I find the Internet makes me forget things

It never ceases to amaze me.  But so often I have something important to do that requires me to look up something on the internet, or login and settle something thru the internet.  But as soon as I get into a browser, some kind of news headline appears and then I get sidetracked.  I peruse for a few seconds and whatever I was supposed to do originally gets forgotten.

I remember I was supposed to do something, but it gets forgotten.  I swear I’m at a state sometimes when I’m uncomfortable or bored I have this urge to pull out my iPhone to checkup on my email, or if nothing interesting is on my email, I need to read thru the news headlines on the internet.  And then if there are no headlines of interest or I’ve checked so often that the headlines have yet to change, I then start searching for more interesting things. I start interactively day dreaming with the internet. I dream about buying something and start “window shopping” and doing consumer comparisons. And then maybe a tangential thought pops up and I start browsing in a different direction forgetting even my original day dreams.  And before long a couple of hours have flashed by.

And then maybe a day passes and I start to realize I had something to do and look up.  I go back on my computer or iPhone, get back on the internet, something interesting pops up and triggers other thoughts and then my memory goes and I struggle to remember even after walking away from my computer or iPhone.  And if I remember, I’ll go back to the computer ready to look up something and then whammo another interesting headline appears and I lose my memory once again.

So I start to think is this internet thing a bad thing.  I have visions of more people being placed into a trance with their conscious minds glued to the internet.  Their self esteem becomes now dependent upon that trance feed of drama that exists in some reality that’s outside of their own personal life.  Remember the movie “The Matrix” where the character Neo wakes up out of his pod and sees that everyone is actually living a virtual life but are connected to a big Matrix machine that hooks up to your body and drains your energy.  Each person becomes a willing and content participant as a human battery for the Matrix because the Matrix feeds back a virtual reality of materialistic existence in their heads.  And so in a way I have this vision that the internet is like this Matrix but the connection is made thru the eyes.  In theory we all have he choice to disengage and disconnect, but it gets hard to do.

People tend to think of the internet as this massive repository of information, but I wonder if the amount of information on the internet is much much smaller than we perceive it to be.  I mean when you see global headlines an news that’s only a handful of events that doesn’t include the many thousands of people a day that go thru struggles, victories, losses, achievements, failures, starvation death, recovery, and rescue that receive little to no attention or notice.  What percentage of significant important things in your life every day find it’s way to the internet? Or maybe I should ask when you browse the content on the internet (casual browsing, shopping, research, facebook, twitter, myspace, etc) how much important space in your life does this content take?

I put forth the concept that the internet puts up the illusion of a lot of information, but in fact it’s maybe fractions of a percent of the information out there.  In the end it’s the judgement of search engines (google, yahoo, bing, ask, etc), people sometimes paying the search engines to get their websites ranked higher, people being willing and able to put the information on the internet, the constant competition of many trying to put the right keywords on their website to be noticed, and finally you being able to have the time and patience to know how to coax the search engine to find out about things you don’t already know.  Go ahead and try and search for something specific on the internet  you don’t know that you don’t know.

But in the meantime you can just glue your eyes to some LCD display, be it your computer or your mobile phone screen.  Check on your text messages.  Check if someone has called you.  Check your email and more and more check on the internet.  Can you break the trance.  Does the trance make you forget things, does it make time fly by really quickly?

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