Or are you just an idiot who turns to the internet? The casual arrow, as always, is hard to define. Before the internet, we might have been more productive, filling our overwhelming sense of loneliness with hobbies and activities that take place in an actual physical environment. Then geniuses brought technology to the masses and now we are addicted, intuitively.
Just because something is fun and convenient though, doesn’t mean that we should exploit it without caution. The internet, as it is popularly used today, might be like sugar or carbs. If you work out a lot then you deserve to eat more of it.
Before publishing was widely available to everyone, public opinion was stifled, for better or worse. On one hand, people suffering from cyclical injustice and discrimination were without a voice. On the other hand, uneducated clowns with too many opinions also had no voice. It is a conundrum that our species has been toiling with since Gutenberg.
Why does going on the internet feel like cheaply masturbating in the daytime and filling your face with junk food immediately afterwards? Dopamine is a word that science journalists love to use because it explains everything apparently. The neurotransmitter is linked to reward circuitry, so it’s basically like built-in operant conditioning. Let’s use the analogy of a dog and a meat stick. The dog is your brain and the meat stick is dopamine. If you give a dog a meat stick every time it rolls around on the floor, it’s going to learn that rolling around on the floor is pretty awesome and it’s going to want to do it all the time.
How can we build more meaningful, constructive, and/or psychologically healthy internet experiences? Micro-blogging became popular because it was so digestible and time sensitive. Never has so much information been so readily available with such little effort. But what if we could build virtual environments that were nicer to our brains? Would we even want to part of them? It would have to be salient and sensational, just like everything good. But it would also have to have substance and elevate our experience with practical real-world events.
Because information is so readily available it would make sense that our brains would become less capable to hold information. Is a short attention span indicative of failure though? The psychological focus might be shifting toward the stuff that’s in between information.
Translating, making relationships, creativity, problem-solving… These are all things that humans could be getting better at, with the ubiquity of the internet, as it is. But what happens if the power goes out?
How would we respond to the physical environment, void of human linkages and constant communication? Would our inventiveness simply replace the old system? Maybe there are many many other ways that humans would like to communicate- whether they are aided by technology or not- but they just haven’t been explored or encountered yet.