What’s Wrong With This Picture?

January 11, 2013 at 9:14 am (By Amba)

There’s something wrong with this Internet life. I can’t put my finger on it.  That’s the problem.

Living in fantasy instead of reality is our biggest problem already, why do we need to make it bigger? Now you can argue (and I’d be forced to agree with you) that there’s no such thing as reality. We each construct a subjective universe and the world is made up of these overlapping, but not interpenetrating, interpretations, perceptions . . . fantasies. So what am I talking about?

Matter is a corrective. Matter exerts a resistance, a counterforce, like wood to a carving knife or water to a ship’s keel or air under an airplane’s wings, that paradoxically enables us to get somewhere by making it more difficult. The Internet is a sensory deprivation tank.  It somehow has the exact specific gravity of a human brain, so that it cancels out the heavy, reminding tug of our bodies.  It deceives us that whatever we can imagine is not only possible, but already sufficiently existent without the salutary work and frustration that is matter’s accursed blessing.  Our minds are crumbling like the bones of astronauts who have lived too long in weightlessness.

Many people have had, and many more will have, unpleasant awakenings from this dream.

 

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46 Comments

  1. karen said,

    I tend to think so many people live in their little ruts and bury their heads in the sand to the bigger picture. My time spent here and doing my little bloggy circuit allows me to lift my head up and glimpse greater things than a cow’s back end.

    Hell, even her front end can get tiresome. I have one cow-BB- that steals my hat(an orange hunting touque)every chore if i’m not on my guard(i’m usually not:0)) and tries to swallow it whole. I snatch it out of her moo maw and put it forcefully, albeit slightly soaked w/cow drool, back onto my head w/a harsh word or two @ the startled looking thief. Always looking so surprised, she is. It’s tradition, it’s a game… why am i angry w/her?

    Speaking of which… i have to go…

  2. karen said,

    ps- the priest said the same thing about reality.
    I think that really sucks. I like truth vs perception much better.

  3. chickelit said,

    Are you saying that the Internet lacks gravitas?

  4. amba12 said,

    Karen, everyone who spends most of their time on their ass looking at the Internet should come up and put in some work on your farm. That would put things back in the right perspective. There are people who live almost their whole lives on this thing.

  5. kngfish said,

    The reason you can’t put your finger on it is that it is a false distinction. I know plenty of people who never go on the Internet at all whom I would not think of having the “right” perspective because they deal with matter. Fantasy and reality blend in our lives and are not necessarily enemies. This “real vs. unreal” talk is a Ciceronian cliche.

  6. mockturtle said,

    This is a great topic and one that will have an immense impact on what we think of as ‘civilization’. The assertion that we each live in our own subjective universe does not refute the fact that reality does exist [man is not the measure of all things]. We are being insulated and even dehumanized by our digital existence.

  7. amba12 said,

    Life is still difficult; the Internet creates the illusion that it isn’t. And that ultimately makes it far more difficult, as avoiding “reality” always does.

    The reality that we need calories to feed these brains, physical movement to make them work properly, shelter from the elements, and 3-dimensional sensory and social stimulation.

    We have not begun to solve the problem of how to provide the calories. All those people, full of hope, sending out identical tweets about their social media optimization coaching — they are going to end up bagging groceries.

  8. amba12 said,

    chickelit, LOL. I wrote a comment to you but it got lost. I basically said there’s plenty of gravitas to be found, like dust balls, in the corners of the Internet. It’s gravity—literally—that’s lacking. That reminded me to revise the post and put in the part about astronauts, which I had intended and then forgotten.

  9. kngfish said,

    I’ve never thought for a second that the Internet creates the illusion that life is not difficult. Why do you think that? (he said with a dog head tilt indicating “curious” not “accusatory”)

    There’s this odd moral invective against Internet I find unsettling because of these kinds of assumptions.

    When the Greeks first started writing, the older generation didn’t think written documents were “real” compared to a messenger who would tell you things. If the messenger was lying, well, you could always beat him up or kill him! How can you do anything with a piece of paper? Is “writing” the “internet” in this story?

    The resolution of our physical and mental worlds isn’t as tightly bound as it used to be.

  10. chickelit said,

    Well, they don’t call the Internet “the ether” for nothing! :)

  11. chickelit said,

    The resolution of our physical and mental worlds isn’t as tightly bound as it used to be.

    It is more precarious than ever. We hardly stop to think how tenuous it really is.

  12. amba12 said,

    I know people the Internet has seriously harmed, at least short-term. The ways it has enriched them may be lost except as anonymous contributions to the virtual mulch in the form of little influences on other people that are assimilated without attribution. But what the hell, maybe that’s what we live for now—being the butterfly that starts the hurricane. Freely pissing our intellectual property into the evolving collective genome.

