Are Memes Controlling Your Mind?

Are Memes Controlling Your Mind?

They have more influence over your thoughts and your actions than you might realize.
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Our culture today is confusing yet intricate. Internet memes are an interesting idea all on their own— everybody around the world collectively decides that something is a joke, and it becomes a joke. The reasoning behind it? Seemingly little. Predictability? Not high. Yet eventually, everybody finds it humorous. And finally, the joke gets woven into people's speech, giving it a new level of funniness— now it has personal, real-life relevancy. The funny post has become a meme and is now ingrained in our culture.

This is all well and good when we're talking about funny dogs or song lyrics, but what happens when memes get a bit more serious and are more than just a joke, impacting a lot more of our culture than just our language?

A recent influx of memes has made passive suicidal thoughts (not actively seeking to kill oneself yet still being willing to throw oneself into danger to die) into a bit of a joke— people make jokes about wanting to die, asking others to kill them and trying to do so themselves. Most of the people making these jokes don't understand the actual feelings that would lead one to believe these things, but the fact that suicide is now a meme that leads other people to laugh at expression of feelings that might actually be serious will certainly have a bad impact on our culture into the future.

Yet the most prevalent, annoying example of these "bad memes" is the idea of pettiness being funny, quirky and celebrated overall. And perhaps this is even more culturally significant because the impact comes not just from the joke's existence but from the fact that everybody encourages the meme's "petty perpetrator" on. Originally these were jokes at oneself, laughing at how ridiculous and extreme their own behavior was. Now? People are genuinely finding it funny and seeing pettiness as a desirable trait.

It's not. It is frustrating to deal with somebody who is naturally petty and is making a big deal out of nothing and refusing to compromise, but it is exponentially more annoying to deal with somebody who is laughing and proud of themselves for being that way. You're not going to talk to me for a week because I refused to buy you Chick-Fil-A? Why do you think this is funny?!

Pettiness is not and should not be viewed as a positive trait. It's stubborn and uncompromising and immature, and it was never meant to be a good thing to have. The original jokes were laughing at themselves for being so ridiculous that it was comical—"haha guys, don't be like me! But since I AM like this, let's laugh!"—not as a model for future behavior.

But even more concerning and much more relevant, cultural jokes and idiosyncrasies should not change an entire generation's behavior the way that these jokes have. While this current trend is just making disagreements more annoying, the idea of cultural control in this way is kind of terrifying—making suicide into a joke is today's issue, but even worse, if a very targeted type of joke really took off, who's to say that an entire culture's ideology towards the targeted group would not change?

Jokes are fine when they are just that—jokes. But once they pervade all areas of culture—clothes, music and television, beyond the music and social media jokes that are widespread—they have a very strong impact on more than merely our sense of humor. Just because something is "funny" does not mean it needs to be adopted as a character trait, especially something that has been viewed as negative for a very long time.

Cover Image Credit: Jeffrey Arno

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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.
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Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

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Photoshop, Filters And #WokeUpLikeThis Proves That Instagram’s Platform Advocates Deception Without Even Meaning To

Is your life on instagram depicted the same way it is in reality?

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Do you ever scroll through your Instagram and get aggravated by how amazing the pictures are? Or get aggravated by how perfect the people are….. Or how joyful the people seem to be in the pictures displayed? All these questions build up and make you wonder why your life isn't as cheerful as those figures seen on social media. Well, every time I view Instagram on my devices, all I see are perfect images and perfect moments captured. I often wonder why MY life isn't as impeccable and why I'm am not having as terrific of a time as the pictures seem to portray.

Thoughts bubble up in me, and I find myself asking: is this how everyone really feels, or is it just me?

I've come to the conclusion that people who post cheerful and seemingly admirable pictures on social media are the ones who are deceiving themselves and fooling me along with. If the moment was so tremendous, why was there a phone out? If the moment was so wonderful, why did they choose to take a picture of it instead of immersing themselves at the moment? Was it certainly a perfect time? No. Then it genuinely wasn't the time of your life.

The picture seeks to depict the time as perfect, but that wasn't what actually occurred. In reality, the people would have been crying or just sitting around the whole time, but in that exact split second of the picture, they were able to display a flawless image that people who scroll through Instagram desire to experience with their friends.

After experiencing moments that people capture on a mobile device at parties and casual hangouts, I have come to a realization that not only do people deceive others by faking happiness on social media, but they also deceive others into thinking their life is outstanding. In that picture perfect moment, it wasn't as joyful and valuable as it seemed to be.

The only thing they did was take pictures to depict a favorable time, but was it REALLY a breathtaking occasion or did you just take pictures to make it seem as if you did? The picture was taken to allow others to view it as the best time ever and have others believe you had fun. You would definitely say it was fun, but in reality, all you did was take pictures to make it seem fun.

It is insane to think about the countless times a person goes through their feed feeling upset about their life by simply viewing someone's picture and assuming they are having "the time of their life." They don't even think about how the amazing picture is, but the moment wasn't.

This must come to an end. Though some people would argue and say they want to share aesthetic and pretty pictures on their social media, Instagram isn't for this. The purpose for Instagram is to post pictures with friends and family along with funny memes to keep Instagram lively, though Instagram isn't being used in this context. People need to essentially begin living in the moment instead of worrying about getting an Instagram picture. It isn't worth the hassle.

If you aren't truly having fun in life then what do you have to show off? Why not genuinely enjoy the moment, and worry about capturing a picture or two later? It is crazy to think about how people only care about how others view them. They don't care about how they view themselves or whether they are fulfilling their happiness. This society is definitely based on a sense of belonging, of being accepted into the community.

At the same time, people viewing these images begin to lose self-esteem because of the flawless group of friends they see on their Instagram feed. The thought of making yourself happy and enjoying the moment is diminishing as people begin to deceive their happiness. So, let me ask again: is the fun shown on Instagram reality, or is it just a deceptive fantasy?

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