Everyone Talks, No One Listens

If I had to describe The Internet I’d say it was a place where everyone talks, no one listens.

This is unfair, of course, there’s plenty of people who listen on here. Hell, there are plenty of people who don’t talk at all. They just seethe in silence. Or Retweet. Or Fave. Or Like. Or some other Bastardized Capitalized Verb. Mega Dittos Rush.

The thing is that, as a reflection of the dumb way in which humanity is wired, The Internet doesn’t reward true listening all that much. It rewards wordplay, bon mots, and other verbal delicacies that fit nicely into the filter set of whatever clique has sway at the moment.

It loves terminology. Especially the kind that acts as a shibboleth between different cultural groups, be they separated by age, gender, ethnic identity or in a lesser form fandom. It is, after all, a hell of a lot easier to get on with surfing the net when you don’t have to stop down and consider the meaning of words being used in an unfamiliar context.

Even as someone who is wired to find that pleasurable I can readily admit that it isn’t always enjoyable. When I fall into a funk—and this world makes sure that happens a lot—it’s tough to care enough to take the effort to understand.

I wonder sometimes if that’s how we’re all being kept in check. That the powers that be know enough about human psychology to set up the system just so, and thus stay in power by keeping us all squabbling around on the lower decks. Then I laugh: that’s giving people too much credit. Life is irreducibly complex, and every model we’ve ever made of reality has fallen apart or will before the end of days.