Farewell Humanity; It’s Been Real, But I’m Going Plastic

10 02 2012

As unique and wonderfully conscious human beings we love to play the blame game. But, who is to blame for the increasing plasticity of the ever-progressing modern world in which we live? We can no longer find solace in stoning someone who is only remotely tied to a problem. While tying Al Gore to a try and throw rocks at him might put a smile on some faces, it would not change the adaptive issues we are facing in a perpetually tech-based world. The influx of technological advances is changing the building blocks of our human nature. It’s like someone came into your house and solved that Rubix cube that you’ve had for over a decade (and never figured out). That is what the Internet is doing to our brains, or rather the human brain and technology are cohorts in this mental revolution and they’re keeping us in the dark. So, to play the blame game we hold so dear we would all have to gather ‘round and stone each other, aiming for the brain. And, while we’re at it, go Office Space on a computer or two. The frustrating thing about this change is that we never saw it coming and we can never really know what happened. All we know is that something changed.

Doctors who dedicate their lives to studying the human brain are in constant awe and have very little cement to stand on with their theories. So, for the average person, that means we don’t know shit about what goes on upstairs. If that is the case, why do we care that it is changing? Well, for starters, it affects everything we do, especially in our academic/professional careers. This is an extra special concern for those in my generation—the in-betweeners. There are pre-Internet brains, the in-betweeners, and post-Internet brains.

When the in-betweeners were kids the only person who had a cell phone was Zach Morris, and it weighed about ten pounds, the Internet was dial up and you used to pick up the phone repeatedly when you wanted your turn to go on AOL chat. Unfortunately for the in-betweeners, we have had to change in response to the Internet. It was not in common use until about high school, changing the way we read, retain information, socialize and think. This forced evolution is the reason so many in-betweeners are being diagnosed with ADHD, we just don’t have the attention spans needed for pre-Internet activities.

As for the post-Internet generation, well, they’re both blessed and damned. Most of them will never make it through reading a lengthy novel without skimming a chunk of it. But, to their advantage, their brains are much more quickly adapting to the Internet Age, as well as society is adapting to them. The way we are taught is changing; catering to the technology-based learning. This gives them a slight edge over the in-betweeners slow to adapt (like myself). By intimidation, some cling to the pre-Internet days, when “life was simple.” I admit to be quite reluctant, considering myself a slight “technophobe.” I go so far as to say that technology is simply a distraction, merely giving the illusion of connectedness, ultimately isolating us within ourselves. We create virtual representations of what we want people to see us as and are becoming increasingly judgmental because of it.

The pre-Internet generations have a wonderful ability to talk to anyone. Why is that? When our parents and our grandparents wanted to have a chat they went outside and talked to a neighbor, or called someone on the phone. There were no carefully selected mates on dating websites; you fell in love with someone “for better or worse.” You might have almost nothing in common with your friend, but you learn to appreciate them for who they are. People cared about values more than having the same top 5 favorite movies. Pre-Internet babies, although there are ALWAYS exceptions, are more patient with other people and have longer attention spans for conversation. They require less instant gratification and can enjoy the dying art of shooting the shit.

We are losing our basic people skills! How can there be community if there is not tolerance and acceptance of those who don’t fit your mold? The Internet may not be making us stupid, but it is making us judgmental and depressed.

 

 

Response to: Miserable Facebook

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4 responses

1 02 2012
Sunnyland Slim

Hi Peaz & Carrotz,

There are two things which I can relate to in your argument. I too feel like the internet is making us more judgmental of one another, what with the creation of Facebook and online personalities that allow us to quite literally stalk our friends on a day to day basis. I feel like our generation our slaves to themselves when it comes to this issue. There are only a few people I know who do not have a Facebook. As far as your definition of the “In-betweeners” goes, I identify with this. I did not get a cell-phone until I was 12 or 13, nor did I start using the internet for online networking until I was about 15 or 16 years old. When the internet was first introduced to me and other kids of our generation, I thought it then to be a place where a kid would only navigate to sites such as, Homestar Runner, Joe Cartoon, Addicting Games.com, and well for guys at least… porn. I agree with you on the terms that “Technology is simply a distraction”, however I disagree with your statement that, “This forced evolution is the reason so many in-betweeners are being diagnosed with ADHD”. I was diagnosed with A.D.H.D. when I was 5 years old. My my mom got a call from the teacher one day, “Your son is highly impulsive… He’ keeps tearing up the yellow, foam, balls into peices during recess”. I believe that A.D.H.D is something your genetically born with and for someone who doesn’t have it, they never will, internet or no internet. I believe that this is a troubling issue today in college and high-school atmosphere, what with so many students buying ADHD medication from their friends.

18 04 2012
rcgerhard

Although I’d agree that the internet, mostly social media like facebook, is making us depressed, I’m not sure it is making us more judgmental. I think most of the judgment that is happening is self-judgment (hence the depression). If anything I think we are currently less judgmental than we have been in the past. Currently I see more acceptances of things that have been taboo, and when I think of strict social molds, timeframes that emphasized a lot of face time and people skills (such as the 1950s or the Victorian age) come more to mind than today.

1 05 2012
calebbetton

YES! Facebook makes me so sad. I get sad when I see people edit their “work information” or post pictures of themselves on a nice vacation. Facebook does make me judgemental as well, even though I don’t like to admit it. I look at people’s pictures and go “Oh my ex gf is a fat bitch now” even though I would never say it in real life.

3 05 2012
Attempting Sepulchritude

I have a feeling that what we are doing is not losing our basic skills, but replacing them. Advancements come from what we can hope to achieve and what we need, not what we look towards in the past. While it is important to be wary of our surroundings, it is far more important to realize that what we pick up today may become obsolete in the future. As much as we prize the skills we have in today’s age, they are no more valuable to use than the ones we had before. Perspectively, the past may seem forgotten. But in time, our present day era will become the next archaic times, and by then, we would also be complaining that we should be retunring to this era of skill in addition to the last.

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