The internet and connected technologies have resulted in subconscious reliance on these systems in order for us to feel that we’ve fully lived.
Where before, accomplishing rigorous labour as part of a hunter-gatherer society ensured fulfillment, today we rely on our technologies as a crutch.
It’s interesting to note – and I, too, am guilty of this – how much we depend on the Web just to think. I’ve often caught myself wandering about abstract topics that are at first seemingly unrelated, but that suddenly form some sort of connection, which spurs me on to Google or Wikipedia to find out more. Even more prevalent is the constant spell-checking and trawling through my Mac’s Dictionary.app to look up words and then go off on a tangent with etymologies and related words. It’s like a never-ending cycle, an infinite loop of procrastination station.
This intrinsic ability of ours, the power of cognition and questioning, is propounded by the power of the Web. They call it the “collective consciousness.” I like that phrase; it represents our transcendence from collecting ourselves around campfires beneath starry skies and sharing tales, to the digital equivalent – a far more potent equivalent, I might add.
Our minds exist out there in the cybersphere just as much as they exist within our skulls. We don’t allow our minds the quietness that often spurs traditional thinking. Thinking today is permeated by trending topics, tweets, posts and the latest bytes flowing through the air. It serves us well, then, as we progress into an ever-more connected society, to remember the power of our own minds and the potency that comes with thinking within before seeing what others think.