Future Trends philosophy society

Internet Benefits People Asymmetrically

I saw a great article at Return of Kings a little while ago about how the internet is the “great equalizer.”  This is true insofar as internet is the next printing press.  It’s true like all revolutions in communication that it raises all boats, but as always, some more than others.  Every change in a given environment favors species in some niches over others.
Let’s face it, most internet users stay obediently on the designated pasture of facebook, social media, and its attendant shared games.  Those who are able to explore further are affected very differently.
The constant flow of information can give someone a trans-human sort of consciousness or riddle their mind with irrelevant details and outright falsehoods.
In real life and on the internet, I see many people who still don’t get it.  They complain about how the online world has degraded the quality of content and has enabled short attention spans.  That speaks more to the content they choose to interact with than what is actually available.  Someone with a naturally critical mind and inquisitive nature can tear through a hundred different sources, taking note of the bias of each and arrive at a synthesis.  Those who thrive on the internet understand every piece of information has strengths, weaknesses, and biases.  There is no holy gospel or answer to everything.  Those who deal in nuance do well.  Those who can’t handle it end up indignant and frustrated waxing eloquent about the good old days when a few printing presses in New York controlled the entire flow of the written word.  Or they end up in an echo chamber where everyone tells them what they want to hear—but that’s no different than what most people already do in real life.
For anyone willing to learn the internet has made almost any field of knowledge accessible at any time.  Outliers intuitively understand this means a potential path around the usual gatekeepers who weed them out and make would-be-apprentices grovel for their secrets.  Hands on instruction guided by experienced teachers remains important for mastery, but is no longer necessary to get an introduction and crack open the realms of theory.  The more autonomous the individual the greater the benefit derived.

Those who swim in the ocean of information like a natural habitat become a new aristocracy as they wield disproportionate influence over cultural ideas and public opinion.  Anymore the next trend in politics, art, or culture begins far out at sea as a ripple until finally it hits the teeming coral reefs that hug the shoreline as a towering wave.
As time goes on, those who can’t survive outside the safe coral reefs of facebook and instagram get left further and further behind getting liked by all their “friends” while those on the outer rim create the discourse and therefore weave the very fabric of their social reality.  For herdlings, social opinion and consensus are truest reality and a fist to the face, bitter cold wind, fatigue after hard labor, or even the piercing pangs of hunger or the need to breathe are but flimsy dreams compared.

By Giovanni Dannato

In 1547 I was burnt at the stake in Rome for my pernicious pamphlet proclaiming that the heavens were not filled with a profusion of aether, but rather an extensive vacuum.
Now, the phlogiston that composed my being has re-manifested centuries in the future so that I may continue the task that was inconveniently disrupted so long ago.
Now, I live in Rome on the very street where I (and others) were publicly burnt. To this day, the street is known as what I would translate as 'Heretic's Way'. My charming residence is number 6 on this old road. Please, do come inside and pay me a visit; I should be delighted to spew out endless pedagoguery to one and all...

2 replies on “Internet Benefits People Asymmetrically”

The internet is greatest thing ever created by Mankind. I used to treat the University library like the internet. I would lookup all kinds of stuff that interest me in the electronic catalog and then write down journal articles and books that interested me. Also would look at the Library of Congress subject catalog numbers and just browse the lib. stacks at that location. Found a lot of super interesting books that way. One author was on your side bar, “The pursuit of power: Technology, armed force, and society since A.D. 1000″by William H McNeill. That led to “Plagues and Peoples”. You really should read “The pursuit of power” it’s very good. It’s primarily based on how technology shapes power.

I think that even though a lot of people will spend most of their time reading the state of Kardasians butt with all the info available some serious stuff will sink in. My Mom gets all this info from facebook but it does cover some of the corruption that before no one would ever hear about before because the press would cover it up. It’s really kind of like disaster porn or how dare they be corrupt like this but it is more reality based than the news of the past. They say people are dumber but I’m not sure it’s the whole truth. They might not know a lot of what was considered important civics questions but they might know a lot more about the State of the planet than the old days. They would also see stress points sooner. The multitude of conflicting viewpoints instead of just confusing them will blatantly push them to understand, as you said, that you have to discriminate between sources. I read a lot and I can’t say what’s really going on all the time due to propaganda. They push many lies but I do have some idea. Better than if I was just reading newspapers.

You’ve got that asptarded core required for a certain kind of thinking.
As a kid I collected field guides and memorized them, practically had kiddie orgasms every time I got a new packet of wild life fact files in the mail. Loved memorizing statistics on baseball cards until I was disillusioned by the 1994 strike. Even as a 7-8 year old I suddenly realized the guys on the cards were just Joe Blow blowhards looking for more bucks, just like all the other grownups. Ditched sports cards for good when I ran into magic cards and memorized those. Same thing with collecting bottle caps I found on the ground and business cards my parents no longer needed. Loved all the different designs.
It was indiscriminate play in childhood but as I grew, pieces of my brain clicked into place and I started using the penchant for processing information to looking for patterns and sorting out the relevant details from the noise. Seems like some aspie types “grow up” and some don’t.

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