For my last post on this page- a rant for all of you:
The internet is everything, all the time. It helps to remember when you’re watching the “Brita” of all videos about our slowly dying planet (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Se12y9hSOM0), that you may just a few seconds later, read something about scientists all over the world building a star in a bottle that may provide 30 million years of clean energy.
My favorite author (Blake, duh) constantly maintained that the universe is entirely divided into competing opposites of equal force. Love-hate, peace-war, movement-stillness, simplicity-complexity. You name it. The constant tug of war between equal sides creates what he calls the “vortex” in which we live…a chaotic, swirling whirlpool of contradictory experience. The need for approval and shared experience; social connection versus the desire for privacy and sense of self, for example. *cough* constant facebook dilemma *cough*
Like any funnel cloud, there is an eye in the middle of the vortex, where all these things get mashed into one. You don’t have to be a pessimist or an optimist, a calvanist or a malthusianist. If the internet does only one truly positive thing for mankind, it is in creating that space: an eye in the vortex, where all content and all points of view are mashed so close together that it is impossible to have anyone build your worldview for you. You get to..and are sometimes forced to… build your sense of the world and your outlook from whatever you find out there. For every point you read there is an equivocal counter point and you must either choose, or bite your nails forever.
This radically DIY self-making was so incredibly difficult before the age of information, as those of us old enough to remember know. The catch with this new advantage is that we have to continually participate. It’s easy to sit back and let it all just wash over you, passively…but that’s not how it should be done. We must shape and define this space if it’s going to be useful… Are we content with a giant junkpile of advertising, porn, and cat memes? Are we happy to have three companies controlling 90% of the assets? I hope we’ll continue to share and make real things of real substance…things that enrich our lives “IRL” and help us make the best choices possible. Sometimes this participation is, ironically, non-participation. Not as act of protest or self-righteousness, but as an expression of choice and identity.
So there you have it, my best attempt to ennoble the most invasive, pervasive and mundane thing of the modern world. At least I tried. Also now, hopefully, you wont call me out as a luddite curmudgeon for ditching my google and facebook accounts all in one month.