Are we really happy here
With this lonely game we play
Looking for words to say
Searching but not finding
Understanding anywhere
We’re lost in a masquerade

The words of this song by Leon Russell come to mind everyday whilst observing commuters at the train station, on the tube, waiting at the bus stop. The song is called This masquerade. Written about a couple in the dying throes of a relationship, it may as well have been referring to the thousands making their way to and from work obsessed with their iphones, tablets, blackberrys.

Waiting on the train platform for the 7.19, no one at makes eye contact, says good morning, smiles or meets your eyes, but they are happy to make contact with a virtual world; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. The world that cannot be touched, felt, or smelt. The world that cannot hold you if you were to fall.

Are we really happy here, with this lonely game we play, says the song. Are we really?? What are we looking for in that virtual world? Validation? Happiness, Approval, Understanding? Can we really find all those things from a world that takes us away from ourselves? A virtual world?

“Looking for words to say”. It isn’t difficult to watch a carriage full of commuters looking for the right sound bite to put on Facebook when you are standing all the way to work in a cramped train carriage. Why is it that it is easy to post words into a virtual world, but the use of language is overlooked or disregarded in connecting with the person squashed up next to you in a very confined space?

The song says “Searching but not finding understanding anywhere, we’re lost in a masquerade”. Ain’t that the truth! So much of how we now make sense of the world nowadays, is via our access to online this and online that. Our search appears to revolve on things outside of ourselves. It would seem that numerous Search Engines and their definitions of what we are looking for hold more sway than the search engine that is available when all our gadgets are down.

When Leon Russell wrote that song in 1976, social networks were probably considered to be community, friends or colleagues. Connecting meant a telephone call, a face to face chat, writing and posting a letter. Today, the words of that song resonate in a completely different way.

So are we really happy here ? Or
Lost in a masquerade?

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