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The Ironic Internet

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posted on Feb, 12 2015 @ 01:10 PM
I am not ashamed that my fairly amateur writing is found on some sordid corner of the internet. I mean look at the company I keep—people interested in dreams, predictions, afterlives, aliens, Bigfoot, and whatever else they can conjure up during their nap-time. In this sense we are all equal, everyone and no one at the same time, waging war with words, wit and wisdom, and not much else. It is entertainment, my friend. If you are not entertained, what the hell are you doing here?

But we rarely admit that we are entertaining ourselves, maybe working, maybe killing time—perhaps even to the detriment of our social lives—and have adopted a more hilarious and ironic attitude towards this anti-social behavior. We like to pretend we're being social.

Have you lived a life? I ask because I cannot tell whether what you know is derived from culture or youtube, experience or wikipedia, travel or media. And then I wonder how much of the world can be experienced from a desk. If an internet intellectual and a chimpanzee are dropped in a rainforest, who is more likely to survive? The smarter one.

This is the going rate. It is always those who spend the least time outside who try to tell us most about the outside world. Whether it is a priest in some monastery, a mathematician at some desk, or a physicist in some lab, there are, for the most part, real walls between them and what they're trying to capture. Like their scripture, their equations and their experiments, their eyes are focused on apparatus, contrivance and controlled environment.

If you happen to observe the overall rhetoric of the internet by stepping back and looking at its artifact, you might find that it doesn’t paint a consistent enough metaphor of the world we live in. I mean that by strictly participating in it, one could assume through the internet any number of things about the world but when he finally steps outside into the brute facts he finds something completely different. For although one might think he is gaining insight into the occurrences of the world and others with access to such a large store-house of information and anecdote, and that he is socializing with other people, he has in fact not even left his room, has seen nothing but a screen, and has interacted with no one other than himself.

This paradox however is quite consistent with the paradoxical, hypocritical and ironic nature of humankind. By stepping back and looking at the concrete artifact of the internet without paradox and irony, observing its reality, we see people at their computers, usually alone, immersed in various forms of media, rhetoric, and imagination. There is nothing wrong with this. Often enough though, we like to tell ourselves the internet is a means to social interaction, a method of learning, or a community; but such a notion betrays itself as soon as it is asserted, and is actually a euphemism for anti-social, anti-learning and anti-community, insofar as one cowers from the direct and immediate experience of the world into the indirect and filtered experience of her own imagination.

Figuratively, we are interacting with others and learning about the world. Literally, we are not, and we sit wholly alone, aware of nothing else but ourselves and the immediate setting. The very act of going inside, closing one's doors and windows, putting on headphones, and staring at a screen, is more a retreat and resignation from the world and other people.

And if you have the mind, dear reader, observe further the ideologies being sold on the internet among the indignant masses—the neo-feminism and its backlash the men’s rights movement, the ever-recurring God debate which has become en vogue once again as it once was with 19th century intellectuals, and the various clusters of social justice warriors abound these days—one might be careful to carry a whac-a-mole stick for when these dogmas rear their heads. These ideologies, despite being crystallized in purely rhetorical form, are built of exaggeration and embellishment, with no care taken of any real reality. In fact, in observing how much of reality is left out of these ideologies, we might make a better decision towards their veracity. In other words, go outside and try them on for size.

A dangerous principle comes to mind—whatever we are doing we are getting better at. We are getting better at exploiting our relationship with the environment while at the same time hiding from it. What do I mean by this? By using the internet to satiate our curiosity, our relationships, and our expression, we at the same time diminish them; when our curiosity, our relationships and expression is limited to the internet, we negate the most intimate aspects of our relationships with the rest of the world through willful non-participation, through hiding. There is no better opiate of decadence than one that allows us to be more and more decadent. One might ask herself, how much does one truly know about a person, a place or a thing if he never comes into contact with them? I can answer that—very little. To say that we are at least gaining indirect knowledge of something is somewhat true, but what we are gaining knowledge of is someone else's knowledge.

edit on 12-2-2015 by LesMisanthrope because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 12 2015 @ 01:18 PM
I used to spend a ton of time outside and still would if I hadn't developed chronic migraines that were photosensitive. Now outside time involves always having to wear a brimmed hat and sunglasses and even then I can get sick.

But if you want the ultimate tale of the Internet intellectual, I believe there is the vignette told from the POV of the Japanese Internet intellectual in World War Z. For him, the zombie apocalypse was entirely intellectual and abstract right up until it was knocking at his door.

posted on Feb, 12 2015 @ 01:21 PM
a reply to: LesMisanthrope

Mirror, Mirror, on the wall!

Who is the fairest of them all

posted on Feb, 12 2015 @ 01:31 PM
a reply to: LesMisanthrope
Amateur writing ??

