Living the Times in which We Do

This world around us is perhaps the greatest place we can live. Whether you choose to spend your afternoon choosing fruit and fresh vegetables from the wooden and baskety of your local marketplace, or swimming your hands in dish soap and daily chores, the very acts of our every day are what make up the entire purpose of living. Televisions and books and writers and rock stars and high school football stars all make it seem like perhaps there’s something more to strive towards, that there is a glamour in fame and a desire to have all of the fortunes and lifestyles that we can possibly muster up and hold onto in our six or seven decades. Of course, most of us can only hope to watch a movie that will give us that escape. Escape from the daily living that we should be doing anyway, and perhaps then we’d enjoy it more.

Even still, in our wonderfully future-filled science fiction modernity, we’ve discovered, patented and mass distributed as many ways to avoid both the depression we’ve convinced ourselves that everyday life is made up of as well as the actual striving to become one of those great figures of lifestyle that we wish we were. We’ve installed screens in everything possible, connected them across all of the world and replaced every aspect of our lives inside of them. Our friends, jobs, and free time, even our thoughts, are all stored up inside of our various screens, even as small as they continue to get over the years. And so we have an entirely new chance at creating ourselves; who we are, who we can make ourselves into, even as we’ve opened up a whole new door as to what we want to make ourselves into, who our new heroes and idols will be.

Not that I’m against our wonderful Internet New Reality, in any way &em; or at least not all together. The actual fact which is as indisputable as global warming or the modern day automobile is that the Internet’s information rivals the knowledge of God. Humor me the idea that God is a creation of man &em; even if God, even in the most fundamentalist, evangelical, literal Biblical translation of the sense, is real, all that we as mortal sinners know of him is what our feeble human minds can imagine; a great deal less than the actual, omnipotent being Himself would be capable of, I’m certain &em; and I think you’ll find it easier to believe that the entire human race (or at least that percentage which are connected to the Internet) share a collective at least equal to what we can imagine God to know if not more, considering all of the other deities that other cultures seem to know so certainly of as well. So with all of the knowledge that can exist doing so in one place (which now with our iPhones and WiFi, is nearly every place) and being so easily accessible at any time, we can literally have the entire world at our fingertips. So yes, of course the Internet is a valuable tool. This is the point where everyone can wonder why they’ve continued reading this far if all I was going to say was such an obvious statement as The Internet is a valuable tool.

But it’s not a single shred more valuable than a paint brush or a hammer or a simple pulley. All three of those can be used to do great things, even if their individual purposes seems simplistic and singular. A paint brush can be used for something as mundane as covering rust on a car’s bumper, or it can be used to create letters and language or the Mona Lisa. A hammer can pound a nail into a chair or chisel away David. A pulley can pull water from a well or a young child’s life from the same hole.

All the same, the Internet can be used to replace the living, the doing, the walking around neighborhoods, meeting friends for drinks or meeting new friends, or picking out fruit and washing the dishes. It can be used to understand what effects Democracy might have on a new, emerging China or what ingredient might go best in tonight’s stew. Hours can be disappeared watching dogs ride skateboards or reading what a Presidential candidate actually plans to do, or if they have even taken the time yet to plan to do anything. We live in an immediately brilliant and amazing time. It’s as if both the wheel and the car were invented in the same day, only hours apart, and now we don’t know what to do with all of this new found freedom and powerful knowledge. The question, I think, is whether or not we’ll be able to understand what we have and turn that into something good, use it for something beneficial to our own lives and the future history of our civilization, or instead watch it follow in the heels of books and the radio and television and capitalism, conglomerated, made expensive and kept mostly in the hands of a few out of touch people in a world of multiplying billions.

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