By Kyle Webb, Assistant Editor, See staff list for e-mail address
I was talking with a friend tonight who spent a few weeks in Europe. He wasn't going to go, originally, because of (what turned out to be) imagined "delusions" that the world would stop spinning, or he would miss something god-awful important if he took fourteen whole days to just...BE. To experience, away from his desktop, the beauty and the roots of Life. To sit for two hours and experience a meal in Holland (the lucky bugger), instead of grabbing a sandwich and a cold one in front of the monitor. I enjoyed just listening to tales of Life Away From The Computer.
The sun rises; the sun sets. Must be the world is still spinning :)
Life. It isn't always the drive to produce. It can't continually be the need to interact with the masses. Solitude, and riding with the calming tides, should be experienced, to regain contact with our humanity, our selves.
Existence, however, is what you make it; it is not The True Meaning. You can fool yourself (and a great deal of other people) into believing that what you are doing with your time beyond your responsibilities is Your Life. Depends on where, and how, you expend that precious commodity. I ask you to consider, if you spend that time online, or in front of a TV, is that Life? Or Existence?
I have spent inordinate amounts of time delving ever deeply into the false world that is the Web. YES! It is a deformity of the true pulse, the soul of the very people that have created it. And why?
Let me digress a bit... Examine (if you can help not to) Bill Clinton's sex life. In the bigger picture, when it boils down, who, with any vision of the Greater Future, gives a foo? (I'll probably get mail on this.) It is my sincere belief that The Media indulges heavily in the money-making game I have entitled, "Making Something Out Of Nothing." Elsewise, their job would be ever so much more limited. Life, for humanity, can be complicated, with The Big Story (or stories) riding above the unimaginably huge undercurrent of multitudinous minutiae of information, and disinformation. A great deal of this undercurrent is vaguely interesting, but probably not deserving of emphasis. Making Something Out Of Nothing is a false theorem, negated by the Greater Truth: Don't Sweat The Small Stuff. Yet people have placed, by influence of Media (and that includes online existence) overt and overblown emphasis on being amused. Maybe they have become crippled in some ways, in that amusement has become a passive sport. The term, "Interactive," has become denigrated to the human response of point and click. "All you need do is ask." I suggest we all read Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World," for an examination of a society whereby personal initiative and involvement becomes near-extinct in the quest for a well-oiled machine that is Existence. Huxley, a visionary, published this view of an alternate future sixty-six years ago, in 1932. There is every indication that this evolution will come to pass. Without enterprise, we will stagnate. We Deserve It.
The Web is an embodiment of this disease.
Now, don't get me wrong. I access the incredible network of mass information daily, partly for business, in part for personal interests that, in a previous decade, would have been an impossible-to-satisfy need of information. I am, for reasons I cannot begin to outline, grateful for the access I have to critical information I used to travel around the state for, lurking in dusty corners of libraries. It's cheaper, faster, and without a doubt richer in content.
But there's another side...the Yang for the Yin.
There is a whole culture growing (I should say, "spreading") that embraces and lives fully within the shallow aspects of the incredible network and information interaction that is The Web. There is an entire social class, independent of money, of race, of sex, of even religion, that taps the surface, "exciting" layers where instant gratification lives and evolves.
You can be anyone, or anything, you want to be there. Oh, what a tangled Web we weave...The Media, now extended into a bloated, world-girdling living creature of sorts, has made better than an art form, indeed, a new religion, of Making Something Out Of Nothing. Anyone with Bare Access can join, and contribute to the decadence. A related note: the word, "morphing" (which computer graphics folks would have you believe they invented) comes from the Greek mythological being Morpheus: God of Dreams. Go look it up; you can read into it more of why it's an appropriate computer term.
The Few will, gratefully, contribute to The Excellence. Like any information source, you must plow past the crass commercialism to find the worthy.
As is expected with the general populace, the base far outnumber the exceptional. It is possible to find and appreciate the remarkable and the worthy; the noteworthy and the notable. In Real life, and in the Web. But first, the players must extract themselves from passivity, and look for deeper satisfactions. They must become Involved.
The Amiga Monitor, and other online sources like it, strive to wade through the clutter; to bring to the fore what is relevant to The Followers of The Platform. One magazine, one Directory, cannot do it all. The task is daunting. There are a great number of sources for Amiga news; the reader must decide which are entertaining... and useful. To be complacent and strive to be merely amused, when the readers and writers profess to a loyalty to a struggling platform (which has remained alive in spite of horrendous circumstances) is to contribute to the decline. It is supremely difficult to keep the home fires burning for those who remain indifferent to the reality of the situation that is Amiga.
In the meantime, The Amiga Monitor (and sources like it) will continue (barring the unforeseen) to bring tidbits, commentary and wry observations to the Web.
And I...well, I am saving this file, turning off the computer, and going downstairs to spend time in the kitchen doing culinary things to feed my body and my soul. It's more satisfying than a sandwich at the keyboard (plus, I won't get crumbs stuck in the aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa key :)
The World Wide Web can wait.
Return to the April 1998 (Volume 2 Issue 9) Main Index