The emergence of the Internet spawned a quiet yet free radical riotous transformation affecting a societal and human species paradigm seismic shift that garnered the title "Cyber Revolution"!
This (bit a ping - byte a chitty bang) manifestation toward exponentially faster processing capacities (based on the principles of Moore's Law), engendered greater dependence and reliance on ever more complex electronic contrivances (ushering in the so call Hal marks of the Computer/Digital Age odyssey), especially affected the previous modes people used to mediate communication!
As with any major dramatically novel schema (first originating as a flash in the pan aha light bulb idea, second being scribbled on some scrap of paper as some rough blue print and third getting beta test marketed), this advent of powerful binary processing impacted near earth shaking innovations and ramifications in all walks and talks of life!
Luddites be damned! Thus spake Zarathustra (cue the opening scene from Planet of the Ape) upon witnessing the immediate and increasingly positive effects on society, especially with the integrated circuitry miniaturization (and attendant affordability) from said technological trappings unleashed upon global market place for a greater proportion of the population to purchase!
Unbeknownst to the (so called) blithely happy go lucky "end users" of these smart machines (which purportedly saved a stitch in time from routine tasks), the sound of silence (written on the subway walls) presented unforeseen deleterious detriments!
Oh without a shadow of a doubt though (just ask Punxsutawney Phil), the Internet ranks as the greatest god-sent heavenly manna since the introductions of white bread and powdered milk biscuits!
This invisible medium (premised on the fairly simple concept of ones and zeros constituting the presence or absence or an electric charge) now allows, enables and facilitates anyone anywhere (with access to the world – soon to be cosmic wide web), a near inexhaustible advantage of accessing whole new expansive databases in nanoseconds!
Emoticons, ideas, thoughts, et cetera can be communicated (at well nigh the speed of light) with diverse persons far across the opposites ends of our ever shrinking globe (soon the farthest reaches of thine cosmos) at the press of a key, and also generate virtually instantaneous (plus simultaneous) written, visual and virtual connections with alienated old and potentially new kindred friends!
In addition, computer mediated communication has paved homo sapiens yellow brick road interactions with this ion charged edifice, which surreal late twentieth century fin de siècle infra-structure (known as the information superhighway and supposedly invented by Albert Gore - he of the Inconvenient Truth fame) presents countless opportunities to explore most any topic under the sun!
Today more informed and educated members of societies (covering all four corners of this ever crowded planet earth) can easily attend a virtual college (of her/his choice - from the comfort of home attired in formal wear or simply wearing their birthday suit) while simultaneously maintaining a family, creating new avenues upon which business can function and expand, revolutionize the collection and searching of governmental and tap into (literally) historical records of all types!
However, the luxury of being voluntarily tethered with trillions of terabytes per tremendous epistemological tombs obviously gives the modus operandi synthetic charade, facade, mockery, sham, travesty (ala like a Potemkin village) of being connected with other disembodied beings seeking to latch onto an elusive zeitgeist!
This apparition or falsetto of actuality also has the down (load) side and less stellar effect of fueling a culture of instant gratification, a decrease in actual substantial interpersonal involvement, and what I believe affects us naked apes to be hosts and servers playing a deadly dehumanizing game or mortal kombat!
So...rather than fostering an effulgent frisson of the body, mind and spirit triage, we capitalistic creatures craving newest wired wonderment (as sensate beings) inexorably become more detached and estranged from each other and society in general!
It is only by the comparison of the positives and negatives of the "Cyber Revolution" that we can better appreciate living in a high tech society while understanding the irony of how it makes us increasingly detached from each other.
Nowadays the typical (and predictable) manifestation of dialogue among humankind witnesses nearly every Tom, Dick and Harry emailing or sexting (Tam, Donna and Hailey) while in line at the grocery store or taking the dog for exercise.
In the not to distant future do not be surprised to take stock of four footed furry house pets (such as canis familiaris or felix domesticus) being similarly adorned with these same contraptions (as simians) sans jiving to some snoop doggy dog drooling bark a roll or puss in da ole cat claws kitty litter boots band!
