True freedom is elusive. We may believe we are free, but so much of our lives are lived in reaction to thoughts, words, and actions, or in compulsive seeking for attention to get reactions. Just five minutes on social media, and we can see how utterly reactive our lives are. Social media can be an emotional reaction-attention storm displayed in a never-ending stream of post after post. It isn’t enough for us to be present with the people or the place we are. We find it necessary to garner cyber attention and reaction to all that we do as well.

I am not against social media (I am using it right now, obviously), and there are many uses for such platforms that can be helpful to our lives. It is the reactive nature to everything on there that is becoming harmful. We are drawn into living reactive lives instead of becoming free of this cycle of reaction-attention-reaction-attention. It may seem harmless, but it is a robotic way to live and be. We are becoming cybermotional: No longer in touch with our true emotions, but rather the emotional projections we cast into a cyber world that feeds on them. Our true emotional feelings are in danger of being replaced by avatar-like emotional dramas that are presented in print and pictures, instead of meaningful personal interactions. Our true freedom of thought, word, and feeling is becoming lost in a cyberspace that encourages robotic responses, creating robotic emotional drama of all kinds.

I have gotten caught in this web myself and regret hitting the “thumbs up” button sometimes, knowing I did it just so I could feel good about myself for a moment, wanting to be a part of some sad post. The actual sad part is that I had no idea what was really going on in that person’s life or the real impacts of their daily struggle. After hitting the thumbs up on such posts, we just scroll to the next one we want to attach ourselves to and hit it again. One meaningless click after the next.

So, how free are we really? True freedom isn’t a reactive state of being, but rather a nonreactive state. If we allow our thoughts, words, and feelings to be dictated to us by a cyberworld, we will lose the ability to know what our own experience truly feels like. If we are not mindful, in time we will lose our freedom of self-awareness to the servitude of social media.