The Cage Of the Internet

By Chandrasen Yadav

I am not as much compelled to write poetry and articles about the lockdown, as much as I see happening out there, as the suffering here seems too banal to me. In no way that I am talking here about the victims of the disease, I have all the empathy towards them, but as I sit and observe the conversations happening in the outer world, it’s evident by now that the focus is not on the suffering of victims, it’s the suffering of the people stuck at home. It is not something unfathomable, as the population stuck at home is thousandfold than the people who are suffering out here, but still, the fact that the biggest problem at the people stuck at home is that they are getting bored, and the whining that comes with it tells something about us.

It’s not war, that would have invoked an emotional response instead, when a human being kills another, that hatred which comes from within is still better than not being able to see a virus killing thousands. It only invokes sympathy, and that’s about it, we sympathize and move on to whine again. And that is what is happening, people who are staying at home are personally at no threat, so it can be understood that the instinct doesn’t tell us to keep us in that state of threat.

So, when there’s no threat and people have all the time in the world, free from their daily jobs—most of them, they turn to this another cage out there—internet. I haven’t come in terms with the whole idea of the internet yet if it does any better or it just makes things worse. It does a lot of good for sure, but as with everything in the world, it comes with its curse. And the curse of the internet is a lot more than what we see on the surface.

We aren’t free now, we are more caged than ever, first in the comfort of our homes and then also in this virtual world where we are wasting half of our days scrolling and watching something with no meaning and substance. First, let’s talk about the barrage of memes out there, are they amusing? Some of them are, some are smart, I would give that much credit that it deserves but what about the grave mental shortcuts we are consuming as a society? what about in the package of laughter it is normalizing things which we shouldn’t? what about the fact that it is leaving traces of information that could manifest itself into something grave? It’s a good exercise to find a real-world example of an internet phenomenon, and what is a meme then? it’s those pieces of thoughts that used to spread from real conversations, jokes, and the intriguing and smartest one would survive and passed down to generations to maybe teach a lesson, a thought. Still, there was a regulation, a conscious choice to not the bad ideas go forward and those ideas used to die there, but not now, the internet has a characteristic of amplifying and reinforcing bad ideas, and here memes survive, the bad ones more than the good ones, because who cares about good anymore—it was too old school. Now that the spread is too fast, and nobody cares about regulation, bad ideas survive, and there’s no need to talk about how bad ideas could influence young and teenage children out there, even adults.

Memes are still the least form of entertainment which has no many problems with it, then comes the series of things—OTT platforms—which is growing in our country as sugarcane, is polluting the art form of filmmaking and writing with outrage, abusive and sensuous content just to cater to the audience; Social media—well there’s a lot wrong with social media, it provides the platform to express opinions whether informed or misinformed, with a false sense of knowing which turns into a vessel of hate-mongering; “content making applications”—which I think has nothing good to offer, but is skewing a lot of teenagers to explore in rather productive areas to put their time in. And the last but not the least, this barrage of video chatting applications, with provocative ads everywhere on the internet has nothing but grave consequences for the target audience of teenagers.

To go into the depth of each one would take a lot than an article, there are many elements to look at, and each one has many problems, but the bottom line is there are a lot more bad happening than the good. I am not ignoring the fact that without internet many things wouldn’t be possible today, the fact that I wrote this for the internet is one, and I have no problems with the utility of internet, to get things done, but when we try to mix anything which happens socially with the internet, it is bound to work ambiguously and what’s what we are dealing with today.
So, what’s the point still? The point is, all these things are keeping us busy while we consider ourselves free during this. No matter how much I feel all of these things are bad, no one is immune to it, it’s all over the place once you pick up your phone to open a website. And to sum it all up, all of these things are doing nothing but wasting our time, no matter how much we enjoy reading a meme, watching a video, it leaves nothing of substance in our conscience. Even a bad book teaches some good words, but never a bad meme, a bad video, a bad movie; I still feel traditional hobbies will always trump the new age hobbies of binge-watching, social media influencing, vlogging, etc. in meaning, substance and the overall philosophy.

That is the reason, it should be a conscious choice to free ourselves from the cage of internet, to strictly use it as a utility, minimally for entertainment and start doing things we enjoy where there’s no written history to leave, no algorithm to track your likings and dislikings, just try different things with no audience to validate it from, enjoy the process of doing than the process of sharing. To not let the norms set by the internet affect how I enjoy a piece of art, even creating a piece of art, where you find meaning for yourself, maybe not shared by the society at large.

About the Author:

I’m currently pursuing Masters of Science in Psychology, with a background in Computer Science and Engineering. I’m an avid reader, observer of current social and technological trends with interests in writing on diverse topics.

 

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