When we look around our world today we are seeing a lot of progress in a technological from. We are now able to talk to people on the other side of the world at anytime, in any place as long as we have an internet connection. We could watch a live show China while sitting in Chicago, and talking to somebody in England, while on Tweeting with somebody in South America. I have no doubt that the arrival of the technological revolution has given us more information, more access, & more possibilities than any previous generation. What I question is whether or not that is done anything to reflect or change human nature. What I’m going to focus on in this article is primarily negative aspects, and not be obviously positive things that the Internet can provide.
We are seduced on a daily basis, from multiple outlets, to log in and see what’s going on online. It used to be just a decade ago that you had to go out of your way to log in and engage with the digital world, but now the entire digital world exists in your pocket. The mere ease of access to almost anything at almost any point in time over the course of your day has amplified so many, if not all, negative human desires and dispositions. Now I can see the fabricated picture-perfect life that all of our associates, friends, and families have. The perfect make up, the perfect family, the perfect meal, and the perfect vacuous nature of a digitally enhanced reality. This newfound digital seduction has given us the ability to photoshop our lives, and for what? So we can do it again the next day for some likes, shares, and comments?
To take it one step further, now we are able to watch massive amounts of varied pornography with nearly no restriction, and watch videos of violence ad nauseum. Scrolling through my own social media accounts I see video upon video of people getting hurt, being sexually exploited, & harassed with no apparent end in site on top of the absolutely vitriolic and degrading comments that are made between people. The fact that vulgarity seems to be the standard operating procedure between people we have, as Alduous Huxley said, “developed improved means for deteriorated and rather unimproved ends.”
The truly unfortunate and depressing thing about all of this is this your banality of the whole enterprise. What are most of us doing that are connected to the Internet 24/7? If culture’s any indication then we are looking at porn, violence, and cat videos. The writer of Ecclesiastes says it best, “Vanity and vanities, vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” It seems like we are addicted to a cyclical circumvention of actual effort and mental acuity. We have become so fascinated by the digital seduction and stimulation that real life and real relationships have taken a backseat in the world. While anyone could obviously find a large amount of people who are using the digital resources for good ends, the dominant usage, it seems, is pure banality.
I would argue that in some basic sense, since we have idiotized a generation with technology and also infused it with an education philosophy of meaninglessness. The internet can provide an escape for people who don’t want to have to face the responsibilities of their life or face any significant question about their existence. If the prevailing thought that we were just a more highly evolved animal continues, which I think it will, it makes sense that we would be entertaining ourselves for the sake of pleasure for on that view, at least in relation to the logical outworking, pleasure is all there is.
The banality of the whole thing is when we get to the end of our lives, if we’ve been consumed in this digital seduction, what will we have to show for it? Will we have just used it to induce imbecility? Will we use it to proclaim vitriolic responses to our fellow humans or use it to proclaim the victory of Christ to our fellow humans? Will we use it to love and forgive or will we use it to be indifferent and resenting?
As I bring this to a close I want to say that I am absolutely convinced that GK Chesterton was right when he said, “Meaninglessness does not come from being weary of pain. Meaninglessness comes from being weary of pleasure.” We are on the verge of seducing ourselves into a life of meaninglessness, without a referential clue as to why. Alas, at least we were free.