Occasionally, I stop to ponder what this, that or another person happens to be talking about and how many unusual ways people use high tech cyber devices to multitask.
In my humble opinion, the majority of us have become acclimated, accustomed, adumbrated, anesthetized, deified, electrified, fortified, gratified, horrified, lobotomized, terrorized, la de da to the dependence of being wired (from head to toe), encumbrances bogging down an ability to experience connected with the physical world!
A further love affair with gadgets posits (from me) that we neglectfully, shamefully, and tragically fail to realize how this makes us more unaware of our natural surroundings!
For example, when one has a hobby, such as gardening, you can easily access a web site that will connect you to a link where you can exchange tips with other gardeners and develop virtual relationships and share experiences. In addition, an increase ability to petal flower power.
The site is not intended to promote offline relations. However, as we develop our online relationships we begin to establish a personal connection that cannot be compared to our actual social contacts.
This can be attributed to the fact that there is some contentment in knowing that one can more easily present herself in a more flattering, less realistic and fact based manner.
We do not necessarily carry the burden of having to worry about how we physically appear to the world.
Indeed, it is simple for any technically literate (or savvy) person to use a program such as Photo Shop to manipulate electronically their image to, for instance, erase some facial wrinkles, tighten up a chin, add Angelina lips or erase that troublesome cellulite.
However, one must question whether such facile ease and small electronic based deceits possibly corrupt of our sense of interpersonal honesty! Also, the derelict digital domain creates a simulacrum of L'Chiam!
Now more than ever, a couple of immediate queries beg to be asked of me to the unsuspecting reader!
Are such commercially pervasive software applications under girding the innate artistic penchant latent within the natural born artist? In addition (this introspective individual begs to ask) if impersonal electronic data packet facilitated lies thus permeate our cyber and non-cyber society?
Other nattering nabobs of nativity (who may not necessarily reside in Narberth) could easily bolster and substantiate this acute sense how each mortal easily being becomes alienated and atomized with logarithmic hours spent hunched over the trappings of virtual reality!
Although well nigh over a dozen plus years whence stand alone computing machines got linked together prefacing the fledgling assemblage of the World Wide Web!
Futurists of bygone centuries did prognosticate premised science fiction scenario themes decades earlier that foretold that upon the promulgation of networks of high powered processors that would foster disenfranchisement from oneself and also develop healthy alliances with fellow members of the human race to attain mental, physical or spiritual intimacy!
As one who can play the devil's advocate, I can attest that said diabolical and sinister nature of cyberspace (albeit in a rather subtle mode) compromises human empathy, harmony and sympathy (vis a vis uncoupling endearing fidelity) untrammeled by any vicissitudes of life!
I (a rather disheartened, humble, literate, and somewhat discontent married Caucasian male of two score plus a dozen years) can vouch safe that ease of online "cheating" available at fingertips, and (if nimble enough) toes as well!
Any number of personal classified advertisements populate the electronic arena, which temptations quite irresistible to one whose marital circumstance fraught with regular disappointment (lack of sexual interaction one factor), and the near effortless ability to let these hands glide across the qwerty arranged keyboard give free rein to letting loose libidinal longings of the loin!
Conclusion: SOME ADDITIONAL RHETORICAL QUESTIONS TO PONDER WEIGHING THE MERITS AND DEFICITS OF THE ETHER NET:
1. Can or will anyone take the time to compose a thoughtful exposition or even a loving message in an email or blackberry or cell phone, or will we be stuck with ": -)" or "XO XO"?
2. Do the online behavioral parameters (i.e. so called Netiquette nostrums) disallow, dissuade and disparage fellow beings to abandon the prescribed offline parameters of decency, integrity, magnanimity, et cetera ascribed to a person interacting with another (or group of people) in a real social milieu?
3. Has email caused the premature death of elegance undermined that je ne sais quoi subtle wit in letters and writing or has it enhanced it?
4. I wonder if our mad dash speed of light rush for instant communication caused our sense of romance and personal connection to wither on the vine?
5. Whence and where pray tell did thine art of the scribe disappear?
6. Might there be eco-friendly solutions to removing oil stains from a carpet?