest that all your dealings with people you add a hint of mystery, Whether at work, in love, or in front of an audience, allow others the gift of something they long for – someone to look up to.

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