Drowning in the Internet
Starting tomorrow I’ll be uploading videos again. I’ve actually got a bit of a backlog. Which really isn’t all that acceptable given just how easy it is to record an hour of playing a game and upload it. Now, making quality videos, that’s a trip. Something I haven’t accomplished yet. Time heals all wounds and improves all performances. Except when it doesn’t. Let’s be optimistic though and assume that it will.
It looks like Joss Whedon has left twitter. Leaving social media is a very eye opening experience. Once you do it you realize just how little you had to lose. I don’t dislike any of the friends I have left behind, I’d happily chat with any of them on Steam, Battle.net, or whatever Chat client they might be a part of. But that connection on a social media network feels inherently flawed. It’s just fake enough to be uncomfortable. Everyone is either putting their best foot forward or they are blocked. I don’t think that ignoring nastiness is a problem but there does appear to be a rising popularity to acting the victim.
I have literally no evidence to suggest that it is a new thing. It might actually just be something that has already been around but the pleasure derived from it is magnified by the connected nature of the internet.
Overall I do see the internet as a positive invention. It’s just one that we haven’t figured out yet. Everything is still fresh. I wonder if the printing press had this same kind of uncomfortable growth process. People uncertain how much to print, what to print, where to print. Thoughts once locked behind a fairly substantial wall suddenly being let loose upon the masses. The internet is like a printing press a thousand times over. You can sit down and smack a few plastic squares to send a message to thousands of people all over the world.
It magnifies every little thing we do. All our loves, hates, curiosities. Each one of these things suddenly becomes global. I feel that I’ve said this stuff before but it is no less true now than it was then. Our emotions have become so much bigger than they ever were before. Titans too big to carry in our minds, far too large to even carry on our shoulders.
Part of the problem, if you can call it that, is that society is nowhere near caught up to the internet. Our world is running decades behind where it needs to be to handle the internet. Social Security numbers for identification cannot exist in this age. Identity theft happens because our failsafes for identity are antiquated to an almost laughable point. Doxing stems from this ignorance. Information being free is not inherently a problem, information being free with a peoples that aren’t ready to handle freedom of information, that is one.
I wouldn’t advocate for the great firewall, that is ludicrous in the other direction. I wouldn’t advocate for just about any of the big movements that have cropped up in acknowledgement of this problem. My hope is that we can learn to adapt our physical world to coexist alongside the digital one. For now the physical world is frail and unprepared for the leviathan that humanity has wrought in this metaphysical micro universe.
We now live in two realities at all times. The physical one, and the digital, the latter both existing in its own right and tightly controlling the former. In either case we are not prepared for what we have. People have only just begun to “get” the physical world. Tens of thousands of years of civilization and we are only now, barely, coming to terms with how to coexist. We are, overall, in a time more peaceful than any other. This isn’t even to speak of all the mysteries about even the most basic building blocks of reality. It is only in my lifetime that these things have begun to get pieced together in earnest.
The physical world was the section of the pool that came up to your chin. Just high enough to cause your heart to race and for a tinge of fear to never fully leave you.
The digital world is the diving pool that goes deep enough to leave survival for the unprepared a fantasy. Humanity has dived into the deep end before they could even swim.
I don’t know what’ll happen. Maybe we’ll have an epiphany and take to the water like dolphins. But for now it feels a bit like people are thrashing about while shouting “I’m ok!” in between gulps.