Growing up (and doing everything else) on the web

Piotr Czerski’s “We The Web Kids” (as translated by translated by Marta Szreder):

We grew up with the Internet and on the Internet. This is what makes us different; this is what makes the crucial, although surprising from your point of view, difference: we do not ‘surf’ and the internet to us is not a ‘place’ or ‘virtual space’. The Internet to us is not something external to reality but a part of it: an invisible yet constantly present layer intertwined with the physical environment. We do not use the Internet, we live on the Internet and along it. If we were to tell our bildnungsroman to you, the analog, we could say there was a natural Internet aspect to every single experience that has shaped us. We made friends and enemies online, we prepared cribs for tests online, we planned parties and studying sessions online, we fell in love and broke up online. The Web to us is not a technology which we had to learn and which we managed to get a grip of. The Web is a process, happening continuously and continuously transforming before our eyes; with us and through us. Technologies appear and then dissolve in the peripheries, websites are built, they bloom and then pass away, but the Web continues, because we are the Web; we, communicating with one another in a way that comes naturally to us, more intense and more efficient than ever before in the history of mankind.

Read More.

H/T: Megan

Your Thoughts?

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About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • Jesse

    Honestly, this manifesto sounds suspiciously like the futurist stuff I and others like me wrote in the 1980s when the first BBS systems appeared. There’s the same sense I get that “we’re all different now” because of some new technology.

    The whole thing misses the point, for instane, that the “archaic interface” with state institutions is that way for a reason in some cases, and there is a touching faith in the ability of technology to solve all problems. And there is no sense at all of context — reading it you’d think technology was magic.

    Here’s my challenge to the kids who grew up on the web: turn off your smartphone for a day and try walking to the local grocery. If you can’t manage that without it, we have a problem. :-)

    I was just in a place among people who use mobile technologies, but manage without them in many cases and it’s interesting why: they are in areas (the deserts in Jordan) where a cell phone even with GPS isn’t much use.

    THere’s also no sense that all these neat technologies exist because of a lot of other old technologies that simply cannot be replaced or magicked away. For instance, if you want to run a computer, you need to make electricity and dig up silicon and other metals. THe only way to dig the silicon out of the ground is with a shovel.

    I saw same old same old, but William Gibson wrote it better in 1988.

    • mikmik

      Jesse, I think you are far too kind. This is romantic drivel fit for a harlequin romance, a veritable love letter to the parents that don’t understand that this love is different.

      I got to this -

      Brought up on the Web we think differently. The ability to find information is to us something as basic, as the ability to find a railway station or a post office in an unknown city is to you. When we want to know something – the first symptoms of chickenpox, the reasons behind the sinking of ‘Estonia’, or whether the water bill is not suspiciously high – we take measures with the certainty of a driver in a SatNav-equipped car.

      before I had to stop reading.

      This person doesn’t understand the first effin thing about interacting with strangers in a strange city in person. How would he know what it is like for us, in order to draw analogy on nothing but the most superficial level – that of aquiring information.

      On that thought, it amazes me how bad so many kids are at using google and referencing sources. Being handed whatever interests them with little or no effort would seem to have squashed self motivation and self sufficiency into the past of ancient history this author feels so bold in dismissing as no longer relevant.

      Piss poor, on so many levels. Another example(dripping with saccharine mistiness) of their missing of the point -

      We do not have to remember unnecessary details: dates, sums, formulas, clauses, street names, detailed definitions. It is enough for us to have an abstract, the essence that is needed to process the information and relate it to others. Should we need the details, we can look them up within seconds.

      Your point, exactly, Jesse. This person gives themselves far, far to much credit for self taught understanding of the way his world works. It is reliant on others doing the dirty work, the countless hours counting fruit flies in genetics(dating myself?), the experience of digging anthropological and paleontological artifacts and the physic connection to spacial reality and awe of ancient substance and meaning as it is painstakingly discovered, recovered, and analyzed.
      Further, the loss of crucial executive functioning skills and application in real world stressful situations is a hard won adaptation to nature that evolved and is a crucial part of being human.

      Without the perspective gained by discovering, creating, and dictated interrelating with others in person in these situations, the painstaking struggle to hash out the differing of opinions and building co-operation and group dynamics, instead of just clicking away if you get uncomfortable… The joy of discovering and creating together and sharing the emotions the way only real life humans can – fuck….

      Participating in cultural life is not something out of ordinary to us: global culture is the fundamental building block of our identity, more important for defining ourselves than traditions, historical narratives, social status, ancestry, or even the language that we use. From the ocean of cultural events we pick the ones that suit us the most; we interact with them, we review them, we save our reviews on websites created for that purpose, which also give us suggestions of other albums, films or games that we might like. Some films, series or videos we watch together with colleagues or with friends from around the world; our appreciation of some is only shared by a small group of people that perhaps we will never meet face to face. This is why we feel that culture is becoming simultaneously global and individual. This is why we need free access to it.

      This is all so provincial that it scares me. This is certainly important stuff, to be sure, and I love how the internet makes this possible, but mistaking the awe of a cool video shared impersonally for human companionship is a very disturbing, very fucking disturbing, development out of my nightmares.

      What a plastic bloody scenario. Sorry, but I can emote with words too, internet baby. Thing is, the others can empathize because we’ve grown up doing it in person with each other, we are real, not Turing machines that can pass a test.