  13. kngfish said,

    The “real world” has more seriously harmed me for far longer (and not enriched me either) than the Internet ever has. And well before the Internet as well.

  14. wj said,

    The Internet is a tool. For some, who are either largely house bound (remember?) or otherwise largely isolated from the rest of the world, it can be a Godsend. For others, who get addicted (if that is not too strong a word) to it, it can be a serious problem. But the problem is not the tool but how it is being used.

    Also, the Internet suffers from being relatively new. Not too surprising that it is taking people a while to figure out what it is really good for, and how to use its positive features while largely avoiding the downsides.

  15. karen said,

    Better watch it, wj- sounds a lot like the gun conversation their having in Washington. If we’re not careful and cannot behave- the gov’t will decide what is best for us(she says, as her tongue pokes joking into her right cheek).

    As for help on the farm– we’d love it. We’ve been having such a shitty week- sick heifers everywhere, but luckily all have responded to the organic forms of treatment. It’s pneumonia- probably viral, but to support and boost the immune system and lower fever is key. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday all saw lengthy visits from our vet. When the bill comes due– ouch.

    My husband had to put a repeat offender down. It was either that or nature, and nature- as far as animals are concerned(as far as i am concerned)- is not a necessary avenue when the end is obvious.

    Besides- if not for this habit of mine- typing into this breathing journal- i would not have you, amba– or Randy:0)- or had so many of these thought provoking ~conversations~ w/all of y’all.

    Ron, my littlest is praying and asking how you are. So, hang in there for her:0). God is good- even through all the crap.

  16. chickelit said,

    The “real world” has more seriously harmed me for far longer (and not enriched me either) than the Internet ever has. And well before the Internet as well.

    Enrichment is a funny word to use in this context. I have felt profoundly enriched via the Internet but not at all in monetary way — though I never so much as even asked it to do so. The real world hasn’t exactly enriched me, but it pays the bills.

  17. wj said,

    Ah, but Karen, don’t you think that we really ought to distinguish between those things which have the potential to harm others (gun, cars, etc.) and those with which we only potentially harm ourselves (drugs, the Internet, etc.)? ;-)

  18. karen said,

    My oldest daughter has a photo on her facebk=
    2 people e/holding signs, side by side…
    A)Gun dealers are accomplices to murder
    B)spoons made me fat

    I know your winkywinky, but internet use can really harm others- VT has a high % of child pron(using Ace’s incorrect spelling to avoid pervs)via internet or computer compilation.

  19. chickelit said,

    Here’s an old tweet from Amba12 which I favorited: link.

    I’ve weaned myself from Twitter too — it no longer has the shine it used to have.

  20. LouiseM said,

    have one cow-BB- that steals my hat (an orange hunting touque) every chore if i’m not on my guard(i’m usually not:0)) and tries to swallow it whole. I snatch it out of her moo maw and put it forcefully, albeit slightly soaked w/cow drool, back onto my head w/a harsh word or two @ the startled looking thief. Always looking so surprised, she is It’s tradition, it’s a game… why am i angry w/her?

    Would the cow continue to eat the hat if it wasn’t taken back?
    Would what appears to be a game turn into a hatless reality if it were allowed to continue?
    Would allowing the cow to swallow the hat whole be healthy for her or beneficial for either one of you?

    As a game, the actions appear to be grounded in curiosity and need, with attention, recognition and winning (who’s Alpha, what’s the pecking order) as components.

    As a lived reality involving the matter of hats, digestive systems, cold ears/head and vet bills, physical consequences are part of the outcome.

    While the internet allows for physical distance and the apparent separation of mind from matter, and mind matters from physically experienced consequences (other than the possibility of a felt emotional response), the human doing the writing and prompting the electronic signals, is still one being, a combination of mind, spirit or soul (or at the very least a complex brain) functioning in a supportive body. As such, integrity matters.

    The word “integrity” stems from the Latin adjective integer (whole, complete)

  21. karen said,

    Truth being- if not the hat, then the hair(is in jeopardy.)
    It has happened that certain nosy girls will pull my ponytail practically off’n my head. I’m not a good mulit-tasker and i get absorbed in one thiing and another suffers(heh-like the internet use vs housework!)

    “Would the cow continue to eat the hat if it wasn’t taken back?
    Would what appears to be a game turn into a hatless reality if it were allowed to continue?
    Would allowing the cow to swallow the hat whole be healthy for her or beneficial for either one of you?”

    Yes.
    Yes(i’ve never let her continue beyond- but, most girls drop the hat.)
    No.

    Cows seem to touch-their tongues naughty little fingers. Always pulling, tugging and trying to swallow or bite- yes, cows bite and it hurts. They do have much to peck at in the pecking order and garnering attention from a two-legged scratching post is a treat.

