I know this might be somewhat hypocritical, if not ironic, when I write on a cyberspace forum that we should stop spending so much time on the web. Nevertheless, let my point be made: STOP fooling around on the Internet! In fact, if these are the only three sentences that you read and they somehow compel you to get up from the couch that has been impressed from your well-invested butt and actually do something more worthy of your time, then my task in writing this entry is accomplished. If not, then more ranting from yours truly.
Internet has benefited us in so many ways. Quick information, easy access and communication, and a plethora of knowledge right at your fingertips. And I’d be the first to say that most of us, myself included, all need it to perform some of our daily tasks. But it is a little more than disconcerting when I sit and consider this: that more than half my time is spent roaming this database for some of the most frivolous of things, that wikipedia has all but made obsolete the once wondrous trip to the library, that Facebook has supplanted real, live interaction and communication with a person who is breathing and sitting right before you, and that I am sitting here blogging when there is not a single cloud in the sky outside and the sun is smiling down on the very one who hasn’t bothered to look up.
[I just took a 30 minute break in my backyard. As I was writing this, I looked out my windows and was convicted by my own words. “What in the world am I doing inside? Get out now!” I just dribbled a basketball for 30 minutes—pure, unadulterated, childlike fun. Okay, now back to my entry…]
Unfortunately, many of us have taken something that was intended merely for ancillary purposes and made it our lives. We have effectively created (or recreated) ourselves in cyberspace and invested so much into that person that we have in some ways become socially fragmented and confused (if not antisocial). Am I really what my profile—“my activities, interests, favorite quotes”—says I am? Do I feel cooler about myself because I have more than 800 “friends” on Facebook? Or do I feel less cool if I haven’t seen the latest clip on YouTube or haven’t twitted about how I should be taking a dump at this very minute? Subtly, I have replaced true life with this virtual reality in which I can make me out to be whatever I want to be. I can’t help but feel like for every little AIM chime or red Facebook bubble on the bottom corner, I might be missing out on something greater.
This argument also, perhaps even more so, goes against TV, but I won’t get into that here. I’m just simply reasoning with you to consider the greater ways of those who’ve walked before us—our parents. Most of our parents didn’t grow up on cell phones and computers, and yet they have gotten along just fine. They are more versed in philosophy, better-read, and more adept in practical skills (fixing things, cooking, etc.). Not to mention, they carry a far greater attention span than our iPod/crackberry junkies who can’t sit still in the very silence of their souls for more than a minute.
Personally, I took two days last weekend to head up to Lake Arrowhead, as it was a retreat to get away from the normal concerns of daily living. I can’t tell you what it is like to sit outside in the cool breeze of a radiant afternoon and simply take in life. To see the piercing blue water of the lake that sparkled like diamonds thrown across a giant blue canvas. To be one with the life around, trees in harmony with the birds and the snow; to see the world revolve without you and understand that you are just simply a pawn to mother nature’s queen. To be an observer of nature, and realize that it isn’t as much a matter of doing as it is of being. It is funny, but you realize a sort of paradox in this moment when you experience this sort of beauty: the most significant moments in our lives occur when they make us feel the most insignificant. In light of God’s beautiful creation, I felt very small—I almost forgot my own existence but I never felt more alive!
This isn’t a treatise for the abolition of Internet usage. What I’m saying is that there are so many things we can do that need not involve .coms or iAnythings. Let’s not lose ourselves in the insanity of this virtual world.
So it is time. Go out. Observe the trees and skies and mountains and oceans. Meet people—talk to them and really take an interest in them. Play, laugh, read, write. And stop settling for the fake.
Do not crave the substitute when you can have the real thing—life just simply won’t taste as good.