I have to be honest with you, dear readers, it's not easy writing this column lately. Since the start of the year I've been on a low carb diet accompanied by serious sugar detox and I'm hating every minute of it. Not only that, but I'm having real problems concentrating and being creative. I've asked my friend to help me with ideas on what to write and she suggested writing about the new American president. The problem is, I don't want to write about things that are negative and ugly. I want to write about things that are beautiful… like the president's wife.
In all seriousness, finding positive things to talk about these days is quite a task. There are so many pessimistic views and conflicting information being thrown about in the media, you would think the world is ending tomorrow. It makes me want to turn off the TV and close my news accounts. I was reminded today of a scene from the 1999 sci-fi film „The Matrix“, which is on its way to become a modern pop-culture classic.
In the film, the main protagonist realises reality as we know it is nothing more than a dream, while the actual reality sees our world completely destroyed, with humans acting as nothing more than a power source for the alien race that is controlling Earth. He meets up with an underground resistance movement which is trying to reclaim this desolate planet. At a certain point in the film he is offered two pills, a blue one and a red one. If he swallows the blue one, he will go back to sleep, dreaming he lives in a modern society with access to all the material goods we take for granted. If he takes the red pill, he will remain awake and aware of the truth, but will also be condemned to live and fight in a dystopian world.
Throughout my life, I've always strived to be the “red pill” type of person. I like being well informed and always try to understand the truth behind the headlines. Lately, this seems more difficult than ever. With all the news, fake news, and gossip emitted from countless sources all around us, it is pretty much impossible to know what is really going on in the world. Not only that, but with global society more connected now than ever before, we have access to information from all corners of the planet. This can be quite a mental burden if one gets too involved.
For this reason, I am lately moving away from the information sharing social networks like Facebook or Twitter in favour of those like Instagram, where you spend your time only looking at pretty photographs or posting your own. With modern phone cameras and image filters, everything you capture ends up looking wonderful, making your mundane life look special and appealing. When I post photos of my low carb meals, people think they taste great and I’m having the best of times preparing and eating them. Who wouldn’t want a confidence boost like that to their average day? Yes, there is an entire culture of fake beauty and false values developing and it’s within our grasp every time we want to go for the blue pill.
So what is the right way to go? Nobody in their right mind can honestly believe denying the world’s problems and distracting ourselves with videos of cute kittens or expensive cars will solve anything. That’s like thinking building a wall between two countries will cure their immigration problems. On the other hand, we can’t live our lives constantly worrying about everything. There must be some healthy ratio of serious news vs. entertainment fluff that one can sustainably enjoy in order to be both well informed and distracted enough. Something like making that piece of steamed kale on my plate palatable by the surrounding it with pieces of grilled meat (I’m hungry).
It seems we will have to adopt new skills of screening out unnecessary information if we want to keep our sanity in this brave new world. Whatever the case may be, we can’t stop searching for a way to live our lives both dreaming wonderful dreams and fighting for better tomorrow.
Bozidar Jukic, AKA The Restless Native, is a Dubrovnik local with too many interests to name them all, with writing being at the very top of the list. He is a lover of good food, music and film, and a firm believer in the healing power of laughter. His professional orientation is towards tourism and travel so it comes as no surprise he spends most of his time alongside Mrs. Jukic running their own local tour company. Their goal is helping travellers from all over the world get a more intimate experience of Dubrovnik and what it has to offer. To find out more about their work, visit their website or Facebook page. www.insiderholidays.eu www.facebook.com/insiderholidays