    As beautiful as they are- they are upwards to 1500#(plus- Jaclyn is almost a ton- overlong in milk(took a long time to get her back w/calf) and a big-boned gal) and unpredictable as all get out.

    “The word “integrity” stems from the Latin adjective integer (whole, complete)”………….. which is what this blog has always made me feel, but for those who foot the bill and orchestrate the inner workings- it feels more like work. Speaking of which……. a cow looking for an orange touque is waiting to pounce:0)……..

  22. amba12 said,

    Karen, I’ve said this before but you are so welcome to POST on this blog. I would love that. Want to just try it?

  23. karen said,

    :0)– i might give it a try.
    Thank you.
    Just, let me ruminate on it a tad-lol.

  24. chickelit said,

    @karen: you can tell us everything you “herd through the bovine”

  25. A said,

    I spend way, way too much time on my ass at the computer with my addictive tendencies running amok. I’d like to blame being a very homebound caregiver, but that’s only part of it. Karen, I don’t know if this works with cows, but a horse stopped nibbling at my hat after I put a dab of peppermint oil (Dr Bronner’s soap, actually, which also seems to repel the yellow jackets who like to build nests under the eaves) on the brim….

  26. amba12 said,

    I would adore it if this blog became a place to exchange practical tips of that kind. Now there’s a worthy use of the Internet.

  27. realpc920 said,

    Since they started printing books, there were people who liked reading alone better than socializing.

    Before newspapers, everyone got the news through conversations (gossip). You could not be informed without social contact.

    Then there was radio and TV, and more and more channels. Americans started spending more time alone with their TV.

    The internet is the same kind of thing. Books, newspapers, TV, and internet, all can be valuable sources of information, and they can also prevent natural healthy social interaction.

    It isn’t specifically the internet, just the evolution of technology in general. It deprives us of some of the best things in life. People are dazzled by the benefits of technology and don’t usually notice how it has damaged us.

    The most obvious and unfortunate thing, to me, is the fact that walking is hardly necessary anymore, for many or most Americans. Because it isn’t necessary, they don’t do it, even though nothing is worse for your health than a lack of aerobic exercise. And walking is the best and easiest and most natural form of aerobic exercise.

    Technology has also made it unnecessary for people to learn how to play a musical instrument. One of the best things in life is getting together with friends and playing and singing — but most Americans don’t bother since they can just turn on their entertainment systems.

    So conversations are no longer needed, walking isn’t needed, creating your own music isn’t needed.

    I do all those things anyway. I don’t have a TV and I don’t spend a lot of time online. I have to make time every day for walking and talking and playing music — things that used to be a natural part of life now have to be planned consciously, or they won’t be done.

  28. Icepick said,

    I would adore it if this blog became a place to exchange practical tips of that kind. Now there’s a worthy use of the Internet.

    Here’s one: When making spaghetti sauce there’s never enough oregano. Always add more every time by the pot. I’m thinking of making a sauce one day by starting with a pound or two of oregano in the pan and just adding the other ingredients as needed.

  29. Icepick said,

    I know people the Internet has seriously harmed, at least short-term. The ways it has enriched them may be lost except as anonymous contributions to the virtual mulch in the form of little influences on other people that are assimilated without attribution. … Freely pissing our intellectual property into the evolving collective genome.

    I would love to hear the examples of which you speak, but that probably needs to remain private.

  30. kngfish said,

    Karen, please tell your littlest one I am grateful for her prayers and her concern. I am grateful for what love and support I can get.

  31. kngfish said,

    I used to make tomato sauce in large batches over several days of very slow cooking. Bay leaves work wonders about taking the “acidity” taste away.

  32. chickelit said,

    I intend to grow bounteous crops of tomatoes this year, conditions willing. We’ve had cool summers out here in recent years and neighbor’s tomatoes crops haven’t fared too well as a result.

    Years ago, I had a recipe for making homemade sauce but I’ve lost the specifics and only remember cooking the tomatoes down for hours and and hours along with onions, basil and thyme. About an hour before serving, I cooked some rosemary in butter and then mixed the two. When I try this again I may have to experiment. The original came from a small village in the Piemontese region of Italy.

    I would appreciate anyone’s own “from scratch” tomato sauce recipes.

  33. amba12 said,

    Rosemary in butter . . . oohhh.

  34. chickelit said,

    Matter is a corrective. Matter exerts a resistance, a counterforce, like wood to a carving knife or water to a ship’s keel or air under an airplane’s wings, that paradoxically enables us to get somewhere by making it more difficult.

    OK, this is way off-topic and perhaps I should write it as another “inspired-by-Amba” blogpost, but I had to mention two connections this triggered for me. The first was the old-fashioned way that nations used to settled trade imbalances: there might be trade exchanges in one direction: goods or services for example. At the end of the day, there would be a reckoning and something like gold would flow in the other direction. In this way gold, having gravitas, kept thing grounded.

