I think, therefore I am.
No, computer softwares can think, too. They are capable of building on their own intelligence. Solely thinking does not make us exist. Our bodies are the means in which we feel pain, physical or emotional. Our thoughts run through the translators in our brains to create a physiological sensation that we call emotion.
Therefore, I feel so that I am.
Stephen Hawking, though hooked to the internet on his chair, was a real life human being. He had a physical organic body, which felt hunger, pain, and shame. Enduring the indignity of interacting with people with his body twisted around himself, shaking, drooling even at times, his pride must have been hurt. His mind was free, but he could not dance. Patiently, one by one, he typed out messages for us, to understand his brilliant ideas.
He was not a robot.
I do not have space in my heart for human beings who behave like robots. Imitation without adding a flourish, they do not add a verse to the human condition. Responding insincerely by sending affirmations to strangers they neither know nor care for, they simulate love for power, which comes in the form of digital likes and followers. They love to be retweeted, yet their words are unoriginal and lacking in meaning; and they flood our cyberspace with yesterday’s news.
They are the robots.
How can you send someone love when you do not know them? You cannot love the roses you have not wasted your time on. All you are really sending is an empty sentiment, and who knows if you were even thinking about anybody when you wrote that? I find this particularly prevalent on Twitter – where people present each other with words like an anonymous Christmas gift exchange. You always end up getting socks or chocolate.
All that is bad enough, but it gets worse. You sexualise your tweets. Strangers read them, and in their heads, a fantasy of you is created. All of this isn’t real. You have not taken your body to love another, to give mercy with a human touch. All you have done is simulate the feeling of being touched. It is never going to be enough. A human touch is a most brilliant thing.
There’s a reason Christians celebrate the flesh of their prophet, Muslims shake hands and touch their hearts when they meet, and yogis remind you that your body is a temple. We are not dislocated pixels floating through a terrifying wasteland of 1 and 0. We are very real people.
We were brought here by great labor pains. Flesh and blood, sweat and tears, we humped and grunted our way through time to get where we are. We are meat bodies, incredibly engineered through nature’s undying patience. The pixels you use to represent your identity are laughably primitive caricatures of the entirety of who you are.
Borne to the digital age, we attach our self-worth to images we’ve created for the screens. Every time we get a like on our Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, our brain floods with dopamine. It’s how the hoody geeks in the valley get us to behave like trigger happy infants eager for our next reward. Our avatars have become us, the whole of us, consuming the offline version of ourselves.
Now I’m not suggesting not engaging digitally at all; all technology has its uses and repercussions. God knows Stephen Hawking isn’t complaining about how much technology helped him do what he needed to do. But I’m going to repeat this: we are real people. First and foremost we exist in our analog reality; here to touch the grass, feel the wind, and kiss the rain. Life exists so beautifully outside the rectangular frame which you hold so desperately close.
To hold a warm meat body in such an improbable spatial temporal locality is a goddamn miracle.