Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Virtual Vs. Real Society

Hi everyone,

While there are many difficulties dealing with both the Japanese and American societies, there is one common virtual-society that people of all races can run away to when there seems to be no escape: the Internet.

The Internet has been a blessing of sorts, bringing people hundreds of miles away from each other together in real-time. Businesses now run together, despite time zone differences. Services such as Twitter, Facebook, Blogger, and Mixi (Japan's facebook) transmit information within the very second you submit it, broadcasting your thoughts instantaneously to millions of viewers. Real-time news invalidates the need for newspapers, magazines and pamphlets. Chat programs such as Skype connect with other people real-time with live-streaming video. Global societies, once separated by time zones and oceans, now move together simultaneously with the Internet. Unfortunately, like any useful tool, it has also been used for malicious activity such as hacking, spying, stalking, and hostile action.

Although it can be used for shopping, chatting with friends, finding information, or meeting new people, it can be argued that the Internet has actually perpetuated more greed and selfish desire. Services such as Facebook survive off of the adage: "Fifteen minutes of fame" which, literally, happens to some people as often as every minute. Bloggers like myself (and I realize I am guilty of this as well) drive attention to one's content, as a way to make a bold public announcement of one's daily thoughts. Not content with your current partner? Finding a someone better over the Internet by use of services such as Facebook, Mixi, and Match makes this a simple task. Shopping is now as simple as point, click and charge! While it serves many beneficial purposes for the end-user, it has also created a lot of addictive habits, encourages people to strictly live in the moment, eliminates the need for face-to-face contact, and elicits immoral behavior.

Has this invaluable tool actually created more problems for us? It seems as if the Internet allows us to do whatever we need it to, but it does not regulate our behaviors and actions, nor stimulates our human senses as well. In that sense, the Internet poses a problem to us as humans, bringing us too many easy solutions and short-term satisfactions in a matter of moments. We now have access to a flood of information right at our finger tips! Has it has caused humans to become insatiable?

Trying not to veer too far off topic, I recently came across an interesting article written on how a nation's GNP (Gross National Product) is skewed with GNH (Gross National Happiness). (This link can be viewed here.) It basically states that the more affluent/rich a society is, the more likely that its population is unhappy. As a society becomes more affluent, the more likely an individual becomes greedy, and the standards to live become more complicated. The more money that is used to drive an economy, the more it leads to this greed and selfishness.

Now you may be thinking, how is this intertwined with the Internet? With the instant transmission of information, the real-world society is moving at a much faster pace and the desire for this information is now demanded within seconds. Now that it is used widely in global (Westernized) businesses, the real-world and virtual-world now work parallel to one another. Two virtually different societies, year by year, are becoming one and the same. People demand the same output in the real-world, in literally the same time their fingers click the "submit" buttons with their mouse.

In this way, the Internet has perpetuated humans to become even greedier than ever. Over time, more regulations will be placed on how this tool will be used, but it will not stop individuals from desiring satisfaction with quicker and faster results. With the Internet train moving full speed ahead, what lies in store for our society in the future? Will this prevent people from learning the true virtues of patience and perseverance?

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