Chapter 3.3: Internet Age

So how else did the World Wide Web shape who I am today? It actually becomes difficult to tell because I’ve been around it constantly since I was a preteen. It’s evolved with me and I with it. Although the roots of the Net can be traced back to the 60s, it feels like me and the world’s binary consciousness are around the same age. We’re arriving at a period in our lives where our freedoms are on the line. I’m slowly being coerced into the job mindset, as Joe Rogan would call it. My environment is telling me it’s good to work for the weekend. In the back of my mind I’m thinking the exact opposite. Working five days a week just so I can live for two of those seven days. In the most simple Vulcan terminology, it’s just not logical. I’m going to break out of it one day and do work I love. I’ll turn those two days of life into seven days a week.

The Internet is losing freedoms in another way. All in the name of national security. I find the United States to be very fortunate to have a World Wide Web that isn’t as restricted as that of China’s or Egypt’s. But the trend seems to be pointing in this direction. If the heads of intelligence in America are unable to limit Internet access, they will most definitely find a way to discourage the people from using the Net as they please. We’ve already seen it happening in the disclosure of Edward Snowden’s leaked information.

The Internet is what put the 99% on the same playing field as the 1%. It’s what prevented us all from becoming sheep in the system. But I think the 1% know, just like me, that access to information doesn’t mean that people will even accept or believe it. It’s just there, floating in digital space. It’s up to us to make that knowledge become viral in the world’s consciousness. Let’s hope we make this change happen soon before it’s too late.

In my early college years, I watched Zeitgeist for the first time, thanks to an Internet connection. Zeitgeist was the first documentary I ever watched that me feel uncomfortable, in a cognitive dissonance type of way. It was the first step in the breakdown of my old world views and a reconstruction of a new one. Yet of course this was all realized in hindsight. It can be difficult to recognize change without looking back to the past.

This girl I was crushing my sophomore year made a post on twitter about how good this movie, Zeitgeist, was. I was in lust with her like crazy, so much that anything she was interested in, I also took an interest in. Later on that week, I found a stream of the film on Youtube and took the time to watch it.

Two and a half hours later my mind was blown elsewhere. I was partly in denial yet feeling enlightened. I was angry at all the lies I’ve been told my entire life, and upset because I could no longer see the world the way I had grown used to.

Zeitgeist wasn’t the movie that absolutely changed my life. But like any gateway drug, it opened the door to a new addiction. An addiction to the Truth. Sort of like my first time getting super bong gone high. It was a crazy experience. For the first time ever I could feel the blood course through every major vein and artery. I never felt so in touch with myself; both physically and mentally. It terrified me. I tried to suppress the feeling, the raw emotion, but it grew stronger. I panicked and ended up in the hospital an hour later. Yet ever since that panic attack, I’ve longed to get back to that place, that mind state. I wanted to learn how to accept those feelings for what they were, and ride with it. After all, those feelings, thoughts and emotions were Me. Likewise, after watching Zeitgeist, I couldn’t help but go back and try to figure out why it made me uncomfortable. Why I couldn’t just accept the film for what it is. Slowly but surely, I began to accept the truths in the world for what they were; rather than try to make them fit with my own ideals and values. With the help of the Internet I began to uncover the rare truths.

One thing I learned from this Zeitgeist experience, which culminated after viewing the third installment, was that the problems in the world were not just a struggle between good and evil. As much as many of us would like it to be that way, it’s a lot more complicated.

The dualistic paradigm of good and evil has been infiltrating my brain since before I can remember. It was in the Christian religion. The great struggle between Satan and God. The separation of Heaven and Hell. It’s in the movies, books, television, everywhere. There’s always two opposing forces striving for power. As I became older I began applying this paradigm to real world events. There had to be a big bad guy hiding somewhere who needed to be blamed for all the crazy things happening across the globe. But there wasn’t just one Devil wreaking havoc. Or even a whole crew of purely evil humans striving to gain and maintain power. It was all just one big mess of which we all played a part. Directly or indirectly.

I’m reminded of a scene in the Star Trek: Deep Space 9 episode, Past Tense. Two of the main characters, Commander Sisko and Dr. Bashir, were taken back in time to the 21st Century during a critical point of social decline. The have-nots were angry and on the verge of using violence to force change.

While caring for someone after an attack by the police, Dr. Bashir says to the woman, “It’s not your fault that things are the way they are.” Filled with monotone despair, the woman replies,

“Everybody tells themselves that, and nothing ever changes.”

This scene resounded with me so much. It shows the consequences of living within the good vs. evil paradigm. People get used to living in negative situations because they weren’t the ones who originally caused them. We blame a Bin Laden, or a Bush. Or more recently, an Obama. We need that lie-telling snake in the Garden of Eden to lead us down the wrong path. So that when everything goes to shit we can say, “It was you! You’re the reason why this economy sucks! You’re the reason why I don’t have a job! You’re the reason why that cop shot my son! You devil!” Imagine if we weren’t always looking for a figurehead to fill the evil villain role. Imagine if we saw ourselves as the actual wrongdoers. If we blamed ourselves for the world becoming this way, would we be more active in changing it? The problems that seem to just happen over night (e.g. racial violence of America’s police force or Big Brother global security) are really things that have been marinating for a long time right in front of our eyes. Just a thought.

Access to information like this via the Net allowed me to grow and develop my own unique self. I wasn’t bound by the knowledge shared with me by my superiors, filtered through their own biases. I could take information from a variety of sources, and then form my own opinion. I was no longer a sheep, following whoever seemed trustworthy. It was a very liberating (and still continues to be) discovery of self. On this journey, I’ve come to realize one thing which Ashton Kutcher (quoting Steve Jobs) states so profoundly,

“Steve Jobs said when you grow up you tend to get told that the world is the way that it is, and that your life is to live your life inside the world and try not to get in too much trouble, and maybe get an education and get a job and make some money and have a family, but life can be a lot broader than that when you realize one simple thing, and that is that everything around us that we call life was made up by people who are no smarter than you, and you can build your own things, you can build your own life that other people can live in.

So build a life. Don’t live one, build one.

And with that, I’ve come to stop over-idolizing family members, celebrities, and pretty much anyone who was older than me.

Long Live the Internet!

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