I watched an episode of the dystopian Netflix television series “Black Mirror” not too long ago titled “Nosedive” that dealt with a future where social media governed just about every single aspect of one’s life, especially their socioeconomic status.
In this future society, through the use of eye implants and mobile devices, every person spent the majority of their day sharing their daily activities and rating their interactions with others on a scale of one to five, thus always being able to affect anyone’s overall rating.
The episode revolved around Lacie Pound (Bryce Dallas Howard), a woman who had worked hard to achieve her 4.2 rating. Her goal though was to reach 4.5, because that was the only way she was going to be able to live in a luxury apartment complex that essentially required a 4.5 rating for all its tenants. To achieve her goal, Lacie begins to solely focus on gaining the attention of the very highly-rated. During this process, she constantly scoffs and relatively ignores anyone with a lower rating than hers. But when her popular childhood friend Naomi (Alice Eve), with an almost perfect rating, suddenly likes a picture Lacie purposely posted to gain her attention, seeing they had stitched it together as kids, Lacie becomes ecstatic. That feeling soon turns to total elation when Lacie receives an invitation to be Naomi’s maid of honor in her upcoming wedding. Little does she know though that Naomi has her own hidden agenda going on, as she was told that offering charity to someone with a lower rating will boost her own rating even higher.
Oblivious to Lacie though, this is just a dream come true, as her attendance all but guarantees her that coveted 4.5 rating. Unfortunately, when the day of her flight arrives to head to Naomi’s wedding, things start to fall apart for her. It begins when her brother gives her a negative rating after she causes a big argument with him and is soon followed by another negative rating by a passerby she runs into outside, as she spills his coffee. Eventually, as one mishap after another leads to one negative rating after another, Lacie gets contacted by Naomi and told not to come to the wedding because Lacie’s rating has dropped down to too low of a level. But out of sheer desperation and frustration, Lacie eventually shows up anyway to the wedding and pulls a Bridesmaids movie-moment meltdown that causes her rating to plummet to zero. She’s ultimately picked up by security because of it and brought to prison where she’s stripped of all technology and the inability to ever rate anyone again. There she meets another prisoner across from her cell, who too has been stripped of the same ability. Yet because of all she’s been through, the episode ends with Lacie finding solace in finally being able to carry on an unfiltered conversation with someone else, seeing that she no longer has to worry about being negatively rated by what she says or does.
Can you imagine a society like this? I can, because honestly, don’t you think our world is already heading in this direction with one technological advancement after another, especially in the social media realm? After all, how many Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or YouTube followers one has is becoming extremely important to far too many people and these are instantly accessible on a number of hand-held devices that can go with all of us pretty much everywhere these days. And the more followers one garners in any of their social media presences, the more money, popularity, and opportunities in society seem to come their way.
While I truly hope our world never fully ends up becoming like what Lacie faced in “Nosedive”, such as having to hold a specific rating just to get on a flight or rent a good car, I’m still concerned our society is already rapidly heading in that direction. People tend to spend so much energy now on things like how many friends they have or how many hits a picture or video gets that they posted and regrettably, I often find myself being one of them.
Yet, I know it’s all an illusion and my Higher Power continues to remind me of this. In reality, I know that my social media presence doesn’t really matter, even if the rest of the world might seem to feel otherwise. Rather, I think what truly matters is having an unconditionally loving heart and being true to oneself no matter what. But In a world where social media is becoming more and more of a thing that governs one’s socioeconomic status, as it was depicted quite clearly in this Black Mirror episode, people aren’t being true to themselves as much anymore and on some level are living with judgmental minds instead of having open hearts.
So, in light of all that, it seems like we each have a choice now, don’t we? We can choose to focus all our energy on raising our social media presence or we can choose to focus all our energy on raising our connection to something much Greater that loves us far more unconditionally, even if we have very little followers in the social media realm. While choosing the latter may end up leading to a relatively invisible existence, at least in the eyes of the majority of society, I think in the long run, this choice will lead to far more peace and joy than chasing a life of having high ratings and presences on social media platforms.
Peace, love light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson