Too Tired for Idealism

Listening to Sophie & Ives’ song “Awaken”. Fucking phenomenal. Product of a transoceanic love affair between two artists, an american man and a New Zealand woman. An impossible love affair made possible by the internet. The hunger of the lyrics, and embrace of the music. Fuck. This is why I love the net; this kind of stuff exists. This is how I pictured the net in the idealism of my mid-20’s, a scant decade ago.

I dug out my boxes of floppies. Decided that since I have a lot of disk space I should probably backup those dusty pieces of yesteryear onto something a little more modern. Floppies and cdroms are poor mediums for long-term archival. Took two evenings, but I got through everything. Sorted and categorized everything into driver disks, boot disks, and important data. Backed up what I felt important. Found three floppies that contained all of the data I backed up from my three VAX accounts on my last week in school, December ’95. Every worthwhile email, every source code file, every text file, every configuration file. It’s all there.

Found a philosophical op-ed piece I wrote in September ’95 in the VAX lab. Forgot that I wrote that beast. Some generic 20-something blag about “This is our/your life, this is our/your world. Take it, use it, live it!” I obviously had some high hopes about the future although I was in the midst of failing miserably in my own schooling. Had no money for books; was dropping out of classes one by one; was working a night job and distancing myself from the very reason why I was in school, and for what? Some idealistic zeal that I just couldn’t shake even after leaving the religious environment which spawned it.

Yet there I was; writing about how we may come from chaos and shackles but through hope, through grasping onto the Now, through embracing new things (like the Internet), we may liberate ourselves and live the grand life we have all imagined. It’s apparent to me, in hindsight, that I had some obviously unresolved existential issues (still do). But the heart was still there: the desire to connect with others, to reach out, trade strength with people “out there” to build for ourselves a better world. Ten years later, a slim glint of that hope still exists in me, but to be perfectly honest, I’m too tired for idealism.

I’ve spun other yarns over the years about the salvation achieved by friends and strangers reaching out and offering kind words, helpful life advice, providing solace to those desolate and of ill psyche. Yarns about how we’re all on this great worldwide network and that it’s our Tomorrow. But the past six years have tought me, if anything, that such a dream cannot, and never will, be. We have forum users calling each other fags. Image boards are waging war on each other. A genre of websites has spawned that use other site’s content in order to serve their own share of the advertising market. It’s all money and marketshare now. Genuity is out with yesterday’s newspaper, seen as a weakness and as source material for someone else’s website.

I thought anonymity would save us; but it has doomed us to partisan bickering, flames, and trolls. It’s discouraging; gives me reason to not post anything on my blog.

Published by Shawn

He's just this guy, you know?