The concept of capitalist realism describes how capitalism presents itself as the only viable system without the possibility of imagining a coherent alternative, I would build on that and coin a new term “Instagram Realism.” Instagram, now ingrained in our human experience presents itself as the visual representation of Capitalism. It is impossible to imagine an alternative to Instagram; curated fiction posing as reality. Real reality however works on a different value system. The 3D world we still occupy has a different bio-based set of rules. Humans are real. We are Sapience beings with the ability to feel deeper than any other living form that we know of. Instagram Realism disregards our nature and gaslights it by undermining our realness. The value system for Instagram comes in mathematics: likes, shares, etc. Humans experience biological reactions to such value systems. Being liked provides feelings of joy while hated sets in a flight or fight state. Instagram generates such emotions covertly. Emotions generate a complicated set of reactions that seek full attention while being processed. The processing of emotions is not an easy task. When covertly provoked they can be left unprocessed. Unprocessed emotions lead to distress that leads to greater issues; anxiety and depression. Algorithms keep us in a distressed state of hyper self-awareness at all times. From constant shifting between advertisements, inspirational content, influencer content, family member content, the person you don't know yet you follow content you are bombarded by fragmented realities that have no direct correlation yet the nature of the platform demands connections to be made. The Instagram algorithm decides the importance of the content you should be seeing. It is no longer a chronological sequence of events. Images follow each-other one by one creating a sequence of associations. As a result, they appear connected. The algorithm generates a bird’s-eye view visual that consists of all the stories, posts, reels you saw that day. That bird's-eye view visual covertly tells you how to feel. However, you can only impact what you see and experience partially since the algorithm is the main curator of the feed.
Instagram is in a constant state of ambivalence; a social paradox. The platform presents itself as the solution to the issues it creates. Example: the self-help accounts that promote mental health awareness and present to us methods how to unlock the spiritual essence we are all craving so badly. But! As you scroll down, the advertisements remind us of our insecurities and play on our vanity. I have never seen more skincare companies assuring me that I need one more acid to complete my skincare routine. The ads make us self-aware at all times while using the app. The second I get my daily dose of spiritual content I need to enlighten my solar power I am asked to buy something. And suddenly I am no longer on my way to my Lorde state of mine. ( I am mostly exaggerating but…for us to concur this cancer we need to treat it like a philosophical phenomenon that needs its own terminology and language) On top of that, we are entering the post-influencer era in which no one is influencing and everybody is in an illusion that they are influencing. We are deeply desensitized to that process. The “advertisation” of the self. The culture hardly differentiates between advertisement and reality. The perfect example would be Kim wearing nothing but the same Balenciaga silhouette. Her whole existence becomes an advertisement. That is a dangerous state of being both politicly and psychologically. And the capitalistic post-internet culture views it as the desired state of consciousness. I can’t help but think that in such contexts the self-help accounts are just one more trick keeping the illusion alive while a deeper more problematic phenomenon takes place. The complete radical commodification of the humanity. That is not to say self-help Instagram can’t be beneficial but disregarding the context in which it operates is tragically naive. Thanks for reading my column, have a great day.- Talk to you soon.