Don't Wake Me – I'm Online
I love the internet. Passing thoughts that would normally slide out of consciousness like a mouse-prowling feline are able to be fully explored…possibly to the detriment of humankind. Take this month’s theme: Awakenings. As I wrapped my over-taxed brain around this word, I explored the subject as any thorough, well-read, intellectual would: I Googled it. I found quite a bit of humorous jabs at the term – Brew’d Awakening Coffeehaus in Lowell, MA for one – and then more esoteric fringe movements like the “Awakenings 2012” Meetup group who either discuss the alleged Mayan Calendar Doomsday, or an upcoming re-release of the 1990 movie starring Robin Williams and Robert DeNiro. Yes, you can wake-up and face the intricate details of your life head-on, or you can escape into the Nirvana of cyberspace.
The internet has become a collective of the human mind including the dark, lint-like fuzzies that inhabit it. Whether obscene or inspired, mindful or mindless, baking or half-baked, the internet has grown into some kind of living ‘thing’. Less like an ordained being, it’s more like an amorphous blob of mostly useless and/or false information. But that’s what makes it exciting. No matter what you believe, you can now find evidence for it. In fact, countering so-called conspiracy theories, virus alerts, and exploding cell-phone stories that enter my Inbox on a daily basis has become somewhat of a past-time. As a student of how we think (yes, I like to think about thoughts – ironic isn’t it?) the internet has become an EKG of the human consciousness.
To prove this point, visit Google Trends (www.google.com/trends) and type in a search term. For this example, I typed “Tiger Woods”. Bam! A flat-line for the past five years and then a recent pique in interest for some reason. Not only a graph, it breaks down the data geographically. The USA is number one for countries searching for Tiger, but the top city is Waterloo, Canada. Why Waterloo? Who knows! That’s the mystery of the internet. Type in any topic, any celebrity, any thought and this magical graph shows you just how frightening we all are – like you needed a computer to show you that. Search “gifts” and you’ll see a spike at the end of each year. Search “Jesus” and you’ll see a general upward trend most popular in Peru. Yes, Peruvians have found Jesus on the internet.
Why is Waterloo so interested in Tiger? Why do Arabs build a half-mile high building in a desert? Who knows what the meaning of ‘is’ is? Who was the famous actor who made his debut as a bell-hop in “Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round?” What’s a VCR? It can all be found right here on the internet just a click away.
But don’t leave now! Wait! There’s more! You no longer need to worry about your family engaging in a brutal knock-down drag-out debate about which Bond movie came before the other. You can now check the internet! Concerned about that toe growing out of your belly button? Check the internet! Is Elvis alive? Check the internet (alive = 59,900 results; dead = 49,000 results – I guess he’s alive after all!)
The best part of all is you can do all of this from the comfort of your home in your jammies (or less.) The socially inept suddenly have hundreds of friends. The obese become sexy, the nerds rule, and the wackos actually develop followings – all on the internet. You don’t even need to be you. NO! On the internet, you can be somebody else. You can even be rich and beautiful like me – click on my link and I’ll show you how!
Is the internet on the cusp of a great human awakening? Possibly. But, more likely, it’s allowing more people like me to escape the difficulties of life and drift into an endless delusion that the answers are out there when, in fact, they’re a heck of a lot closer than you think…you just can’t ‘click’ on them.
Oops, gotta go…somebody’s texting.