Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cyberspace, An Alternative Existence

Except for a few hurried light scribblings I have not written much close to two months now. Despite having so much time in my hands none of it was spent on anything worthwhile putting into print. I blame my having enjoyed inordinately the internet slot machine games which were available for free in several game websites. After a while the mesmerizing effect of the tumbling icons and the circus like music together with the ingenious bells and whistles begin to be a come-on that was difficult to ignore and reject. I would go on for hours just watching my money gains go up and down. As in real life gambling invariably I end with nothing but then I can draw money again and again provided by the bank cashier in the game’s system. It is so much like having a bank account of infinite resource or having rich parents that allow you to indulge in an unrestrained gambling spree. I keep telling myself to get rid of this addiction before I turn into a babbling idiot with an atrophied ball of gray matter. Add to this the compelling allure of Facebook which occupies too much of one’s time because one posting would elicit quite a number of responses that you cannot ignore lest you become a rude cyber gangstah and be a pariah to this new societal collocation composed of family and friends. Other mind retarding preoccupations such as compendia of trivia, games and invitations to interest groups exist encouraged by social networking sites which allow for interacting of all kinds, worthwhile or otherwise. It may not be a lost cause at all since it allows many minds, otherwise idle, to be engaged in lively interaction even if they never amount to anything productive or morally uplifting. There is virtue to doing something because it is there...I think.
It’s remarkable how cyber sphere imitates real life. It seems that out there is another dimension of existence that is easily accessible to most of us. It is a limitless vast land populated by millions of transients who reside in it by the hour, some as little as by the minute...a new adoptive country, as it were. The remarkable thing about it is that anyone from the millions of its citizens has the ability to interact with each other with little restrictions and rules governing the interplay. No sovereignty exists here and no racial, geographical, beliefs and social stature casting are imposed. There is open exchange of information and opinion with some seemingly ineffectual attempts at censorship. The earlier concept of it being an information highway is still very much an apt analogy with us, the in and out citizens, at liberty to pick up what suits us, what entertains us, what affirms our beliefs, what satisfies our quest for information. In the same token we also practice selectiveness and reject information that is offensive to us, inane to us, incredible to us, harmful to us and of no use to us. It no longer is a highway but a new found land where we enjoy equal rights with the rest of the non-indigenous natives.
As in any new found land, the pristine beauty and the idealism of the place start to shed its shine and innocence as time and people overrun the landscape. No sooner than exploitative new comers take advantage of the potential of the land for commerce and other productive endeavours, exploitation of the insidious kind follow closely at its heels.
It is still a wonder how existence in it could still be bearable with the seeming lack of restraints, the absence laws, the lack of personal, institutional and national accountability for postings. Is the natural goodness of man in general allowing it to run with its citizens behaving well on their own volition? There are negative elements existing in this modern day Utopia but they seemed to have been contained to the minimum. Yet we cannot ignore the scams, the pornography, the untruths, the bad taste, the bad mouthing which grow each day.
What of those who wish to use it for acts of terrorism? I guess we do not have to worry much about that. The promoters of terrorism have yet to learn doing violence of the unphysical kind. Bombs and bullets in cyberspace remain as abstractions and do not have any physical components that can inflict mayhem on people. Terrorists remain as troglodytes when it comes to the written word and graphics and may never have the capability to create postings and other ingenious manipulations of the system with the effect of incendiaries and explosives that would wreak havoc in cyber space. Not yet, anyway.  
It would be a pity if the new culture emerging from cyber space would be aborted by these fanatical hooligans. If some of us have already given up on the current state society and the larger world is, the emergence of a new culture, ersatz as it may seem, can provide comfort for now and some straw-like hopes to grasp no matter how nebulous.