This is some interesting commentary on the isolating nature of the internet, even in light of “web 2.0” technologies that are supposed to be linking us together:
It’s a regular occurrence to read comments on the anti-civ blogs (and from the bloggers themselves) about how people don’t know anyone else nearby who they shares their views. I also see people on email discussion lists making this same complaint.
The internet is great at connecting people up but ultimately it is all promise and very little delivery and there is something slightly worrying about how it moulds my behaviour. Initially there is a great flush of excitement upon discovering this wonderful anti-civ corner of the web and this conditions us to keep coming back to the computer for more. Unfortunately the connections made online can only ever be made at an intellectual level…. Maybe sometimes someone will write something that will get you on an emotional level but ultimately the sense of community and acceptance I keep trying to get out of my computer is not forthcoming.
I’m currently spending most of my day working in a room by myself working so it’s even worse right now but what happens is that I get online and start browsing blogs looking for something meaningful. I’m well versed in anti civ thinking these days so it’s harder and harder to find something to give me that old hit, plus I probably only just ‘did the rounds’ recently and there’s hardly anything new. I usually begin to stray further and further past the edges of my blog-circle in the hope of finding something that interests me.
I end up skim reading a bunch of stuff that doesn’t excite me and finally when I feel completely flat and empty I stagger out of the room in search of real people. Luckily I have a family and there’s usually a real person somewhere in the house when I need one.
So is this a zero-sum game? Does the fantastic information and insight I gain from the internet make up for the appalling effect it has on my social life. I mean, if I didn’t spend all this time online I wouldn’t be on this whole new ‘plane of existence’ that separates me from my real life peers and instead I’d probably be out there hanging with them. Is it really worth it when the only thing that really gives meaning to life are the real-life connections I make?
Hold on! I hear you say. Aren’t you forgetting about spiritual and mental development in that mix? – What about the search for insight and truth? Isn’t that important? Don’t we need that too?.
I’m not sure. Some of that can be quite self indulgent that questing for truth. We can also get spiritual development out of rubbing up against other people in real life situations – if we aren’t too careful about keeping a safe distance that is. I think it’s the type of development humans are supposed to have too.
‘Course, I’m not ready to give up the net yet but I do think I need to find a way to put all this stuff to practical use. I think that’s why I like Comrade Simba, in a single posting from him you can usually get a bit of philosophy mixed in with instructions on how to build a water pump. There’s something kind of grounded and even soothing about that.