That documentary called “One of Us” is quite an engaging depiction of the Hasidim in Brooklyn, and it got me thinking at a part. The section featured a guy giving a speech, as he screamed about the internet being the downfall of man and all that. Is he right on that point?
I thought it was ridiculous when I first heard it, but most things are double-edged swords. You can find news and facts on the internet, but it’s just as easy to find fake news. There’s some useful stuff, and everything else is porn and cat videos. In this particular religious community, the real threat posed by the internet is the ability for its young people to find alternatives.
I guess I would still argue pretty strongly that it’s a net positive, the internet. That’s obviously something a ‘blogger’ should think. Not only are we able to share and make connections far away, we are able to educate ourselves with it, provided we have access. Then again, for those who can’t get access, the internet is a strong agent of inequality. There are people making millions of dollars a year through the internet, and anyone who doesn’t have it misses out on that opportunity.
I ended up concluding the same way I usually do with “is ____ evil” debates. I figure it’s all good in moderation. Sustainability is key, though. The internet is a massive commercial force and fortunes are won and lost every day. We’re consuming at incredible rates in ‘developed’ societies and we’re either hoping that climate change doesn’t exist, or that someone is going to invent the fix to it in time. Is the internet accelerating consumption at an unsustainable rate?
Of course, there is no way to hit a reset button on the internet or the environment, at least not at the moment. Whatever tools we create, though, we can always find a way to use them to our greater good or the opposite. But if you have no information at all and live in utter ignorance of your possibilities, is that any better?