There are distractions and then there is the Internet.
Never before have we lived in such a cluttered and diverse mental space.
There’s a cliche of an old man who struggles with the way the world is changing around him. ‘Things aren’t the way they used to be’, he says. ‘In my day, things were simpler’. Regardless of how rote this old man’s grumblings sound, he’s now more right than ever. The 21st Century has brought with it a litany of complexities that have not been properly addressed by psychologists or doctors. In today’s modern world, we are more aware of the billions of people milling around the world with us and more burdened by thoughts that simply would not have been in the heads of previous generations.
History of the World
Knowledge is power – that’s what they say. But is there a chance that too much knowledge might not be for the best? We are now at a point in civilisation where we can look back on human history with a certain level of detachment. The internet has granted us unlimited access to this knowledge; never before have so many human had this opportunity to learn about their past – but this might not necessarily be a good thing. Obsessing over the mistakes of those long dead will not help us find solutions to the same problems that face us today – these answers are distractions.
Protection and security. Forty years ago, these adjectives would have been used to describe doors or houses, that was the only security than anyone would feasibly need to worry about. Today though, each person must remember a litany of usernames with corresponding passwords, these must be matched up with the correct service or application. These codes have to be different for each service and often a person might use 8 or 10 different combinations. Why all the security? Because now there are criminals who exist in virtual spaces, eager to take advantage of any weaknesses.
All Powerful Socialites and Minuscule Men
The power of social networks and those making use of them can not be understated. Where once a person could only speculate at their social influence, today they can calculate it with pinpoint accuracy and even try to manipulate it. These are the virtual spaces that people spend the most time in. Millions of people constantly jostle for attention whilst desperately hoping to be noticed and applauded for their brilliance. For every one Powerful Socialite, there are millions of Minuscule Men, struggling to make themselves heard above the din and roar.
Never before have we been made more aware of the ceaseless turning of the world. The internet is constantly being updated, millions of servers whirr as the human race eagerly archive their thoughts, pictures, days, children. There is always something new to read or watch – but is it always worth taking yourself out of the real world to keep up with what is occurring in a virtual one? The internet will never cease to change and update, trying to stay on top of it is an exercise in futility and one that will take up your whole life.