Wake up. Wake up to the world. Wake up for the world. Wake up for yourself. These are the things I think and wish I could say to the world. The thing that stops me is not knowing how to make someone wake up. I recently haven’t known how until watching a comedian’s sketch; Aziz Ansari. I am going to preface everything I write by saying: I am going to paraphrase him, and I am going to restate his ideas, along with my ideas.
I’d like you to imagine taking thirty randomly selected people from the entire world and looking at the group. Ten out of the thirty will be starving, in poverty, homeless, and feeling genuinely hopeless. The other twenty will be able to say they relate because their online grocery order which they placed two hours ago hasn’t arrived yet. That same twenty people are likely to say they can’t help because the other ten live far away. This is crap. I know this is crap because a man smart enough to make jokes about it helped me know that it’s crap. “When a mysterious disease hit a wealthy country, they shut the world down for two years”. They not only stopped everything in our country, but they also sent paychecks home as regular for over a year. Do we even have enough money to do that? Apparently.
Ten out of those thirty people, in reality, equal billions of people out of the 7 billion people. 689 million people in the world live in insane poverty on less than 2 dollars a day. There are 34 million people in poverty in the united states. These people live in terrible conditions and are exposed to countless diseases. This happened every day leading up to the covid-19 pandemic and we all did nothing. Why didn’t we do anything? Did we do nothing because we didn’t see it? We all saw it or heard about it; so those of us that knew about it, why did we do nothing? We just forgot or got too busy?
When our country got a tiny taste of what so much of the world experiences, we broke. We crashed and threw out years of business to protect people from a disease because we saw it. why did we decide to do something about that? Because everybody was constantly hearing about covid, and that scared everyone; it was advertised and made known. This advertising brought speculation, distrust, and arguments.
Money is made from spreading information, so naturally, money is also made from disinformation. These two kinds of money-making bodies spreading any kind of fact divides and breeds people of conflict. This divide between everything we see made covid last longer than anybody ever wanted, I mean in the media not just in the world. The world argues and hurts each other, we just do it differently now. Discussions about vaccines are held in comment sections rather than in person. The world holds its heads down to a tiny screen in its hands to read an argument rather than looking up to speak to people around them. When the people turn their heads up and away from the fake world in their hands, they talk to others about what happened in that tiny world. Many of the conversations people have are talking about something that goes on with people they’ve never met, the people they follow who produce content because content makes the world go round.
Why is so much done about which celebrities are now dating or not dating? Why do so many care about having seen the latest scandal? I believe it’s because we fear the world. The world is so much bigger than our screen and that scares us. We can’t imagine a world that isn’t infiltrated by the world of content. We can’t even imagine a world that’s not driven by content. Content does not dictate importance. The most entertaining issue is not the most important issue. For weeks at a time, people will repeat the details of a celebrity’s personal life until the next interesting thing comes along. What if we decided that the most entertaining thing isn’t what’s best to talk about? What if we chose to circulate the important things? Circulating information about covid-19 led to worldwide actions; so, imagine the action that could take place if we used content for problem-solving. Content isn’t entirely the bad guy; content is the thing that inspired this essay which I hope can do some good. I believe the real bad guy is us; the people who buy into content, and spread it, and repeat it. The people who don’t judge properly what the difference is between good content and bad content. We are all content producers on some scale, so what do you produce?
The people who speak well should produce words that drive solutions. The observant people should produce circulation and awareness. People who are caring should produce comfort for those in need. People with a phone who can see content, share content, and spread existing content should promote solutions, awareness, and comfort. When people saw and interacted with content about the covid-19 pandemic it was circulated, discussed, and argued. When people saw the covid-19 content, they closed businesses, wrote checks, they delayed loan payments. When people see content about helping underprivileged countries, they assume others will step in. That kind of content doesn’t get circulation and why not? People don’t seem to extend care for the people who need help till they see it in their own country. I hate to break this to America, but it’s in our country. Problems have been here for a while.
Content is what makes people take action. Issues with circulated content receive solutions. The issues of the world also hold so much more value than the content that is circulated in their regard. You have content, so expose yourself to good content. you can create content, so create good content. You can live a life that is not dependent on content, so choose to live a life independent from content. Every once in a while, maybe even do something when you see some content that’s trying to help an issue.
To the world, I finally say: Wake up. I know you’re not asleep; just like when I babysit and check if the kids are asleep, I know they aren’t because I can see the flashlight through the blanket. Instagram allows users to see who’s actively using the app, Snapchat allows users to see the last time you opened the app. You’re even seeing content right now; this article is content. When you’re seeing content, how much of it stays with you? What kind of content is shoved in your face? How much of that content is worth ignoring the world in front of you?
I have a proposition for everyone who reads this article right now; learn how to talk to someone for real without that little world in your hands. I honestly can’t tell you how because I haven’t learned how myself yet, I just know that I’d like to. I hope you can figure it out, and if you do, please help some others do the same, maybe even reach out to me as well. I can only give you step one: put the mass amount of content in your pocket and ignore it. Speak to someone as if they have the same value to you as the tweet a politician made that made someone angry. You could see that explode in the comment section, watching the back and forth between angry strangers on the internet; or you could listen to the person in front of you and become a real-life follower. Nowadays by clicking a little button on the internet and following someone they can follow you back and you’re now friends. That’s not a friendship. Friendship with another person means you experience them beyond the world of content, you talk to them about more than what you see on the internet; maybe if you’re feeling crazy, make them more important to you than what you’ve got on your phone. I hope you are feeling crazy because you should make a person more important than what you’ve got on your phone because they are.
Quotable: “…you could listen to the person in front of you and become a real-life follower.”