- Family and Parenting
The Blue Whale Challenge Curse: Delving into the Teenage Mind
We, human beings, are supposed to be masters of the universe, or so the scriptures make us believe, so the books on evolution make us believe too. However, how can we be the masters of the world outside if we hardly know how to discipline and control what lies within? When we ourselves are too crippled to control our deeper impulses, how can we even hope to teach our kids the art of being human?This article is not an answer to that, it is rather, a quest to find out if we are capable of even asking these questions. This article is about why we are at this precarious threshold today.What has given birth to the game of the blue whale challenge is not one single individual, but an aeon of human degeneration, or as we may call it "Devolution".
What is the Blue Whale Challenge:
The Challenge is based on a simple logic, alienate an individual through progressively harder to accomplish tasks to a climax where the individual loses all sense of reality. Life becomes a virtual state of being and the individual leaps to the darkness which he/she then conceives as more real and tangible.
In simple words, the game sorts out vulnerable kids, makes them do stuff that might otherwise seem bizarre and even terrible to change their entire perspective about life and death so that they don’t mind jumping off a bridge or terrace.
As a matter of fact, the man responsible for creating the Blue Whale Challenge, Philipp Budeikin, a 22-year-old Russian directly handed out instructions to some children. In an interview this year, he said he made the game to "clean society," as people who participated in it were "biological waste."
One thing is certain here. Budeikin speaks of the participants as if they are already marked by a malady, the malady of alienation. The victims are mostly introvert school-going kids who do not have access to outdoor games or group activities. They are mostly single children and lack the support system of same age siblings or cousins. One should remember that the administrators of the game reach these kids not through any downloadable channel or App but by a random system which depends on search engines and other web activities. Therefore, even before they start playing, the victims show a regular pattern of despair through their web activities (search for suicide, murder, loneliness etc.)
Who is to Blame?
The question which automatically arises is “Who to blame”? Once we understand how the victims are chosen (not by arbitrary method but by following a logic), we begin to question whether Budeikin is solely responsible for the consequences of his actions. As terrible as his criminal intents are, we can still never be fair enough to call him the man behind the deaths. If he has created the games, we have created the gamers. These kids are as much a victim of their childhood as they are of Budeikin. The Blue Whales of our society have been feeling lost and unloved long before they climb up that terrace or bridge to take the final plunge.
The Infernal Corridor.
The acts these kids perform for forty nine days before the final day follow a fatal course of alienation and withdrawal. The acts include rising up at the crack of dawn to watch horror video clips, staying silent for a whole day without speaking to anyone, etching out a whale figurine on the hand with a razor, cutting the lips with a knife. These acts precisely ensure that the gamer is gradually withdrawn from healthy human companionship. The next phase comes with a negative reinforcement pattern where the gamers are introduced to other gamers who have been equally withdrawn from society. Instead of sharing any bond of sustenance, the gamers begin to concretize a brotherhood of despair. At this point, their brains begin to reinforce the idea that they need to fulfil an expectation if only to remain in solidarity with the dictates of the fatal brotherhood. They feed like parasites on each other’s morbidity and race down the path of damnation like the host of rebel angels who stood by Lucifer in his Fall. By this time, they lose sight of all other relationships, every option of survival, and can see only one corridor in front of them—the corridor towards the everlasting bonfire.
The Final Day:
The act committed on the final day becomes then, not a momentary impulse, not a thoughtless blunder, but a premeditated act, done as a logical consequence of the forty nine acts performed before it. The final action becomes a summation of every act of withdrawal from reality. What happens inside the gamer’s mind is hard to decipher. One can only guess that they begin to gradually lose sense of the real. Just as a videogame addict begins to feel a sense of empathy with the digitized universe, these gamers begin to feel more in tune with the twisted reality they are presented by the admins. On the final day, the leap from the terrace becomes yet another hurdle they need to cross. Some people hold the theory that the admins use blackmail to persuade these gamers, they threaten that their families will be destroyed and their parents will be murdered if they do not comply to the suicidal act. However, it is doubtful. By the time the gamers reach the advanced stage, it is no more possible perhaps for them to think beyond their own existence, or non existence. They hardly need any external persuasion as such. The admins already make sure that the gamers begin to have complete faith in them.
Madness or Method?
Another pertinent question is, “Has Mr Budeikin really done something that has never been done before?” Definitely not. How can we then account for the innumerable suicide bombers, terrorists and insurgents who show exactly such a pattern of alienation and negative reinforcement? Identify the loner, drug him with a dose of twisted reality, regroup him with equally drugged loners and Boom! Victims of Budeikin at least end up killing only themselves and not other human beings in the process. The method and logic of Budeikin is the method of the countless religious cults around the world, the method of branding and brainwashing, about life, death, reality and morality. To blame Budeikin alone is to shake off the responsibility that we should equally shoulder. Only by acknowledgement of failure can we begin to hope for a reversal.
Then and Now:
Thesaurus defines the word “alienation” as “a state of depersonalization or loss of identity in which the self seems unreal, thought to be caused by difficulties in relating to society and the resulting prolonged inhibition of emotion.” When the present generation of parents grew up (in and around 1980s-90s) they too felt resentment, sadness, anger, anxiety and rage. However, they could let it all out, sometimes at their parents, sometimes their schoolmates or some close confidant. Now, as the world is getting converged into smart screens, people live their lives only on social media platforms, perfecting their portraits with filters and evaluating happiness in terms of smileys received. We are getting so used to smileys that we might as well conceive our emotions as internal smileys. No wonder, the emotions of the human heart, complex as they are, can never be adequately represented by graphic images. Consequently, we feel inadequate in expressing our emotions since we fall short of smileys! The feeling of lacuna grows and grows out of proportion and we begin to fail miserably as individuals to handle our own stress. How can then we even hope to understand, empathise with or channelise our kids’ emotions? Emotions, when inhibited, end up blowing out of proportion to turn the younger generation into zombies who succumb easily to the lures of people like Budeikin.
How can a mother not notice that her son speaks not a single word for a whole day? How can a father ignore the long sleeves (to hide the whale mark) that his daughter is wearing in June? How can a parent overlook the tired dark eyes of their kid who insists on going to bed early (to get up at 4.00) with his smartphone? We do. All of us. All the time. We do that to find time for our own status updates, to pamper our own degenerated ego by our endless charade on the screen. Who is then responsible if our kids feel that this world is no more habitable?
The answer is too disturbing to give.
We can only hope we realize it before it is too late.
© 2017 Monami