Anti Network

The following is a text I wrote in July 2007 to a friend of mine. It sums up my thoughts on a few things. Among other things, this is most likely the longest post ever posted here:

The thing with writing emails and letters and such, the writer
always thinks the writee (the person being written to) is going to
read it shortly after it’s written, when it’s more often read hours
after it’s written, if not days, if at all.

So then, each letter itself is a Schrodinger’s Cat all of its own.
Each letter contains joy of joys or the pain of a thousand deaths. Of course, the world is a smaller place than in Schrodinger’s time. Now all we have to do is read our txts on our phone or dip into the ether that is the Internet. No, I’m not going to say the Internet is a series of tubes, because, we all know it isn’t. It’s a network of computers
set up over a vast array of interfaces all across the world… which are connected by tubes. Oh my goodness, it IS a series of tubes.

Indeed, the flow of knowledge has increased exponentially. In the old
days, letters took a long time to send over land or sea and as such, were often kept for long periods of time.

Now, we have email and cell phones, and other methods of
communications. Last year, I got a phone call from a friend in
Germany, I could hear him clear as day. Before, you were lucky if you
could call the house next to you.

If you had to send a letter to someone, people wrote, in longhand (or if you were particularly skilled, with a typewriter) for several pages detailing the life and times of their self, and others whom they know, before moving on to the current weather means for at least a page or two before you got to the meat of why you decided to put pen to paper in the first place.

And then, once the letter was written, the journey began. You had to find an envelope, then a stamp. Once that was taken care of, you peddled your car, or horse, or walked) down to the post office and sent your letter off on its trek of who knows how many miles.

Today, you don’t receive letters from people, oh sure, we send Christmas cards or birthday cards, or some other holiday cards, but, do we do this because we “have” to, or is it something more in tune with tradition? What do we receive in the mail now? Bills, advertisements, and things you’ve bought from Amazon or eBay.

Today, instead of sending a formal letter to a friend, you just jot down whatever it is you’re thinking about and shoot off an email in the fraction of a second. The written word has started to lose its value.

I once read of a US senator who figured that each method his constituents chose to contact him equaled a certain number of votes depending on how hard the method was. A phone call was 500 votes, an office visit, a thousand, a letter, 700, but, at the bottom of the list was email communications, because it was so easy to just type a sentence or two and shoot it off without thinking about it.

If you need footage of a current event or tv show, it’s on youtube or
Google or iTunes or any number of places, all uploaded by
different people. The same film clip, saved countless times in the
ethereal vacuum of the Internet. Never changing, never fading, the
perpetual storage of data which has no value outside the moment it
was created.

In the current, digitized world, trivial information is accumulating
every second, preserved in all its triteness. Never fading, always
accessible. You can go to hundreds of websites and find verbatim
transcripts of Associated Press newswire postings, press releases,
message board posts, etc, etc, and it’s all gunking up the works.

Up to a point, only information that had a cultural need to be passed
on was. I loved the days when I could go to the library and pour over
countless volumes of lost and forgotten information and dig up data
that I felt was important to me, and no one else. And I still feel a
sense off awe when I discover that I have exhausted the Internet, but have to turn to a book I discovered existed. And then, the pursuit of finding that book or CD or whatever the MacGuffin turns out to be is on and is an entirely different game.

Students all over the world, when given an assignment they need to research, more often than not, turn to Wikipedia first. The user edited encyclopedia tops more bibliographies than even the Encyclopedia Brittanica. At least once per week while checking Wikipedia for one thing or another, I’ll find errors in fact, or entire articles of erroneous or maligned information. When I come across such things, I fix them as I can.

You can’t search for one obscure piece of data in the stream of data
without running into hundreds of irrelevant pieces of data, all
because one of your keywords was mentioned in a blog post somewhere.

And of course, blogs, we’re both guilty of blogging. Thousands, if not
millions of people blog every day. Of course, it is fun posting our
daily observations and feelings for all to see, but the thing with the
Internet is, everyone’s talking, no one is listening.

One giant cacophony of voices screaming to be heard. Naturally, a few do rise above the clatter of the masses and are followed while the
rest fade to obscurity.

That’s not to say there isn’t value in blogging. To me, the main
device enshrouded in blogging is the innate human desire to leave
something behind, to pass on to the world that they existed, and this
webpage is what I’m leaving, this blog is my gift for the future, see
how I lived, what I did, what I held dear. [Note: I was not talking about Intellectual Economy in this passage, as I created this site in 2008]

Beyond that, it’s been shown that several high profile murderers have
had blogs, and when studied, they can help show what the person was thinking when they did their atrocious acts upon humanity. You can’t help but feel for them as a person. I once read one’s blog and message posts and came to the realization that in another time, I could have called that person “friend.”

This is where my 2-year-old message ends. I’d like to continue in another post, perhaps search my archives for further ancient history. My archives go back for seven or eight years.


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