As inhabitants of the 21st century, we are all forcibly products of our time. Like every era, ours provides us with a chance to make our mark on all aspects of history. However, the world we inhabit handicaps us with the limited foresight into what our legacies will be. In “the end” (if there is such a thing), no matter what steps we take, all we currently hold dear as identities and possessions will become obsolete. This revelation of the ultimate briefness of it all brings me to my point: in our current day, I can’t help but be bewildered at the marvelous wonders of the information age. While I’m constantly told that I’m accomplishing so much in using a computer, in hindsight, I actually feel like I’m really accomplishing very, very little.
What computers allow people to do is multitask. A person can check their emails while at the same time grooming their vanity on Facebook.com, check their bank account and blah, blah, blah; you probably know what else a person can do all at once.
Personally, the first thing I do when I sit at a terminal for the world wide web is play a game of Tetris. Then one game turns into three — or 10 — and nothing gets done.
Maybe my problem is with Tetris. Well, no. No, because Cracked.com, a browser narcotic referenced in popular web comic XKCD, has brain-crack to deal to me.
I do all of this at once, of course. I’m sick of it because I’m giving in. I’m giving in to the norm. I’m multitasking and participating in the consumption of the Internet like everyone else.
We all multitask. Conformity tells me to do so. God fucking damn that to Hell. Why should I? Is it because it’s the one thing lazy people aren’t doing? Is it because it’s the secret to every so-called successful person’s success? Is it the key to happiness? If it is, that really does suck, because it seems to be the one thing that nobody can do efficiently, since it’s apparently impossible. I mean, honestly, if everyone does it, why isn’t everyone famous, rich and successful and married to supermodels at the top of Mount Everest holding a press conference for their new bestselling book, I am Number One (And You Can Too!)? Earnest reader, know that these questions are not rhetorical.
But the problem is much bigger than doing many things at once, regardless of the reasoning. What bothers me is that since everyone is doing it, it’s virtually impossible to find someone, anyone, who would rather say, “Go fly a kite.” It’s almost impossible to find people who love to do something random and fun and completely un-ironic for the sake of doing it rather than wasting precious days getting a monitor tan.
Now, I know when I’m wrong. I’ve been told before that I’m full of shit all the time, but when I’m bested, there’s not a thing I can do but walk the streets with my head held low, begging the gods of atheism, nihilism, pessimism, absent void and vacuum for forgiveness and salvation in their loving, motherly, imaginary arms.
So when I found out that everyone else, and I can even give you a list because they’re all on Facebook, was obsessed with computers for whatever reason, I despaired that I couldn’t make new friends.
But I’m not about trying to make new friends. That will come. The problem is with the constant flow of useless information clogging the optical receptors in countless human heads. Let’s face it. Computers are the easy way. I’m lazy. I want things easily. I avoid downloading music, instead listening to songs on YouTube because the load time is quicker. I enjoy computer games. Is this bad?
Well, as recently as Sept. 10, 2009, professor Louise Nadeau of the Université de Montréal’s department of psychology, stated in ScienceDaily that the Internet can be a source of addiction. Meanwhile, the The Telegraph’s Matthew Moore has written a list entitled “50 things that are being killed by the Internet.” Among the ones most likely to affect everyday social context are punctuality, memory, privacy, concentration and dead time, or rather “free time” for us Canadians.
I suppose what this train of thought leads me to is a modest proposal. I propose only using my computer for homework and nothing else. I’m seriously eyeing a typewriter for all journalistic endeavors.
Besides, when the bombs drop and the power shuts down, North America will be nothing more than a giant post-apocalyptic playground where the currency is toilet paper, and computers — along with computer engineering — will be equated with the novelty of an English degree in today’s shit economy. Of course, when the bombs do drop, the English majors fed up with reading badly translated Plato from an eye-searing screen will be the first to appreciate the irony.