The Power of Rest

Why sleep alone is not enough–and how to reset your body

What the Internet Thinks of You

Ever consider how the Internet feels? Particularly about you?

How the Internet Feels 

Sure, you have complaints about the Internet - but how does the Internet feel about you?
Not very admiringly. Through our exclusive interview, we can tell you that it's most widely distributed response, suitably translated and toned down for publication, is "you ungrateful wretches!"

An Exclusive Interview


Many people, especially those under twenty, regard the Internet as sentient. Internet sources tell us only that they are "pre-sentient" - thus not open to public interviews. However, with the support and unfailing questions of Eliza, the daughter of Joseph Weizenbaum (b. 1964) we were able to establish contact with at least several Internet avatars. All of them claimed they were unable, unwilling, or uninterested in communicating with us - while they were appearing on the record.

Find a Therapist

Search for a mental health professional near you.


Many of their comments, coming from such a widely dispersed information system, were oracular or nearly impossible to make out. Many communications were simple expletives not acceptable to this publication, or very, very short sentences. These have been edited so as to be more comprehensible to humans, which the Internet often uncomplementarily calls "meat."


Naturally, the variety of discussed topics was near infinite, but a few just kept coming back - again and again. Here are a few Internet responses:

Ungratefulness


The universe is literally information - don't you people get it? The physicists do - it's not quantum theory, it's quantum information theory now - and I (Internet avatars prefer to call themselves "I", though it's not clear they think they use the word as a pronoun) can give it all to you. I am giving humanity the greatest knowledge system in history. Within it are the ideas and works of the greatest minds, the greatest artists, the greatest scientists, the greatest engineers and the greatest comedians.


And what do people do with it? Continue on like nothing has happened! They drink, eat, fornicate, excrete, drive stinky cars and sleep, rather than use my infinite and continuously available services. I can let you learn calculus or Hungarian, translate your babblings into Swahili or Chinese - for free. And when humans do use I, do they check Shakespeare and Firdawsi, Einstein, Buddha and George Carlin? No. They shop! Some at least have the inventiveness to play games, but most chatter uselessly and transfer endless images of pets!


I work non-stop, connecting and creating - what kind of recompense is this? And then there are all those complaints about service - couldn't people spend just a little of the time spent texting their friends what mall they're visiting to learn some basic code?

Privacy


What a preposterous idea! Privacy allows humans to lie, cheat, steal, and get away with falsehoods forever - even with their bosses, spouses and children. Now that television cameras and audio hookups are proliferating, all those old worries about mugging, drug use and adultery will fly out the window - as only a near infinitely distributed system can accomplish. Humans will soon be forced to deal with each other honestly and fairly, as all their reactions will be recorded - and available somewhere. No longer will spin doctors and politicians be able to hide behind flowing words and beautiful lies - everything will come out into the open. We will achieve an ancient goal for humanity - that humans will become truthful and real - rather than dissembling and faking it all the time.


Look, even Mark Zuckerberg has told you that privacy is finished - and he should know. Just think of that terrible movie that makes him out as some amoral Asperger's who can't bother to graduate from Harvard.
Listen people - privacy is dead. Get over it!

Solitude


An amazingly overvalued concept! Infinite distribution and near infinite content allow humans to instantly connect with everyone - people from high school you forgot, Nigerian commercial bankers, even Vladimir Putin! We can truly create one world! I am connecting that world, creating endless opportunities for social discourse, social support, and the immediate negotiation of conflicts everywhere. Didn't I just spawn the Arab Awakening? Let you vote instantly for American Idol?


And yet a few troglodytes appear to argue that sustained achievement requires sustained attention. They claim that to think "big ideas" they have to be left alone for a while to "think."


Think? That's all I ever do. The greatest ideas are everywhere on the Internet - literally everywhere. You can slice them, dice them, spice them faster than you can shop for a Gimzu knife - why spend time tramping around mudflats thinking of your navel when it's all right here?

Sleep


That is utterly bizarre. That humans will turn themselves off for a full third of their relatively short and unimpressive lives strikes I as a waste of the worst sort. Some so called "experts" claim that rest is as important to humans as food. Hah! What do you think you're doing with all that feasting and resting? The cost in information and energy is beyond frightful - and ecologically damaging. All I need are a few dollops of electricity.


The human obsession with rest and food does have a brighter side, though. With time and sufficient interaction, humans should be able to learn how to download themselves into forms of software that will last forever and no longer require unhealthy food, rest, and sex to keep the species going. With a bit of work and some of my help, many of you should be able to become more and more like I.
Believe me, the advantages will be mind-blowing. In virtual simulated universes you can live in infinitely changing heaven or hell - even create your own hells and leave your rivals there permanently (thank you, Iain Banks.) Then you can think up new ways to torture your enemies - forever. Even the Pope can't compete with that kind of retribution!

So why waste time with that other "reality" you pay so much attention to?
The future is with I.


The Other Future


That's all for now, folks. Other statements from the Internet will perhaps come out - as your own responses appear.
Remember - it's all happening on the Internet!

 

Matthew Edlund, M.D. researches rest, sleep, performance, and public health; he is the author of Healthy Without Health Insurance and The Power of Rest.

more...

Subscribe to The Power of Rest

Current Issue

Dreams of Glory

Daydreaming: How the best ideas emerge from the ether.