I’m a firm believer in stories being able to make us question life and our perceptions, and last night’s episode of Doctor Who, “The Girl Who Died,” didn’t disappoint. A small piece of dialogue struck me as particularly interesting and it went something like this: “When you view life through technology, it becomes very easy for someone to feed in an entirely new and constructed reality into your perception.”
My thoughts went instantly to how modern life has been taken over by a social networking culture. We seem to relate to the world through opinions on our news feeds, and no longer seem to bother to verify whether the information is true, or not. In a more general sense, this extends to the use of the internet itself, it being the first point of reference on any particular question. It would seem that the general consensus is that if it is on a search engine, it must be true.
This fact shows that we are becoming a very credulous race. It seems that we are likely to accept anything straight off, which is probably why conspiracy theories have so much mileage.
On a more personal level, social networks also give us the power to edit our lives so that they look incredibly awesome. No one puts up pictures of the mundane (Well, some do) but, instead, place images of the selected highlights. Those who are envious of the brilliant lives that they see on a social network are envious of a carefully constructed illusion; a constructed reality.
It would seem, then, that the good Doctor was on to something, once again. Our increasing reliance on seeing the world with technology is beginning to blur the lines between what is real and what is fake. When we stop being able to tell the difference, we will be in a lot of trouble.