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Occasionally I wandered in where I was not wanted and gave truthful answers.
Sometimes I even did it deliberately. A little disruption now can prevent disaster later.

Why the internet may suppress thought

This is a page from the third version of Technopagan Yearnings. There are some formatting differences. Originally published at www.neowayland.com/C1325529963/E20070127040625

My web surfing turns up a couple of articles. Irony abounds.

There were two articles on TCS Daily that caught my eye. Although not a "Pagan" website, every once in a while there is an intriguing piece that has implications.

In the first, the author talked about multitasking with a new cellphone. He mentioned that Marshall McLuhan wrote "The telephone demands complete participation." According to McLuhan, there are "hot" mediums and "cool" mediums. "Hot" mediums extend one of our senses while cool mediums force the receiver to fill in the blanks. The whole article is worth your time. Speaking as a film major, so are McLuhan's writings.

In the second article, another author cited the writings of Neil Postman.. Those I don't know about, but evidently, the complexity of a message crowds out rational thought. You're likely to think if you have to read something in a book without pictures and with dense text, but show the same thing on a twenty foot screen in a darkened room with surround sound and your rationality wants to shut down. Postman didn't think much of television, and thought that the internet wasn't any better than television.

And what are those implications that I was talking about? Well, I touched on the subject in my entry Eclecticism, Discipline, & Mastery. There I said that the accessibility of information could come at the cost of wisdom and context. Just because you were fast on a search engine didn't mean you could use the information, or even judge it's value.

In these terms, the world wide web translates to a cool channel for complex information so the message short circuits your discrimination. It's good as a tool in some situations, but it can't replace your humanity. It can't be your sole source of information, it has to be tempered and focused by the very things that the internet pushes aside.

And that is why groups that use the internet as their only link will fail.

It also means that when it comes to personal growth, the internet can do more harm than good. Carefully used, it can provide direction. Abused, it shuts out the inner voices you are seeking by filling the "quiet within" with random noise that your mind HAS to deal with.

I know, weird message from a technopagan who believes that the internet is one of the most amazing things ever created.

That doesn't make it any less true though.

I wonder what the implications are for things like Second Life?

Posted: Sat - January 27, 2007 at 04:29 AM

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A narrow slice of life, but now and again pondering American neopaganism, modern adult pagans & the World.

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