If the cameras turn off, do the Kardashians still exist?

People are designing their lives and actions around black camera lenses, hoping that an audience will exist on the other side.

People stand alone in rooms swinging their arms violently and making faces at the wall, because TikTok promises their dance will be seen.

We’re living for the algorithm. For the clicks and the likes.

People form their opinions, take on identities and perform memes, modelling whatever behaviour they’ve been taught will be received kindly by the Twitter Gods. You’re being engineered to talk, think and regurgitate the most extreme ideas. Anything absurd enough to go viral. To algorithms there is no good and bad. There is only what’s shareable. Angry or ecstatic, a comment is a comment, a view is a view. It’s all engagement, and engagement leads to monetisation.

If there was no one on the other end of the camera lens, how would you think? How would you act? How would you dance and sing and think and write? Would you find uniqueness in the absence of engagement, or would you be lost?

Would you do what you love, what you think is right, if you wouldn’t be popular? Would you share unpopular opinions if you knew you wouldn’t find confederates?

Most people don’t have the patience to make honest art.

When you’re not playing the game, do you still do the work? Do you engage in the practice? Will you still chop wood and carry water because that’s what you said you were going to do, and not because people would say well done?

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