Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

I had a conversation on the phone with my grandmother last night, and found myself thinking out loud about something sort of interesting. I'm going to take a ridiculous position here and try to explain it. I think the emergence of the Internet and other technologies that are making media easier to consume is going to kill society. It's too easy to get distracted. There are dozens of channels on TV; the Internet makes it too easy to find virtually unlimited things to read or watch or listen to. Stimulation and occupation are too easy to access, and it requires no thought to keep oneself entertained. So, first of all, people are losing activity diversity. Everyone's activities are the same (I am grossly generalizing here, I know) -- we watch TV, we go to the movies, we listen to music, we surf the Internet. No one growing up collects anything anymore -- stamps, coins, postcards. No one learns stuff like how to sew, how to cook, how to garden, how to build their own simple electronic devices. :) (I'm not sure this is true. This is my impression of the world. I would love to find data on, say, sales of chemistry sets and e-z-bake ovens since the Internet emerged, because I may very well be wrong. I'm just guessing. And part of what may be coloring my thought process is because my generation grew up with the development of this media, and so as we got older and grew out of doing things we would probably have grown out of doing anyway, the Internet was there to replace them -- my assumption that the Internet, or video games, or cable TV are taking hold with children much younger today is only an assumption, and I may be completely wrong.) Video games are a problem too. Getting stimlation is too easy. And what it's leading to is that people don't have time to think. Just think, with the TV off and the computer off, and quiet in the room. I am imagining people in previous generations did have more time to think; again, I may be wrong, because maybe technology has made so many things we have to do -- cook, clean, etc -- so much easier and faster that people actually have much more time to think than before and even if they fill a lot of that time up with reruns of Fear Factor, they still have lots of thinking time left. If people aren't taking time to think, they're missing something. I don't take enough time to think, because it's easier to do a Google search. But thinking is useful, when I do take the time to think. If people don't think, my assumption is that fewer things will be invented. There will be fewer new ideas. Society will stagnate, because everyone is too occupied with consuming the mass media and the Internet. And without a continuous stream of new invention, it will kill society. Thus, my argument: the emergence of the Internet and other technologies that are making media easier to consume is going to kill society. I probably make no sense. But I just wanted to throw the thought out there. On the Internet. Before it kills society. I realize I don't make sense sometimes.