Wednesday, March 17, 2010

It's Raining, It's Pouring, The Internet is Boring

Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol or morphine or idealism.

--Carl Jung




Human beings are a funny lot. We pride ourselves on our ability to parse stimuli rationally and yet we rarely, if ever, accomplish the task. Take the Internet, for instance. As fascinating as it is to think that data can be sent so quickly as to allow real-time verbal or epistolary communication between people on the opposite poles of the Earth, it is somewhat mind-boggling that the result is that, as a species, we now spend a large portion of our time staring at a flat back-lit surface pecking away at an array of spring-loaded buttons in order to interact with people, places and things that have no relationship with our present circumstance.

It's a pretty abysmal pastime if you ask me, and yet here I am, passing about a half-an-hour checking email, writing a blog post, accepting unkown facebook friends, reading old news, trying to upload a file three times, etc., etc. It's funny how the more time-saving devices we create, the more we find ways to fill up our time using them. For me, rock vs. iPad is really a no-brainer, and yet I'm sure if I had an iPad, I'd use it, whereas I rarely, if ever, use rocks for much these days.

Worth some thought, anyway. The past two days the Internet has been down and I really didn't miss it. On the contrary, it was a bit of a relief not to have to sit here pecking away like some kind of brain-damaged insect. Peck, peck, peck. Talk about weird.

In other unrelated news, I'm reading my first book in a long time; it's called Irreducible Mind, and really is an incredible look at trying to bridge the gap between modern science and reality. And let me tell you, it's a big gap to fill. Well worth the 800-page read; I'm already 200 pages into it and no sign of flagging yet. Keeps me away from this pecking machine, at any rate.

Update: Thinking about it a bit more, I guess I'm not seriously suggesting there is no benefit or reason behind using the Internet as a means to expedite or broaden communication pathways, I just wish it really followed through on the promise to actually save me more time than it actually does. It seems like our purported rationale behind the Internet is betrayed by the actual use thereof, often doubling or tripling our expected usage time. Rather than just a tool, it seems for most of us more of a crutch or, for some, almost a life-support system.