Showing posts with label internet. Show all posts
Showing posts with label internet. Show all posts

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Mrs Egeland talks about: 21st Century Syndrome

We live in society obsessed with photo-shopped images of our favourite celebrities, with iPads, iPhones, Smart TV and Android phones which makes us available 24 hours a day, and bombarded with information, most (like this blog) trivial and some banal.

We inhabit two worlds, one online in video games, social media sites and forums and the other in the quote/unquote “real world” . In one we can make ourselves as beautiful, and intelligent as we want, in what you could almost describe as rustic roleplaying virtual reality. We can take and filter photographs until they no longer look like the real version of ourselves,  we can post these and say to ourselves that’s how we really look. We can post witty diatribes or make profound statements that we’ve stolen from some poor sap, we can quote author and great thinkers just by googling them. We can make out to be better than we are, richer, better looking and smarter than in reality. In the other we’re just exercise addicted/couch potato zombies, striving for the appearances we see in the media, and forever failing except in our other lives in our other world.

Except that the longer we spend enveloped in this virtual world the less human we become. The further we fall down the rabbit hole, the less we appreciate reality, the more we crave the fantastic, the virtual, the impossibly perfect. I live in Norway, in a country surrounded by beautiful fjords and dramatic vistas, its people spend hours and hours in around the countryside and yet you will still find them online, posting photos of themselves being sporty, wearing branded clothing to impress their fellows. I’ve heard people tell me that living in Norway made me lucky because there were more countryside to explore, but that doesn’t make Norwegians any less addicted to that other world.

Our entire infrastructure is now set up to inhabit that virtual world, there are online banks, online supermarkets and online boutiques that mean that we hardly have to leave the shelter of our virtual lives. Even when our work is outside the virtual world, we have our devices to enable us to continue to be connected to the unreal world online.

No wonder the ideal for men and women these days is to look as if we were created by a programmer with a computer. No wonder celebrities have all there photographs photo-shopped, its the only way to look as if you are about to star in a video game. No wonder there is an uproar when we see un-doctored images.

We don’t want to see reality, we don’t want to see humanity, we want a produced image. We want to live in the virtual world. We want to pretend we can achieve that in the real world.  That if you’re thin enough you will look the pictures in the magazines, or if you have plastic surgery and enhancements you can look like the virtual women online.

Except that living like this will eventually destroy humanity, because there are no laws online, there are no consequences and that breeds chaos and crime. Eventually we will lose what makes us human, because we will be all the same, carbon copies of those false but beautiful creations online. If this world survives, what will the generations to come find? What will the archeologists of the future discover buried in the earth?

Will the internet survive? If the world was hit by a cataclysmic natural disaster akin to the one that killed the dinosaurs will all our online endeavours survive? As it is the chief of Google believes that the memories we keep on our computer and in virtual space will be incompatible with the technology of the future and all the information online will go to a virtual rubbish pile.

I both despair, and contribute to the problem.

Till next time, thoughtfully,