Of course, I don't really hate it. I am actually quite fond of this network that connects us and makes communication super easy. In fact, I would dare say I love the Internet, a little too much.
Sometimes, though, I feel like breaking up with this mistress of mine.
My affair with the web
I spend most of my time online. I use the Internet for everything from paying bills to buying books to ordering a pizza. (Oh yeah, and I use it for work sometimes, too.)
The problem with our wired lifestyles is that we can be deceived into thinking this is real life. But it's not. Maybe a projection of it, or an outlet, or even an expression of our lives, but this virtual world is not the real thing. And we need to remember that.
Yes, the irony of communicating this to you via the same technology I'm criticizing doesn't escape me. But this is an important epiphany for me. As a writer, an artist, I'm coming to grips with the fact that if I'm not mindful of how I use these tools, they can end up using me.
Take writing, for example. Why do you write? Is it because you love it? Because you want to get paid? To publish a book?
Any reason will do, but you do need to have one. Otherwise, you may find yourself doing something and find out one day, you're not even sure why. And that's a big problem.
A terrible, no-good, awful day (from hell)
I had a bad day yesterday.
I lost an awesome blog post that I had to rewrite from scratch. I had server issues. I had a headache. My wife was out of town. I literally spent most of the day on the phone. It was frustrating.
In the midst of it, I kind of had a mini-breakdown. But I considered it a gift. For a moment, I wondered, “What if my blog disappeared? What if my computer blew up? What if all this technology went away?”
I would still write, anyway.
These are tools — a means to an end, not the end itself. They help us get where we want to go. And when they cease to do that, it's time to start over.
That's what art is all about. I love how Stephen King puts it in his memoir On Writing. Here's my paraphrase:
Art is a support system for life, not the other way around.
Your work is not something you plan your life around — it's something that makes living possible. And perhaps, meaningful.
What do you think of the Internet? Do you love or hate it? Share in the comments.