“Understand at last that you have something in you more powerful and divine than what causes the bodily passions and pulls you like a mere puppet. What thoughts now occupy my mind? Is it not fear, suspicion, desire, or something like that?”MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 12.19
Now, when Marcus Aurelius talks about being a puppet in the 2nd century, I am thinking about how relevant it is in the 21st century. How many times it happened to you that you were talking to someone about something in person but when you opened your social media you see an ad for it and you wonder whether they are listening to your conversation. But the thing is they aren’t, it is just showing how accurate AI is in predicting things.
Now you might have heard about this movie released on Netflix last year The Social Dilemma. It has quite created a buzz and for all the right reasons. The movie has shown that how current social media is influencing our day-to-day decisions. We think we are under control and we make our own decisions without any bias or influence, but the movie really makes us question that are we really taking any individual decision or is the AI taking our ability to take vital decisions?
Most of the things we see on day to day basis while scrolling social media, google searches driven by consumerism, or some political propaganda and the irony is that we really do believe that this is happening with the other person and not with us.
How to not be a puppet
Now this could be easier said than done, but I feel that by following these things we can really cut the threads controlling our mind
- Having a life driven by values: I have talked about the importance of building a value-based life in this post. When we define our values and introspect each decision in our life based on these values, there are fewer chances that we are controlled by others in our decisions.
Now here the importance is on picking a good value system because a poor value system will lead to poor decisions and hence the poor quality of life
- Slow thinking: Choosing to reflect before responding should be the practice that one must adopt in our life. When the world is moving so fast, it is of key importance that we start thinking slow so that we don’t get derailed on the wrong track moving with the crowd.
- Practicing minimalism: There are already so many distractions in the present day world all of which can’t be avoided due to various reasons, but by adopting a minimalistic lifestyle we can strive towards reducing the distractions