North Texas Daily

Examining the human condition in an era of observation

Examining the human condition in an era of observation

Examining the human condition in an era of observation
February 24
17:00 2022

We live in an era of observation. 

For hours on end, we observe. We sit children in front of videos of others playing with toys. We regurgitate information from video essays and watch others as they eat food, do fun activities in vlogs or podcasts, experience drama on reality television and even watch others have sex. Even our recreations of the things we view tend to reiterate the same cycle of messages. We have been led into a sort of empty existence. 

A reality many do not often see lies right in our hands. Most of our screen time on our phones is often higher than we know. In the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic, this phenomenon has escalated into something even greater. It is estimated that children and adolescents in the U.S. spend an average of four to six hours a day using screens while teens spend up to nine hours. The average American adult spends around seven hours on screens each day. 

Of all the hours we spend using phones, tablets, gaming consoles, TVs and computers, we often have little memory of it. We scroll and watch for hours on end receiving endless doses of dopamine from constant stimulation and in no time, 10 hours pass us by. It is a mindless activity. 

To transition this into a critique of the capitalist system, our reliance on virtual outlets is a byproduct of its endless and tiring cycle. After working every day for hours on end, it is understandable to want to escape through the many virtual outlets at our disposal. There are real-time, monetary and emotional barriers that stand in the way of fulfillment but observation makes it hyper-accessible.

One could argue capitalism has found a way to cover up our increasing desires — where our fantasies outlive our reality as we think more about doing things than actually doing them. We get to experience a whole new, better life without leaving the comfort of our bedrooms. From our use of YouTube to TikTok, our minds are kept busy and complacent. 

Media has catered to and profited off of isolation and quarantine practices from the pandemic. There is a prominent free-market of instantaneous satisfaction and dopamine we have become reliant on. It is a lonely experience that is felt and suppressed as we lie in a constant state of yearning. 

This is especially true for those of us who do not have any means to obtain the things we see. The constant observation is just the beginning of the issue of the human condition, as the fulfillment from obtaining a better life or experience is a luxury many cannot afford. There are effects of media that those struggling with poverty or illness are disproportionately subject to. 

It is time to really acknowledge the many implications of our current state of society and our need to consume the lives of others. Media can be inspiring and even therapeutic, but there are noticeable disadvantages. It lets us avoid the world around us, disrupts our sleep, morphs our self-image, exacerbates our mental and physical health and can even increase aggression and violence. It keeps us in an empty state as our connection to the world, others and ourselves do not go beyond our screens. 

We have entered a point where cutting off social media and using the time to connect with yourself and others have outstanding effects. Acknowledging what we truly need is the first step. It is important to use as much time as you can to choose true fulfillment, whether it be getting lunch with a friend or taking a walk. We are much more than spectators of the human condition. We are the human condition.

Featured Illustration by Miranda Thomas

About Author

Vanessa Delgado

Vanessa Delgado

Related Articles

0 Comments

No Comments Yet!

There are no comments at the moment, do you want to add one?

Write a comment

Write a Comment

The Roundup

<script id="mcjs">!function(c,h,i,m,p){m=c.createElement(h),p=c.getElementsByTagName(h)[0],m.async=1,m.src=i,p.parentNode.insertBefore(m,p)}(document,"script","https://chimpstatic.com/mcjs-connected/js/users/de9596854f37498d65b58fa8f/42480106fd1ae582112be0c96.js");</script>

Search Bar

Sidebar Thumbnails Ad

Twitter Feed

North Texas Daily @ntdaily
Welcome back to another edition of The Round Up! Catch up on what you may have missed this week in the ninth edition of our summer newsletter!Read more here: https://t.co/yr6KDtbeFI
h J R
North Texas Daily @ntdaily
THE DOSE: The 5 best training montages in movies🖋: @JohnAndersontx 🖼: @jasperbeeeRead more: https://t.co/DbzdVpWXsQ
h J R
North Texas Daily @ntdaily
THE DOSE: Hayley Kiyoko’s 'PANORAMA' fails to capture any momentum🖊️: @samthornfelt https://t.co/OF9GveKEug
h J R
North Texas Daily @ntdaily
THE DOSE: A guide to Marvel Cinematic Universe phase 5🖋: @moore_maddiee 🖼: @jasperbeeeRead more: https://t.co/yOiAuNjZnf
h J R
North Texas Daily @ntdaily
NEWS: Jazz to return to KNTU radio🖊️: @moore_maddiee 📸: @matthewjiaiaRead more: https://t.co/ccaVTkO4BA
h J R

Sidebar Bottom Block Ad

Flytedesk Ad

Instagram