On Resisting the Internet

Columnist Ross Douthat has been taking a different approach to the looming Apocalypse by attempting to rethink old problems and come up with some outside-the-box ideas.

Thinking! Ideas! Sounds to me like a prescription for more noise, another voice talking past the other voices. I suspect that new theory will arise from new praxis, which is the fuzzy logic at the heart of this blog.

Douthat does however have one good idea: Resist the Internet:

But there are also excellent reasons to think that online life breeds narcissism, alienation and depression, that it’s an opiate for the lower classes and an insanity-inducing influence on the politically-engaged, and that it takes more than it gives from creativity and deep thought. Meanwhile the age of the internet has been, thus far, an era of bubbles, stagnation and democratic decay — hardly a golden age whose customs must be left inviolate.

So a digital temperance movement would start by resisting the wiring of everything, and seek to create more spaces in which internet use is illegal, discouraged or taboo… 

Get computers — all of them — out of elementary schools, where there is no good evidence that they improve learning. Let kids learn from books for years before they’re asked to go online for research; let them play in the real before they’re enveloped by the virtual.

Two years ago I ditched TV and internet in my home and opted out of my data plan on my cellphone, and my life improved: I spent more time outdoors, more time in libraries and galleries, and more time reading books. Unfortunately, as a part time grad-student, I found it difficult to do my schoolwork and had to hook up to internet again back in September. My life is a little poorer as a result: it is just too easy to kill time with YouTube and too hard to do something useful.

But as I never get sick of telling you the world as we know it is coming to an end. This internet thing does not have to be your boss, it can be your servant.

Be the boss. Reject the noise. Read this blog if it helps you, if not ignore it!


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