Why The Internet Meets All of Our Needs
Everyone understands, of course, that the Internet (or, as the hip San Franciscan dot-commers prefer to call it, the Information Superhighway - or at least, what they call it when they aren't begging for change) is the greatest invention in the history of humanity. However, few people understand exactly why it is so perfect.
The purpose of this brief, insightful essay is to explain why the Internet is so great. You see, the Information Superhighway can serve to meet every major human need. Everything any reasonable human could want is available on the web, and can be obtained without prying your ass out of the groove it has formed in your Office Max chair.
To structure this piece, I was going to analyze human desires using Maslow's famous Hierarchy of Needs. However, as my DSL connection was down, I was unable to look up what they are. Therefore, I needed to guess.
As I see it, Maslow thought that the basic human needs, in ascending order of complexity, are
i. Immediate personal safety.
Here are helpful examples of how the Internet (or, to use my own term, "Cyberspace") helps us meet these basic, primal needs.
i. Immediate personal safety.
What does it mean to be using the Internet? It means that you are indoors, in a building with electricity (and thus, most likely, bathrooms, central heating, and locks on the doors). You aren't out in the wilderness being torn apart by coyotes, on the street getting run over by a car, or in Afghanistan, or in jail. Thus, roaming through "Cyberspace" has already brought us a considerable personal safety dividend.
That assumes, of course, that you aren't one of those Carpal Tunnel Syndrome wussies.
Of course, all of the online grocery delivery services have gone or are in the process of going out of business, thus proving that there is a just God. But there is still a wide variety of sustaining food available on the Internet. In a short period of time, I was able to find web sites selling:
Speaking as someone who has been living on basically nothing but these four things for years, and who feels that if it's good enough for him it's good enough for everyone else, including infants and heart patients, I have to say that the Internet passes the food test with flying colors.
iii. Emotional Intimacy.
Once the basic necessities of life are obtained, all healthy human beings instinctively reach for the closeness of human contact. On the Internet, it is possible to obtain such contact without trying hard or, in fact, at all.
This morning, for example, I got an E-mail from a friendly but total stranger who assured me that "Hot Asian Teens are Waiting For You!" Fancy that! Not only is someone waiting to make my acquaintance, but, if someone does want to meet me, all other things being equal, I would prefer that they be hot, teen, and Asian.
This is the sort of warmth that the Internet engenders in its denizens. It's the sort of emotional closeness that comes from not actually having to be in the room with the person you're being close to.
I mean, face it. You hate people. They're lumpy. They smell bad, especially in the morning. Even the ones you claim to like, your children, your "soulmate", your "mom", drive you nuts pretty fucking much all the time. If people really liked people, we'd still spend time living in close-knit villages, instead of hiding in our basements with our computers.
People suck. And that's why the best, most fulfilling relationships are held via electrons, with someone at least 2000 miles away, and, in the best case, facilitated by a credit card.
iv. Not Getting Anthrax.
If you are going to be killed by anthrax, and, let's be honest here, you are going to be killed by anthrax, you might as well delay it as long as possible. And the best way to do that is by never leaving the house.
Nothing facilitates never leaving the house like the Internet.
v. The ability to make yourself feel better by making others feel worse.
If there was any justice in this universe, the things I've said online would have gotten my ass kicked, like, a thousand times. But there is no justice.
So, when a twelve-year-old on Usenet asks on rec.pets.cats why his kitty makes hacking noises, I can respond, with impunity, "bone cancer." Whether a message is about Everquest, breast-feeding techniques, or Jethro Tull, I am capable of writing something which will make someone, somewhere, have a worse day. And where before I might have had to worry about getting shanked by someone's bare bodkin, today I can sleep the sleep of the just.
Consider, for a moment, this. At various points in history, how much effort and expense would it take to see a Japanese girl give herself an orange juice enema?
Five hundred years ago, at minimum, it would have taken an incredibly difficult and dangerous sea voyage. Then you would have to overcome the language barrier and the whole hack to death with swords issue. And, even if you found a properly inclined woman, there is still the non-trivial issue of getting the oranges.
One hundred years ago, the oranges were easier to attain, you could hire a translator, and the sea voyage would probably not kill you. But it would still take many months of effort, and a lot of Japanese people of both sexes would finish with a lower opinion of you.
Fifty years ago, it would have been World War Two. You would have shown up on the Japanese shores and been shot. No love there.
But now, today, with the Internet, you can see a picture of a Japanese girl giving herself an orange juice enema with almost trivial ease. Actually, I have been finding that the problem is surfing the web and NOT finding a picture of a Japanese girl giving herself an orange juice enema. Or, failing that, finding a therapeutic technique which would enable me to burn said image out of my head. Please.
We all know the Internet is great. Without it, I would never have learned the etiquette of meeting a Russian mail-order bride, multiple techniques for reversing circumcision, or how easy it is to make an eight-year-old cry.
But now we know how well the Internet does at fulfilling all of our human needs. It feeds us, gives us love, and keeps us from getting diseases.
Just bear this in mind the next time a combination of Hotmail macro viruses and denial of service attacks slows the net to a halt. Because, as I have just proven, in the Internet ever grinds to a halt, you will be killed.
Like computer games? A great fantasy adventure awaits you here.