On Internet As A Myth

I decided to play smartass or as my colleagues like to say ‘to level up’ 🙂 Unfinished PhD thesis on philosophy keeps me restless 🙂

Those unwilling to stomach this discourse just skip the posts tagged ‘Smartassery’. Contemplating the nature of the Internet, I’d put it alongside with the following phenomena of the human phylogeny /in order of appearance/: partaking in rituals, myths, fairy tales, art, theater, and recently acquired – media.

All of this, in my opinion, gets brought together by several shared features.

1. All these facets of life directly satisfy at least one need. As for all the ancient phenomena – it’d be feeling emotions, getting sexual relief (through myths and rituals). As for the modern phenomena, the media – it’d be the satisfaction of information needs (on top of feeling the emotions, for example).

2. They include unreal, imaginary component. And here I do not know which came first – the unique feature of the psyche, meaning there is no difference between reality and imagination, or the moment when these lifespheres became distinct?

3. Besides, we must take into account the symbolic actions which are either committed directly or being empathized with. And which are actually helping to get a dynamic and – sometimes – satisfaction.

These three elements merge into one, a very important process. People while absorbing any of these phenomena, satisfy those needs that are blocked in reality at the moment. In other words, getting immersed in myths, participating in rituals, contemplating works of art, watching movies and, finally, taking advantage of the Internet, everyone satisfies some of their needs in a manner different from the direct one.

I can relieve aggression without harming the person, who caused it – by reading the article, where something bad happens with a member of abuser’s social group. I can look at a symbolic sexual act and experience sexual relief. I can get a bazillion ‘likes’ and feel that the group accepts me.

The key point in these examples is that on the one hand I get a relief, but on the other I do not take action and do not get the result anticipated on behalf of the defined need. For example in the case of resentment, displaying aggression (as defined by Konrad Lorenz) should provide me with the appropriate position in the social hierarchy. But, for some reason, I did not show it towards the offender and reading the article would not improve my place in a social group. Symbolic sex is not identical to the real sexual intercourse. Getting ‘like’ is not associated with the group acceptance.

Considering the Internet as an ‘heir’ of large-scale phenomena, I’m going to address three issues that arise in this context:
1. What did the Internet inherit from its predecessors? What did it keep archaic?
2. What did it bring new? How is it different from its ancestors’?
3. What are the prospects? What will change in a human life in terms of global processes?

In the next article on this topic I’ll analyze the shared characteristics of the Internet and defined spheres of life.