    The second was the way chemical reactions occur. Chemistry is valence electrons exchanging and rearranging. The nuclei hardly change at all (unless we’re talking nuclear chemistry). Anyways, electrons, being flighty and fleet, are forever waiting around for the heavier nuclei to get into the right configurations for exchange. When the laggard atoms finally are…zip…the electrons are already there like magic.

  35. mockturtle said,

    Matter matters.

  36. chickelit said,

    Tellus mater, Mutter muttered

  37. wj said,

    The most important practical discovery for me in the last decade: how to really get rid, really get rid, of skunk smell. (We get them under the deck near the house occasionally. But when one dies under the house, it takes the smell to a whole new level!)

    All the stuff you hear about (tomato juice, etc.) are really just masking the smell with some other smell. When they even do anything at all. But we eventually discovered Slusher’s Odor Kill and Stain Remover (now sold as ATX Odor Kill). It’s got enzymes that actually break down the smell molecules. You can put a little in the wash, and get the smell out of your clothes. You can even spray it on the furniture, rugs, luggage, sleeping bags, etc. and get the smell out of them.

    The last time we got skunked bad, the house was uninhabitable for most of a month. Until we came thru and sprayed it everywhere. (Well, that and got the dead skunk out from under the house, of course.) If you live where skunks are part of your environment, check it out.

  38. wj said,

    P.S. Did I mention that you can also wash your hair (or your pets) with it? Water based are really is that safe to use.

  39. chickelit said,

    OK, WP seems to eat my comments now without posting them. Sorry if they show up as duplicates.

  40. amba12 said,

    Anyways, electrons, being flighty and fleet, are forever waiting around for the heavier nuclei to get into the right configurations for exchange. When the laggard atoms finally are…zip…the electrons are already there like magic.

    That is totally what it’s like to write, or perhaps to create in any medium. You have to do the heavy, lumbering work of getting yourself properly aligned, then–inspiration is there.

  41. amba12 said,

    Re: skunks: I’ve never seen one in NYC (though I bet they live in Central Park). But I used to park my car in a rented little garage behind a house in New Jersey, and I didn’t use it very often. One day I came to get the car and saw a big skunk come out from under the garage wall and scuttle away. I only saw her once, but I saw her babies’ little footprints all over the windshield and body of the car. They’d been playing chase over it.

  42. kngfish said,

    i stepped on a baby skunk in the dark not seeing it run underfoot! It went “ack” like a puking cat, and I thought it would spray me, but it just gave me dirty look (when the moon can from behind a cloud) and waddled off….

  43. karen said,

    I raised a baby skunk before– really. I found it in the driveway in front of the garage. She(or he- i named it Ruby)was a tiny little thing that fit in the palm of my hand and looked like a baby squirrel, really. Eyes closed and the cutest little feet in the world- i think they were pink- but, i can’t remember.

    Skunks are illegal to raise in VT. I’d heard of removing the smelly gland, but never wanted to get that far- i turned myself in to the game warden and got an ass chewing because i picked the poor thing up- i should have called him, instead. Yeah, like that would have been a good thing.

    Anyway- i was very pregnant at the time, we were getting our herd(50cows) and the timing wasn’t exactly perfect, but i fed Ruby w/a little bottle special for kittens and such and my husband took her to the swamp when we decided we couldn’t keep her any longer(my son accidentally caught her in a closing door and she sprayed a little, but it didn’t last). That was hard- she was all alone and she cried when he left her. It didn’t make him feel so good, either.

    The kids dressed her in a little dress- and painted her toenails purple. i wish i had a pic of that, but the only pic was of her on the floor- a friend took it for us. She could find grubs on her own, so i hope she did ok.

  44. dustbury.com » Floating in the dark said,

    [...] Welcome to the unreality-based community: [...]

  45. mockturtle said,

    This thread is probably as dead as a brand-X battery but there is something that came to mind this morning: The tail is wagging the dog! Technology used to be the convenient tool that made our work easier but that was just a ruse to sucker us in! Today, technology controls our lives. When physicians are retiring early because they hate electronic medical records [one told me yesterday that he enjoyed his practice when he could actually face the patient in his office instead of his laptop] or when nurses are recruited based more on their knowledge of MS Office, Excel, etc. rather than on their skills, education and experience, something is amiss. Even our new all-volunteer free clinic is under this onerous burden and it’s a real PITA for everyone concerned.

    We no longer get bills in the mail or bank statements [if we choose to, we are charged for it]. I can only imagine the impact that a major system failure or widespread hacking would bring.

    Thanks for letting me rant. I feel better now! :-)

  46. amba12 said,

    It amuses but really concerns me how lost many young people would be if the grid went down. Along with all the panic and inconvenience, some of us older folks might be secretly relieved.

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