CLICKING TO UTOPIA
Peter Aspden has a provocative piece about the consciousness-changing aspects of the internet at the Financial Times today. Whereas many who discuss this issue come off as techno-Luddites, Aspden seems to both welcome and slightly fear the inevitable future. There’s a bit of Cronenberg’s “Long Live the New Flesh” here.
The hyperlink syndrome, the way our minds copy the workings of the internet and flit sharply from one idea to another, means that we have become addicted to the breadth of everything rather than the depth of something. The contemporary mind needs to be elastic and happy to forage in alien fields. We are yanked out of our comfort zones and must appear happy at the prospect. The methodical toiler who moves from beginning, to middle, to end is regarded as a dullard.
At times, it all appears too chaotic. But here is a comforting fact: it is not a competition. You can’t move faster than the internet. Scientists may insist that the circuits inside our heads are still superior to anything produced by machines, but it just doesn’t seem that way. The screen in the corner of your room is like your pet Alsatian: it is awesome, wild and potentially out of control; it just needs to be tamed.