Friday, 9 December 2011

Real Traps in a Virtual World

Having been deprived on the internet at home, I have had to make use of an internet shop for the last couple of weeks. Here they are called 'WAN House', and comprise a darkened, air conditioned room to which holidaying Carioca children flock, apparently preferring rap muzak, Grand Theft Auto XII and internet interactiom with their absent friends than beach volleyball, swimming or even the gym.

It occurred to me that, in a sense, I should be grateful for time out because it has meant that I have rediscovered the mid-day sun, formerly such a magnet for mad dogs and Englishmen; although, maybe, it is ironic that I rediscovered it on walks to the local WAN House. Moreover, it is mentioned in Peter Fleming's Brazilian Adventure (if you have not read it, imagine P G Wodehouse in the jungle), that the Brazilian sun does not cause sunstroke and, whatever the reason, this does seem to be true.

It also occurred to me that computers and the internet have ensnared us in real traps, voluntary enetered, in a virtual world, from which we dare not escape, in case we are missing out on something. One of my father's friends, an elderly and well qualified atomic physicist, once said to my father that if he went offline he felt as though he had lost a limb. Yet he is someone who got through the first fifty or sixty years of his life satisfactorily enough with books, paper, pens, telephones and the post office and here we are clustered around the screen, desperate to research and to express ourselves in this virtual space. Just how virtual it is can be appreciated when all the date on your computer just sudenly disappears (don't worry all unpublished material has been saved by e-mail attachement). Overall, it seems to me that it is high time  to review and revise my own approach to all this and to ensure that, in the future, the computer and the internet serve my needs, rather than take possession of so much of my time in contrived idleness, masquerading as industry.

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