If there’s one serious problem I have with the current generation, it’s the open embrace of mind-numbing Internet culture. Ever since Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube became popular, our culture has become significantly dumber, but most of all, it has become incredibly narcissistic and shallow-minded. We’re still living in the age of the selfie, and what an apt analogy, since our culture is now a culture of self-importance where intelligent conversation is not as important as memes, vines and pop music videos.
On the Internet, especially on social networking sites, we are constantly on display, primarily because we choose to be. In this regard, we have created, in Internet culture, a bloated sense of narcissism, in that it seems we can’t get enough of showing ourselves off to the world. This is neither a good thing nor a bad thing, but on Facebook, we tend to only show the positives of our life, giving the rest of the world a one-dimensional avatar of our own lives. Of course, this is because on social media sites, we are always being watched. Our followers can watch our every post, our every thought, and every location, all with our consent. But just because we show ourselves off to the world, doesn’t mean we have nothing to hide. In fact, we are now hiding our true selves more than ever. I worry that Internet culture has also created a climate of insecurity as we constantly risk being watched by practically anyone, even those who could use any detail of yourself against you.
Internet culture itself is devoid of originality. It’s basically nothing more than decontextualized pop culture references, regurgitations of celebrity culture, veneration of pornography, and a near endless arsenal of memes that are repeated ad nauseum. Is this the new way of the world? I certainly hope not. I personally find Internet culture to be both infantile and infantilizing, in the sense that it is painfully immature and makes it harder to see things that are deeper than what the wellspring of Internet culture will provide. That being said, it’s no wonder that we see adults acting like teenagers, teenagers acting like children, and children acting like infants.
Sexuality has suffered badly because of the Internet, because our view of sex has become devoid of spiritual connectedness. On the Internet, there is a plethora of easily accessible pornography (images or videos), and while the benefits are obvious, the side effects are also obvious. Sex and relationships have become viewed almost universally as a primarily physical encounter, and many seek out their ideal mate based on “how hot she is”, rather than their ideal lover based on traits deeper than looks. The Internet has also become the place where we vent our baser desires, be it lust, pride, envy, or even vitriolic hate. Of course, not everyone falls into this pattern, but the pattern is startling.
I think the worst part of today’s Internet culture is the assumption that we are all a connected society, an assumption I feel is false. We are not connected. In fact, this web of superficiality makes it harder for us to truly be in touch, and the harder it is to truly be in touch with each other, the more apart from each other we truly are. We as humans are capable of being in touch and open with each other, but I have yet to see how this can be done while we are wallowing in the moors of the shallowest of all cultures we have ever known. Yes, the Internet has paved the way for easier lives, but we must not put it on a pedestal. We must not forget that everything has a price, and the culture the Internet is a mess that has polluted our cultural landscape for years to come.