Shouts & Murmurs: Kipplenauts we Are

by phil on Wednesday Feb 11, 2004 6:26 PM
information overload

(Click here to hear me read this outloud)

What if I just stopped reading?

Do I really need to read slashdot, MSNBC, news.Google, and Slate? Do I need to know who wins the Democratic Nomination? Do I need to see the latest tech gadget? Do I need to understand our evolving society better? Do I need need need need to know?

I've read so many articles I feel like I can complete each narrative by reading the first few lines. If the article is about technology and ethics, it'll end with like, "It is precisely these questions about what it means to be human that we must face, in facing the future... blah blah blah." Most of all writing out there are just recycled patterns and trajectories of topics rehashed and rehashed. You can even see where this post is going.


A-hah! You didn't see that coming? Oh wait, you did: it fit the Standard Non-Sequitor Angst Lunge Format.


Philip K. Dick coined the phrase "kipple" as the sinister type of rubbish which simply builds up without any human intervention, like bubble gum wrappers.

In taking stock of what the Internet is churning out every millisecond, most of its kipple, and we are all kipplenauts. Ultimately that's what we are, surfing through this spew out there, trying to make sense of it, and turn it into something more than kipple.

What if I just stopped speaking? Would that make any difference?

I'm thinking really hard... is there anything in the last 72 hours that I had to say? Hmm, nope. Nothing more than to make myself look socially normal, like, "is this seat taken?" or "yes, you may borrow my pencil." But I could've just as well picked another seat and wrapped myself and silence.

I wonder what would happen if one rebellious neuron in the brain had an uprising and said, "I don't want to connect, I don't want to take these stimuli coming here and transfer them over there with these probabilities. I'm sick of it, sorry." Maybe that's how Alzheimer's starts to kick in.

I've been having this fantasy in my classes lately. I'll close my eyes, and picture myself lying on a raft in the middle of the Mississippi River. The sun is beating on my skin and the gentle flow of the river is slowly rocking my path. And all of a sudden I disappear.

Fortunately, thanks to man's ingenious resourcefulness, I have been achieving this through meditation. I'll sit there, paying attention to my rhythmic breathing, and then after ten minutes I'll disappear. Time stops marching and instead slips forward. I become invisible like Bilbo Baggins putting on the One Ring.

Anyways, what does all of this mean? This is the point in the post where I say, "I guess we all need a pause sometime."

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