The Philosopher and The Nerd here.
In the last couple of weeks there has been a debate in the Swedish media if we need to unplug from the Internet over the holidays or not. For me and my fellow Internet nerds this is a strange discussion and what is striking is that those who are the most vocal against being connected are almost always the ones who still talk about Internet as an either-or. They talk about “going on-line” as a different state of mind and something less real then the off-line world.
Lets add some perspectives.
There are some missing perspectives in that world view. We have to remember that Internet is just a natural evolution of our intrinsic human drive to connect and share information. This has been going on for hundred of thousands of years, from the development of language, rock cravings, the written word, books, newspapers, the phone, TV, The Internet and now the social media on the web.
It is a transcend and include process since all the previous communication mediums still exist and we continue to add new ones. Since everything is build on what were there before, the evolution curve is exponential i.e. it goes faster and faster and that is the main reason why people today are understandably worried.
If we resist ‘what-is’ and try to create a world view around how we would like it to be, we will feel uneasy since we cannot control the evolution of technology and the speed of change. This is why every new stage of evolution is met with resistance and even fear. It is also why we make broad statements like “Internet addictions”. Remember that we have heard similar things about books, Jazz & rock music, Videos, hot lines on phones etc. There is no such thing as “Internet addiction”, it would be like blaming alcoholism on all liquids, it just does not make sense. Addictions are specific and have to be looked at as such.
It is true that we are still learning how to use The Internet and social media i.e. how we can transcend and yet include it in our current reality. We are moving towards a normalization, which most will agree with (unless you work for a yet to be developed democratic political governance, e.g. the Chinese government).
The normalization does not mean we will use the Internet less. It just means that we don’t think about it and we accept it as part of our one reality. The Internet is moving towards becoming a completely integrated part of our lives and surroundings.
The Internet has moved from the stationary desktop screen to our hand held mobile devices, it will soon move into our clothes, glasses, contact lenses, earplugs and eventually into our bodies (yes I’m serious). Most technical devices will be connected to the Internet in a not to distant future.
If I look at my 9-year old daughter I can already see that she doesn’t even think about what is on-line and what is off-line. She just lives her life and Internet is a natural part of it and nothing she pays any specific attention to.
I will learn from her and today, on Christmas eve, we will play a game of Kinect together and then gather around the iMac and use Skype to talk to a part of our family in who are in Scotland. Then we will go to my parents in law for dinner.
If you know Swedish read Joakim Jardenbergs post En internetfri jul?