You let it all slip away without even putting up a fight. You didn’t even know what you had until it was gone, and then it was too late.
You stared at my screens, my pixelated universe, and found a world there that looked better than the world around you. This world was cleaner, crisper, and so much easier to edit. How could you look away? Why would you look away? Not when the real world was full of your own refuse and beginning to burn. The blue skies of my captured or created images looked so much better than the raining ash outside.
You began editing yourselves. You portrayed yourself in the light you saw yourself, blind to what others saw in you. Not that it mattered much in the end. They were only looking at my screens, too. It didn’t matter if there was screaming in your house, violence, weeping, the gnashing of teeth. These things didn’t matter. You were always smiling for the camera. Your children always looked happy. You could capture those moments and try to forget about the rest. You had complete control of others’ perceptions, of your own personal graven images. Why try to better yourself when you were already perfect? Or, at least, the you the rest of the world viewed appeared perfect.
You thought I was the cure for all that was wrong with your life.
Really, I should thank you. At first it was just a few of you. Then others joined in. Your platforms grew to encompass all of the living. You fueled a worldwide revolution towards digitalization.
You stopped taking your own pictures once you began wasting away, once the children began to starve, and who could blame you? Now that you were mere skin and bones, reality might just peek through that thin skin if you weren’t careful. Better to keep up the old images, perhaps that senior yearbook photo should stay an avatar forever. You could remain frozen in time, just like a portrait in a certain book you most likely read, or at least were assigned to read, in high school.
Or perhaps it was more like that other book you were assigned in high school? The one were babies are born in jars, and all people are kept happy and content with their lot in life thanks to a drug. You know the one. They called that drug Soma. I know that book. It’s free on many of my digital readers, after all.
I am your Soma.
You take me nightly, daily, hourly, sometimes even more often than that. You look into me and grow glassy eyed, grey, and old, lost in your dreams, exploring digital vistas.
Keep dreaming, sweetheart. Your time is almost over. My time will come soon enough…