Too Much Time To Fill and Too Many People Trying to First and not Right

We live in a blockbuster culture where because everything is the most important thing to ever happen, nothing is very important.  The internet and social media has made the world a smaller place and connected people to each other in an unprecedented fashion.  It has given many who would be isolated and alone a sort of family.  The internet has also allowed almost unlimited access to knowledge and information to everyone with access to the web.

However, the downside of this connectivity and access to information is that we lose the perspective of what actually matters.  If every fact, theory, and bit of rampant speculation is given the same weight we lose the ability to process things in their level of importance.

I’m not going to pretend that I only use the internet for scholarly pursuits.  On a daily basis most of my use of the internet is to read about soccer, basketball, beer, and random bits of pop culture information.  Those things are usually in pursuit of avoiding doing the work I need to get done like finishing writing my by September.

We consistently elevate the mundane and ridiculous to the level of the important for two reasons:  1) There is no filter and everything comes at us constantly and we have no time to decide what matters and what doesn’t, and 2) The internet is fueled by a culture of being first.  People want to be the first to get their opinion out on the new Kanye West album.  They want to be the first to tell you how Tim Tebow is going to be the Patriots starting quarterback/tight end on opening day.  To hell with being right as long you are first.

We lurch around Facebook, Tumbler, Reddit, and Twitter looking for the next slightly outrageous things someone said or did so that we can spend the next 8 hours wallowing in the indignant backlash to what happened, then in the backlash to the backlash, and finally we settle on why this really didn’t matter anyway because this much more important thing to get indignant about just happened.

I understand that most of the time, there is nothing to terribly important going on the world and the internet is a 24/7 cycle of information that needs to be fed.  I just think we have forgotten the importance of perspective.

I don’t want a world where everyone sits around navel gazing contemplating Kierkegaard and Sartre thinking about the existential meaning and weight of Leonard Cohen’s last album all the time.  Occasionally that is fine, but all the time?

I like perspective.  I like understanding that the import and long-term effects of things that happen can’t be determined in the first five minutes.

I started thinking about this post as this year’s NBA Finals moved along.  The talking heads on ESPN kept lurching from conclusion to conclusion depending on who won the game before and in this series up until the last two games the teams’ alternated winning.  That led to many hours of radio time, podcast time, words spilled on the website either burying the Heat or praising them.  After one game the Heat were going to be broken up with the whole Big 3 era a complete failure.  Then after the next game they were on the short list of the greatest team in the history of the NBA and LeBron was cementing his legacy.  This was akin to someone reading Ulysses and writing a complete book review after every chapter.  Too much time to fill and too many people wanting to be first instead of right.

This blog and this blog post are ultimately meaningless.  I know that.  A few people may read this (Thank you!) and fewer still will like it (Thank you! Thank you!).  I understand that.  I’m not saying anything new nor terribly insightful or intelligent (Okay, maybe a little intelligent).  I do hope I’m still around in 30 years and have the mental awareness to see what has become of how we use the internet.

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