DID you feel that furor when those luxury cars were flattened by a bulldozer? The furious crowd were demanding, where is the McLaren? That's because it was in the news just a few weeks before that an eye-popping, droll-inducing brand new McLaren was confiscated by the Bureau of Customs. So why was it not crushed? The all-knowing netizens were also demanding why is it that only old ones were crushed?

Really now. Why don't you ask the justice system why it takes so long to litigate smuggling? Only if you've been through the whole drama in the courts will you realize, those motions for reconsideration can last you a long, long time. That's on top of the postponements that the other side requests over and over again just to waste your time. Wasn't I convicted for a crime I was accused of ten years before the conviction was read? Oh, by the way, the conviction was reversed by the Court of Appeals because, obviously, no one goes to jail or get convicted because of a police report. But you know, justice isn't necessarily blind. It's just blindfolded and can be tempted to squeeze a soul or two.

There was another round of virtual rumbling and grumbling when President Rodrigo R. Duterte threatened to close down Boracay because of the dismal state of its environment. A throng of all-knowing netizens were also at it, apparently the same netizens who never noticed the ammonia-laced breeze in that white sand beach...

In between were the cheers for the Gabby-Sharon McDo commercial.

Before that, the Perils of Perception online survey conducted by the global survey firm Ipsos MORI on September 28 to October 19, 2017, where we joined Brazil and South Africa in having the least accurate answers among 38 countries regarding key issues asked of the respondents.

Not only are the Filipinos or those who answered the survey the least accurate, they were the third most confident in their answers, running behind India and Serbia.

What does that say of our online presence?

If by now you still haven't figured it out, then you have not been looking close enough... and may be among the ranks of the most confident despite having the least accurate answers.

It's a cultural thing, really. We have never been known for our listening skills. Remember your grade school years when the teacher would ask for a 1/2 sheet of paper? What would several classmates be asking soon after, "One-half, ma'am?"

Just last week, I posted the invitation to the 4th Hatch Day of Philippine Eagle Mabuhay announcing that "someone was celebrating a birthday", and what did I get? A horde of replies greeted me a Happy Birthday. I was forced to take down that post as I got tired of replying that it's not my birthday, the invitation clearly states "4th hatchday", and I'm not a bird.

But that is but a glimpse.

You just have to sit among friends and realize that they are all talking together, very few listen. All we need is just one trigger and a long discourse. Never mind if the trigger is not even related to the discourse.

Just read through a thread in social media. Everything is about being triggered, pushing one's views, and then the rants, whether deserved or not.

You can of course join the fray, or you can learn from the survey and what you see on social media and the comments you get on the news, that is, the emptiness of it all.

There is nothing there, no soul, no enlightenment. Just several thousands of people talking all together, not even to each other. What more can you learn from that? That all these talks are inconsequential. Turn it off, get a life, grow.

Never before in the whole half a century of my existence have I seen a people shackled by the gadget in their hands, and it's a sad sight. Sadder because, even us, who should know better are equally shackled. I'm still trying to break free, and it's a long, difficult struggle. saestremera@yahoo.com