I get more and more irritated when I go onto Medium. I don't know if it's the AI or the lack of decent writing, but what's "recommended" to me are articles that are opinion pieces based on little evidence, or they are "articles" that sound like the writer interviewed the person in the headline but actually are excerpts from other people's articles on that person. Really?
Then I go to what's "popular," what other people are reading, and it's shallow material on how to attract the right guy or reasons why I can't do this or that. Or, I see a bunch of listicle clickbait, like 7 Ways You Can Clean Your Bathroom or 12 Smart Improvements for Your Happiness (and you won't believe how easy #5 is). Ugh.
I even see the more popular writers who make watered-down pieces based on popular phrases and beliefs. There is nothing substantiated, just an assembly of thinking without support from reputable sources or empirical evidence. Yet these writers are making a shit-ton of money writing words that just feed the self-help or social marketing beast--give them what they're craving rather than giving them what they need.
Then I go back to my Kindle and read the works of Merton, Thoreau, Thich Nhat Hanh, Chodron, Nouwen, Emerson, Easwaran, Rohr, or Hesse and I know that my time is better spent there.
I do wonder if there are any writers on Medium who write this deeply? I would imagine there are, but perhaps the AI doesn't pop them up on my feed. If I like or react to a particular piece, I would hope that the AI would know that I like the direction this writer is heading, but then I don't see anything deeper.
I can't do a thing about what is popular. When our marketers and advertisers engineer consent and shape our reality, it is difficult to see the deeper meanings of things. Yet, when we step outside our popular media and read works from hundreds or thousands of years ago, we connect with a deeper knowing that transcends time.
For years, I have been trying to connect with others who look for the deeper meanings of things. Nouwen calls it "deep speaking to deep." Glancing through social media I find people asking for recommendations of what they should binge watch or asserting what Trump did wrong or right. Social media does little to promote intellectual dialogue because it takes little effort to publish. We don't think about the consequences of a snack-sized post because our emotions are guiding the response. And oftentimes, our emotions do little for our intellectual engagement, especially when our egos want to win an argument or gain approval.
Yesterday, a Medium post circulated on Facebook about the forthcoming gaslighting of America. It was long in paragraphs and passion. Interestingly enough, it's nowhere to be found on my feed. There is no attribution, no specifics, but just a long-winded warning about how the Trump administration will try to make us forget its mistakes about the COVID-19 response.
As an academic, I would feel the need to tie the specific thoughts to theories, because theories give some insight into how things work. As a spiritual person, I would feel compelled to build a unitive call to action. Instead, we just get more words to stimulate our emotional responses. Nothing deeper, nothing to bring a peaceful solution.
There are so many articles and blogs that center on how to find a mate, how to be single, how to maintain a relationship, how to be a "mommy," how to make a hazelnut chocolate mug cake, how to fix up your house, how to be perfect, or how to accept your imperfections. For every interest, there is a blog about that. And if you give them your email address, they'll give you access to a FREE COURSE that will change your life.
But what if I'm not interested in any of this? What if I don't have a house to fix up because I've been single all my life and can't afford a house on a professor's salary? What if I never got married, and now I have zero interest in finding a mate (unless, of course, Chris Evans decides he wants to date older women)?
What if I enjoy living alone in the quiet with my dogs? What if I know that I have all the essential things for living? What if my first and foremost desire is for a deeper union with God? Where is my "free course" for that? Where are all the articles on contemplation? Where are the blogs on Christian mysticism? Why don't articles that look for deeper connection among humans and other living beings "trend" on Medium?
I want to read works that inspire me--not for selfish gain, but for a deeper sense of purpose in humanity.
If you know any blogs or sites that do this, let me know. For now, I'll just go back to my Kindle.