In my view your OP is Top Class Writing & Thinking.. I sometimes am a bit 'jealous' at people (like you) who can just project their thoughts into words , Respect for this !

posted on Feb, 12 2015 @ 01:33 PM
Good read ... very entertaining ... bet you feel better for sharing your thoughts ... some of which I agree with and some not

I do agree the real world exists outside and beyond the comp screen ... there is a balance to be found between being entertained and experiencing the world outside ... either way we live within our thoughts

posted on Feb, 12 2015 @ 01:43 PM
I agree that people spend less time exploring the real world since the internet went mainstream.

One might ask herself, how much does one truly know about a person, a place or a thing if he never comes into contact with them? I can answer that—very little.

That's a very subjective answer.
I would say that a person can't know the full details if he hasn't come in contact with the object in question but one can't know the full details of the object based only on personal experience.

One can see and touch the Pantheon yet, if no one is there to share it's history, then the knowledge is incomplete.

To say that we are at least gaining indirect knowledge of something is somewhat true, but what we are gaining knowledge of is someone else's knowledge.

I would rather learning architectual knowledge from an architech than from myself for example. Sure, if I never work doing architecture I will never fully comprehend and there is nothing wrong with that, it's just that we can't consider it complete knowledge...whatever complete knowledge is.

We learn the surface of so many more subjects today from the internet than people used to learn from subjective books and I believe that learning more surface knowledge in many fields helps more to solving everyday life problems than knowing only a couple of subjects profoundly.

Sure, we might be getting intellectually "lazy" by some standards but, contrary to our education system, I believe that memorizing is less important than understanding. In depth knownledge will always need to be inscribed anyway, so computers make it much faster to access this type of knowledge when needed.

I, for one, don't feel like I'm socializing when I'm on Facebook, for example but on this forum, I believe that we are both socializing together and along with the other visitors of your thread.

What would be the chances of us sharing this subject in real life? Close to nil.
It's not complete but it's the best we got for now!

edit on 12-2-2015 by theMediator because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 12 2015 @ 01:49 PM
Interesting arguments but I sense a flaw.
The internet has a great many use besides hearing other people's rhetoric. For example maps that can help you navigate in the real world. This so the golden age of maps, thanks to the internet.
Another example is instruction manuals. Language learning. Recipes from all round the world that you can cook for your friends and family if you have the right ingredients. The list lf practical uses for the internet is endless.

posted on Feb, 12 2015 @ 01:52 PM
I too think you are a good writer. I disagree with your final sentence and suggest you insert two words, to wit: "To say that we are at least gaining indirect knowledge of something is somewhat true, but what we are gaining knowledge of is due to someone else's knowledge. I say that because unless we are unable to think for ourselves at all, then we never investigate for ourselves and act like automatons. But of course we are indoors at this frigid time of the year! Come on now, some of us know that we have the gene for hibernation.

edit on 12-2-2015 by aboutface because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 12 2015 @ 02:38 PM

originally posted by: LesMisanthrope
I am not ashamed that my fairly amateur writing is found on some sordid corner of the internet.

Gee, thanks. And speaking only for myself, may I say there's no vigorous objection to hosting your pedantic logorrhea here, as long as you're willing to supply it.

edit on 2/12/2015 by yeahright because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 12 2015 @ 03:36 PM
a reply to: LesMisanthrope

Very, very thought-provoking... and top-notch delivery!

posted on Feb, 12 2015 @ 03:50 PM
a reply to: LesMisanthrope

Fairly amateurish writing? I don't think so. I've read books where the author didn't put his words together nearly as good as you do. Very well done
I agree as well. For me, the internet is my only window to the whole world. I haven't traveled very much & it allows me to see all the beautiful things & places I'll never get to go to. But I don't live there. No internet on my phone either.
Thank you for giving me something to ponder. Haven't been a member long enough to flag yet, or you would have one from me.

posted on Feb, 12 2015 @ 05:48 PM
a reply to: yeahright

may I say there's no vigorous objection to hosting your pedantic logorrhea here, as long as you're willing to supply it.

I'll keep shovelling it in this general direction.

posted on Feb, 12 2015 @ 05:50 PM
Amateur writing? Come on now, you did that on purpose.. look at all the commentary that little line inspired. Don't insult the rest of us like that, I've given you plenty of labels in heated threads before but if there's one thing you're not it's a sloppy writer.

I see your point though, hopefully I'll get to travel extensively some day.

posted on Feb, 12 2015 @ 05:51 PM
a reply to: theMediator

Good points. I don't have any counter argument.

Something's history is in the stories we tell; not in the thing itself.

posted on Feb, 12 2015 @ 05:55 PM
a reply to: TheLaughingGod

I see your point though, hopefully I'll get to travel extensively some day.

