We like to think we know what we’re doing. For the most part, we have ourselves convinced that we are “masters of our domain”, not quite in the Seinfeld-ian way, but in terms of how we spend our time everyday, what we work on, who we talk to, what we eat – basically everything we do on a daily basis.
A few months ago, I had myself convinced that I was conducting a qualitative experiment on Twitter. I was gauging responses to a post I’d made and subsequently to a couple of polls I conducted. Here my assumption was that I am the experimenter and the people who were participating were, as they were going about their day, unwitting participants of said social experiment. At the end of it, as I mused the responses, it struck me that I had “conducted” this experiment on a platform where I myself, am a subject of an production-ready experiment. A social experiment where I am one of, as of 2020, 186 Million test subjects.
This is merely a microcosm when we consider every other aspects of our lives.
When we travel on the road on a vehicle, we’re not in control simply because we’re steering the vehicle. We’re dependent on its condition, on the condition of the roads we travel on, on the behaviors displayed by actors alongside who we travel, some of who might …lose even their perceived sense of control thereby affecting ours.
When we say something to someone with the best of intentions, unless the sentence is neutral or objectively flattering, there is, however minuscule, a chance that said sentence can be perceived in a negative way. We thought we were in control of the conversation, but clearly we weren’t and everything was just a matter of circumstance.
You think you’ve made all the arrangements to catch that train. But if the train schedule has been advanced and they sent you an intimation but you didn’t receive it or simply didn’t see it, you’ve missed it.
We’re not in control as long as we’re on someone else’s platform.
And we’re almost always on someone else’s platform.
Even as I sit typing this out, I’m not in control of whether this post will see the light of day as a meteor might come hurtling through space and wipe out my very existence halting my words mid-senten..