The Internet has Reduced Us all to Fantasists, Fictions and Cheats

Why fantasists?

Well, since long before the digital age, advertisers had discovered that the most effective way of making a product desirable was to show the target market images of the lifestyle it promised. These, of course, were ideas; constructed images, sounds. They were viewed on flat, impermeable surfaces: Televisions, newspapers, magazines, posters. 

The internet offered a much more interactive, personally tailored, and thus immersive experience. Advances in data gathering have made it possible to target consumers more and more accurately, targeting their particular appetites or aspirations or vulnerabilities. 

Fundamentally, though, the whole sentient human is still blocked, stopped dead by little glass screens through which we cannot pass. All human experience may be depicted on these little glass screens, but they are tiny, unreachable and enclosed within frames. They are referenced, rather than lived. 

In other words, the internet is only capable of engaging language, picture-symbols, and abstract thought. The biological, sentient, social self, reinforced and grounded by physical, geographical, and historical context, by the recognition of a living community and family, must be left at the internet’s portal. The self of body language, of uncaring shrugged shoulders, humorously cocked eyebrows or annoyed moues; of warm hugs and hands held secretly under the table, of shy, soft kisses; the self of laughter, raised voices or excited volubility; of hunches, impressions and sudden pangs of empathy – all that self must be given up.

Only the insubstantial, mutable, phantom self can enter: the self of language: unproven, unprovable, existing only through doubtful verbal assertion. Untrustworthy.

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