What would Socrates say about social media and its impact on our mental health? In today’s digital age, it’s easy to get lost in the world of likes, followers, and notifications. But what is the true cost of constantly scrolling through a barrage of information? Are we really connecting with others or are we simply hiding behind screens? Here, I discuss the relationship between social media and depression by applying ancient wisdom from none other than Socrates himself.
Socrates was an ancient Greek philosopher who is considered to be one of the most influential thinkers in Western philosophy. He is best known for his doctrine of Forms, which states that there is a realm of abstract objects that exist outside of the physical world. Socrates also believed that wisdom comes from understanding these Forms.
Socrates Forms were a series of dialogues between Socrates and various other people that were written down by Plato. In these dialogues, Socrates would ask questions to try and get at the truth of things. The Forms were thought to be eternal, perfect, and unchanging ideas that were the basis for all other things in the world.
In modern times, we can apply Socrates’ wisdom to our understanding of the relationship between social media and depression. Depression is a serious mental health condition that can have a negative impact on an individual’s ability to function in everyday life. Social media has been identified as a potential risk factor for developing depression.
There are several ways in which social media may contribute to depression. First, social media can create a sense of comparison and envy. When we see other people’s highlight reels on social media, we may start to compare our own lives to theirs and feel like we are falling short. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness.
Second, social media can be a source of cyberbullying and negativity. When we are exposed to negative comments and trolling, it can take a toll on our mental health. Third, social media can contribute to feelings of isolation and loneliness. When we spend more time interacting with our online friends than our real-life friends, it can make us feel disconnected from the world around us.
Overview of Social Media and Depression
Social media has been linked to depression in several ways. First, it serves as a platform for cyberbullying. This is especially true for vulnerable individuals who are targeted by others online. Second, social media is a source of comparison. People often compare their own lives to the highlight reels that they see on social media, which can lead to feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem. Third, social media is addictive, leading people to spend excessive amounts of time on their devices and neglecting other important aspects of their lives. Finally, social media isolates people from face-to-face interactions, which are essential for mental health and well-being.
Social Media Use and Socrates’ Forms
Socrates believed that knowledge was a matter of grasping eternal truths, or Forms. But what exactly are Forms? And how do they relate to the modern dilemma of social media depression?
Plato, Socrates’ student, offers one way to think about Forms. He argues that material objects are only imperfect copies of perfect, eternal Forms. For example, there is a Form of Equality that material objects can approximate, but never fully achieve. Similarly, there is a Form of Justice that human beings can strive for, but never perfectly realize.
This theory of Forms can help us make sense of the modern dilemma of social media depression. Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram present users with an idealized version of reality. Peoples compare their everyday lives to the seemingly perfect lives they see on their feeds and inevitably come up short. This comparison can lead to feelings of inadequacy and depression.
But if we take Plato’s theory of Forms seriously, then we can see that the problem lies not in ourselves but in the way we’re using social media. We’re comparing apples to oranges when we compare our lives to the idealized versions we see on our feeds. We’re looking at material objects and trying to grasp an eternal truth that they can never fully capture. If we want to find true happiness and satisfaction, we need to look beyond social media and focus on what really matters: our relationships with others and our own personal growth.
Investigating the Relationship Between Social Media and Depression through the Socratic Method
The Socratic method can also be used to investigate the relationship between social media and depression through Socratic questioning. By asking questions about the causes and effects of social media use, we can begin to understand how these two things are related.
For example, we might ask: What causes people to use social media? Is it because they are lonely or seeking validation? How does social media affect people’s moods? Does it make them more likely to compare themselves to others and feel negative about themselves? Does it increase or decrease their sense of connection with others? Asking these types of questions can help us to better understand the relationship between social media and depression.
Steps to Use in Socratic Questioning to Combat Social Media-Related Depression
1. Determine why you’re feeling down. Is it because you’re comparing your life to others’ seemingly perfect lives on social media? Or is there something else going on that’s causing you to feel this way?
2. Once you know what the problem is, start asking yourself some tough questions. For example, why do you care so much about what others think of you? What would happen if you didn’t use social media for a week? A month?
3. Be honest with yourself in your answers. If you find that you’re not being truthful, re-evaluate your questions and try again.
4. Once you have some answers, start challenging your beliefs about social media and your place in it. Are your reasons for using social media valid? Are the benefits of social media worth the negative impact it can have on your mental health?
5. Keep asking yourself questions and be willing to change your mind if necessary. Remember, there is no single right or wrong answer, but by questioning your assumptions, you can get closer to the truth.
As Socrates said “The unexamined life is not worth living.” By taking the time to investigate these issues, one can be sure to lead a richer and happier life.