Do your kids read your must-reads?
It’s early morning, the time to bring your phone to life and check what went wrong in the world overnight. As I crawl through the “hello” and “repeatedly forwarded” brachiosaur jokes/memes/videos and tap my figurative toe on the fake agenda-driven rot dotted in various clusters, I’m struck through awareness.
I’m not sure about the rest of the world, but India has its own very specific, highly evolved WhatsApp bunny, and he’s a man over fifty-five; urban, reasonably educated and above all, he does not understand what NO means, at least on social networks.
If I do a random sample of the shit that hit the ventilator today morning, I can see the same thing, i.e. a long-winded “health” message that uses often ending medical jargon by a “Dr.” to authenticate completely bogus “science”, some “history” accounts of events that may have happened in an alternate universe and most of the rest related to the community agenda, some harsh and egregious but the more subtle and targeting subluminal fear.
At the beginning of WhatsApp, I used to get agitated and try to prove how fake and harmful a forwarded massage was by replying with evidence and arguments to the contrary, but now I’m sitting on the rock of the Nirvana, calmly gazing at the ocean of lies. waxing on various social media platforms everyday.
Although I have found my personal peace with these attackers, but one question still intrigues me, the same one Arshad Warsi posed in Jolly LLB.
Kon hai you connect, kaha se aate hai you?
They are everywhere and the easiest to find. Open your WhatsApp and you will see ten to fifteen of them in different groups all the time. They are so obsessed that no polite or impolite warning from the group “admin” or any member of the group deters them. Ask them not to do it a hundred times and they might shut up for a few days, but they’ll soon discover a message they know the world needs to know and they’ll come back regurgitating bile with a vengeance.
I have my own theory about their origin, and it ties into the organ and science that I love the most, which is the brain and neuroscience.
Our infant brain begins by collecting random data from which it quickly builds a huge amount of necessary and unnecessary neural connections as primary learning. But, as we grow, we are exposed to reality and begin to notice patterns. Over time we begin to cut and prune neural connections according to the predictable pattern we have observed and soon become what we imagine we are, i.e. a lean reality processing machine. and mean.
This process can best be understood from how one reads over time. As a child, you read by skimming each word carefully. As you grow older, you become less and less eager to read every word. Pretty soon you stop reading every line and start imagining that you can get a feel for the text by skimming through it, because your brain finds it pointless and tiring to strain to read.
This is exactly the point where a classic WhatsApp bunny forms.
All a smart social media influencer has to do is stick together ten cozy worlds that match our grumpy brain’s worldview and presto! We become a WhatsApp bunny, who is now ready to accept anything as long as he has a comforting set of words that fit our outdated worldview (to be fair or not) and is now a free slave vector ready to carry any agenda.
If we look at the aging process of the brain, it’s the product of nature’s most wonderful strategy to design an energy-efficient neural processor, but in the age of social media and democracy, it’s a giveaway which now becomes a curse. .
As we are a nation in constant election mode and WhatsApp is now the most powerful tool to spread “information” without real expenditure (across geographic boundaries), our WhatsApp bunnies turn out to be pathogens spreading disinformation. dangerous which is constantly vitiating the national discourse.
As censoring WhatsApp is a much worse solution than living with WhatsApp bunnies, all I ask of each of us old people is to look within and verify what we are transmitting and why.
The easiest way to combat this threat is to try to see if we can read every word or watch the entire video before we feel like transmitting it. If we can’t, that means it’s a “designed” message with emotional buttons to trick our brains into carrying someone else’s agenda.
The world, to our aged eyes, seems headed for social catastrophe, but our children are leaving the information-sharing platforms we populate and where we now emit the noxious gases formed from the rot we are forced to ” see “everywhere.
We seem to be destroying the most precious channel of communication that should exist between generations, and it is our duty to ensure that we do not leave behind a generation that has no heritage it cherishes. Beyond WhatsApp transfers, there’s a lot of wisdom we can and should share across the generational ‘divide’. So we can’t afford to burn this old bridge just because of the itch to move on.
So if you’re a man over fifty-five, ask your child or young parent an honest question.
Has he/she read your must-reads yet?
The opinions expressed above are those of the author.
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