FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is a new term for an ancient malady, now referring to people who are constantly online. Even the Tao Teh Ching published in 500 BC China by Lao Tzu, talks about people dreading that they were missing out on life. The way he stated it was that:
“Many people squander their lives engaged in a life-pursuit, and many people waste their lives locked in a death-flight and many people destroy their lives fleeing between a life-pursuit and a death-flight but few are content to live the lives they have been given.”
Perhaps this sentiment, of missing out on life, is part of being a conscious person, and the more conscious a person is of the spectacular things happening around them and within them, the more aware they become of the simple fact they can’t do everything available. In fact they can’t even do a tiny portion of the things that are easily available, and therefore they must observe carefully and choose the best that there is that they can have. It is similar to the pursuit of Guinness Book of World Records where individuals do incredibly outlandish things to achieve uniqueness. But with the new online situation every person is obsessed with experiencing the very best to even consider themselves as living and being worthy of life. But, to do that requires them to pay attention to absolutely everything that is happening, so that they can know the very best, and then pursue it and then possess it personally.
This online pursuit is similar to the Buddha’s teaching of what causes suffering, and the more intensely this activity is pursued the greater the personal pain will become. And yet – if a person grows into adulthood living this frenetic life style it is what they are and it would seem they would be comfortable with that way of living.
“We all train ourselves to be the person we want to be.”