We’ve heard it enough that social media is a drug that has taken down more lives – not necessarily physically – than the actual drug problem. Although what exactly do people mean when they call social media a drug? Is the similarity just drawn because both are equally addictive to a vulnerable mind?
As far as I understand the complexities of a drug, the whole concept of its popularity is based on the fact it makes the human body do and experience things that are not normally possible. Or at least, not possible without severe perseverance and practice – such as running faster, lifting heavier, seeing the non-existent and even forgetting pain. Drugs enable an abuser to do all of it much faster than a normal person, and when the body gets used to such ‘supernatural’ abilities, there is no going back.
The same applies to social media. The supernatural task that social media is accomplishing here is indulgence. An average human brain seeks to be indulged in one thing or another almost all through the day, lest it goes insane. The mind needs purposes, ideas, conflicts and accomplishments to stay active and sane, and after the fulfilment of survival instincts, humans are always seeking to be indulged.
A normal brain that is moderately motivated to remain indulged and grow is attracted to a plethora of activities ranging from reading to sports. And it is no secret that all such activities require for the mind and the body to perform – to work hard or smart and be persistent. And what social media has done is completely eliminate the struggle of it.
A heartbroken romantic boy must probably go months into pursuing different activities in order to forget about the girl who broke his heart; but drugs would cut the chase and make it happen in an instant. A mind seeking indulgence might have to read through 500 pages of a great book to feel occupied, but Instagram cuts the chase and makes it happen with a touch of an icon. For hours and hours together, the mind can remain indulged in social media without the brain applying any effort and the body remaining in a sleeping position.
And of course, the content is great. It does not take effort to comprehend, it is appealing to all kinds of young taste and it is gratifying, at least momentarily. When everything that makes us feel so good is available at a click of a button, why go back to the tedious forms of mind indulgence that can ensure self growth? Precisely like a mind addicted to drugs, a social media addict prefers never to go back to ‘normal’ ways of indulging the brain and therefore ends up frail, vulnerable fanatic.
This is exactly why content that provides immediate gratification is just as dangerous as hallucinating drugs. Once the body or the mind comprehends the availability of gratification without hard work, there is no coming back. There is no coming back, even when the false castle falls apart. Which is why the mental health industry names it a disorder.