December 16, 2008
I was reading Laurent’s post What does it mean to become human?, but it was so long that I skipped to the end, illustrating exactly the point I wanted to make in this post.
Laurent writes, amongst other things, about interiority:
the capacity to reflect upon ourselves, others and the world, the whole of reality
It put a name to something I’ve been increasingly concerned about: that the rise of the Internet, and specifically the blogosphere, risks reducing each person’s interiority.
What I’m worried about is a future where, instead of taking days and weeks to read a carefully written, edited and argued book or journal, people only surf the web, and write and comment on blogs.
Each blog, and each comment, is written in minutes. The whole point about blogging, as so beautifully described by Andrew Sullivan, an Atlantic senior editor, is that:
… a blog is not so much daily writing as hourly writing. … A blogger will air a variety of thoughts or facts on any subject in no particular order other than that dictated by the passing of time … The blog remained a superficial medium, of course … blogging rewards brevity and immediacy. No one wants to read a 9,000-word treatise online. – Why I Blog
There is no better word to describe browsing than “surfing”. A surfer remains on the surface, moves fast to stay afloat, and never looks at what’s below.
Most blogging is similarly fast, with minimal reflection or recourse to interiority – few people think about their next post for days, chewing things over, rewriting and polishing before hitting Publish. They react, write and publish – basta.
Just like I wrote this post. Because I’ve got to go. I’m worried that we’re losing our collective ability to Think Things Through Properly, but I really haven’t got time to think about it right now.Mathew Lowry