||[Nov. 2nd, 2010|05:03 am]
Silly Snippits from Sunny Leedsworth
|||||Red House Painters||]|
The internet is a weird thing. It's weird because it does things that living things do. It evolves and adapts. For instance, its culture has evolved. Things like livejournal are now flying under the radar because all a livejournal can do is share text with a group of pre-approved readers. It's like free publishing, to your own hand-picked audience. The things one person writes, he or she shares - which is a pretty old idea, it's just that the medium is digital. But now, an important part of internet culture is sharing other internet finds. The internet is so monstrous that a huge component of our interaction with it is exploring it and using its communication capabilities, the basic idea that got the internet ball rolling in the first place, to share what we've found on the internet . . . with other people on the same internet. It's its own instruction manual. You could call it a sort of internet cartography, and everyone is a volunteer.
Also, you can observe a lot about human morality on the internet. There is not only good and evil on the internet; there are different perspectives on and perceptions of good and evil as well. It makes it very human. And there are nice, neutral basics like cooking recipes and pictures of flowers. On second thought, maybe those aren't neutral. It's nice of folks to share recipes for free, and pictures of flowers are plenty alright, too.
I think I'm curious about it for a couple of reasons. For one, it's kind of a collective product of human consciousness - experiences, knowledge, follies, beliefs, and so on. What if in a hundred years or so, there exists almost no one without some individual contribution to the internet? That would be a weird way to unite the entire human population. For another, it doesn't really exist, the way life exists. I mean, the way it exists in its practical and intended form is only a matter of perception. The Internet exists in wires, hard drives, supercomputers, digital radio waves, and the lights behind monitors - or at least, the roads to access it do. But we see it, know it, experience it, and create it in a way that only really matters in light of human perception. With a book, the authorship, the physical mechanics, and the method of interaction are all present and perceivable. But websites exist on the internet, in "cyberspace," and our computers are just apparati for viewing them. It's like using a telescope to see something you couldn't see otherwise, but in that case, it's just that the something is too small to see otherwise. If you think of the computer as a telescope, then you are looking at a slide that doesn't really exist anywhere physical without the telescope. And that is weird.
And now I'm just curious, but very curious indeed, as to whether it's possible to destroy the internet. I'm not saying I want to, although it would be kind of cool, but just wondering if it is really possible for mankind to destroy the internet. I mean, I guess it's theoretically possible to destroy every single piece of code that comprises every website on the internet, but definitely not a practical possibility. But think about it: say that the entire world is somehow hit with globe-spanning electromagnetic pulse and every single piece of electronic equipment in the whole world is then useless. And then, something happens that prevents anyone from rebuilding anything electronic for the next 100 years. Say, global nuclear war or something, I don't know. Something. Anyway, during those hundred years, does cyberspace still exist? Where is it?
This is kind of boring now. But I wrote all of this so I could end on the conclusion that the internet is a monster: a frustrating and confusing monster, where language is changing at an unprecedented rate (see also: spelling is poor), and where convenience is either collapsing in on itself or trying to create a digital Tower of Babel. And all that to say that, unless it becomes a legal requirement during my lifetime, I am not going to get a twitter or a tumblr because I think they're weird, and in light of that, I hope to update on lj more often.