The more I think about the internet, the more I’m convinced the main function it fulfills is catharsis. People play millions of games on the internet so as to taste victory (catharsis in accomplishment) and to keep from being bored (catharsis in preoccupation). People get on the internet to look at pornographic materials (catharsis in sexual release). People use the internet as a soapbox to shout their opinions (catharsis in argumentation, debate, verbal war). People use it to connect with other people (catharsis in convincing ourselves we’re not alone). People use it to share photos or news with family (catharsis in relief over actually having something to share—a.k.a., convincing ourselves we live lives of significance). People use it to strike business deals (again, catharsis in accomplishment). It’s not that this is the only thing the internet offers, and it’s not that life outside of the internet doesn’t also contain catharsis in certain areas, but it’s almost as if that’s the majority of what the internet provides, or at least, tries to provide.
And yet, none of it’s real.
We can talk all we want about the connective, outward, ripple-effect manifestations percolating because of the internet, but I’m not so sure there’s much truth to that. You may have been video chatting with your girlfriend, and it may have been like she was right there, but after the screen goes black you’ve eliminated her. She’s nowhere. Was she really even there in the first place? Tactilely and organically, no . . . she wasn’t. Were you there for her on her end? Doubtful. At the end of your web-surfing time and after you log out, it’s still just you sitting in front of a plastic box with a glass eye reflecting only your own face when the screen goes black.
This is why I do not live with internet. And I love it.