a very rambling and awfully incoherent saturday writing, done without the benefit of breakfast, or even lunch.
I worry, perhaps, that the Internet is getting too good at what it is trying to do, which is to say, feeding people interesting information as soon as it happens; putting them in touch with interesting people and offering zero-latency discovery, communication, and dialogue.
Why would I worry about this? Because I feel it deadening my own capacity for deeper reflection upon the world. It’s the very reason for which I do not watch television. Television is simply too effective at capturing my attention – everything in me directs me, forces me to stare at this glass box with moving pictures. I resent such animalistic string-pulling, so I don’t have a TV and don’t watch one. In the same way that the television is graphically titillating, the Internet is information-titillating.
Every single random, weird, or funny thing that happens to anybody, anywhere, all within moments of it happening; it’s infinitely entertaining, and yet, infinitely dull — I do not know these people! And the rate at which the information comes in leaves little opportunity for quiet reflection upon their import.
This is the quintessential divide between knowledge and wisdom.
There is much money to be made in knowledge transfer – people will pay good money to consume information they are interested in. But a deep understanding of how to apply these facts to everyday life, how to actually live a fulfilling and active life – that has very little profit in it, because happy people without needs don’t tend to buy as much as people who are convinced that going shopping really is a good way to relax and enjoy themselves.
The goal would then be to create ever more information that is ever more valuable to a person while at the same time, giving them so much that they have no time to digest it. “The unreflective life is not worth living,” it is said, and yet this is what we are driven towards as information gluttons.
It is in the production of knowledge that we learn most; a subject is not deeply understood until it can be taught. For every hour we sit passive, consuming, we ought spend two thinking, producing. Even if noone is to read our words, hear our music, admire our paintings, the creation of them alone and the consideration put into their conception will help us think more critically about that which we consume and, in that endless cacophany of information, will give us a voice by which we may uniquely be heard.