You won't regret it. Thanks for the words.

posted on Feb, 12 2015 @ 06:04 PM
"There is a season" comes to mind. Many of us here have spent decades 'outside', doing, reading, socializing, playing, wandering the woods and meadows and rivers. Tens of thousands of experiences. Then some of those people may bring that lived life to the internet and to places like ATS, Wikipedia, facebook, and thousands of other sites to share either with people who already know the world but want to explore a little more or with younger people who, growing up with the internet and totally computer savvy, look to it as a place where they can both learn and educate others. Yes, the net, and sites like ATS, are social. We don't see the facial expressions and other ape-level signals of consent or dissent, wonder or boredom. We don't flirt with potential sexual partners, or laugh at the same instant someone else finds the same thing funny. But the net is real, as solid as knocking on a friend's door, or sharing wine and bread in a sidewalk café. Here we can hold a limited but actual conversation with people from all over the globe - at the same time and on the same subject. There is a world on the internet, and a world outside of it, and those with a foot in both then mix and share what they experience with each.

posted on Feb, 12 2015 @ 08:39 PM
a reply to: LesMisanthrope

In this sense we are equal, everyone and no one at the same time.

Wait a minute! I remember one of your threads from not too long ago...

We are not equal

Have you changed your stance since making that thread?

posted on Feb, 13 2015 @ 01:32 AM
When it comes to a forum, it is no different really than writing letters to anonymous individuals, there is no real interaction, unlike a telephone call or talking in-person. What it does do however, is allow you to be exposed to a vast array of personal opinions, and this allows you to gain an insight into other people, and if you gain a substantial one, you might actually be able to understand certain aspects of social behavior and apply it you your life in the outside world.

For example, I can guarantee that you have met somebody in the real world that has many bizarre stories to tell, and has many philosophical viewpoints and arguments stored in their mind. However, because of social norms, they keep such things to themselves and also would think that they are quite "alone" until they visit a forum such as this.
edit on 13-2-2015 by SystemResistor because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 13 2015 @ 03:36 AM
I don't honestly feel that the internet writing and reading I do has lessened my active exterior time.
I feel it encouraged it.

Perhaps my situation is fairly unique, but before I had a computer and internet access, I tended to avoid the exterior world and others a lot, because I was in a foreign environment, in which my ability to express myself (through word or act) was extremely limited. I could understand the language around me, but not speak it effectively; I could observe the actions going on around me, but not comprehend the patterns enough to take a role in it all.

When I began to write on message boards, (about 15 years ago) it provided me with an outlet for expression which I sorely needed, and helped me to release much of my pent up energy, and also a context in which I could reflect upon what I was seeing during the day, and find the patterns to decode behaviors, thought processes, values, of the culture around me. I began to see ways I could better jump in and take part effectively.

Of course, fellow forum members got (get) very sick of me talking about France and french culture - it is as tiring as hearing about "this one time, at band camp...."
I pretty much had one group of mid western people vote me off the island on one site, just for that. I understand their irritation.

But it was really, really helpful for me in integrating comprehension of my environment, and it allowed me to get more and involved. I was able to start getting out into the work force and social circles, and successfully navigate my way.

I still have my hour on the net each morning, which is somewhat sacred to me. If I have to work very early in the morning, I get up at a time which allows for this (often 4 AM).

I consider that my daily life has two important activities to it- active and passive physically. Before going to bed, I do a quick over see of all that happened that day, I "digest" it in sleep, then in the morning, I express the conclusions and judgements I perceive, which have been made more clear by my subconscious. This helps me see those patterns, and see possible mistakes, misunderstandings, and alternative responses I can try out next.

Then, I am off into the world and interaction and observation!

I find that putting aside a ritual time for reviewing and organization of thought allows me to think less during the day and in action. That increases my effectiveness. If I do not do it, I suffer from "overactive mind" during the day.... I will find myself thinking about events which happened in the near past, which takes me further away from being completely "here, now". Knowing I can put those aside for analyzation later, my mind is free to receive and collect experience fully the rest of the day.

posted on Feb, 14 2015 @ 05:35 AM
a reply to: LesMisanthrope

No need to be so humble in regards to your extensively proficient writing skills. You are a gifted writer, and while we might not always agree on certain issues, I am thankful for your continued contributions on this website.

I am probably one of those at whom your thread is directed; I spend a lot more time on the Internet than I should and this comes at a cost to my near nonexistent social life and real life interactions with others.

The thing is, for many of us, the real world is a scary place. The Internet provides a relatively safe escape from the harsh realities of life that we would otherwise have to endure. The risks, challenges and costs involved in interacting with others in real life sometimes outweigh the convenience of our immersion in the online world.

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