Saturday 13 August 2016

Nothing good on the internet

Every month, most days of the month, I find it harder to find anything at all that is worth looking at on the internet - well, anything good and new.

(The good stuff is pretty-much all old stuff - old books, essays, interviews, music, poems and the like.)

This is the ultimate extremity of the traditonal complaint of my generation that 'There's nothing good on The Telly'.

In my childhood this referred to two channels (BBC & ITV); by early adulthood it was four (plus BBC2 and much later Channel 4); from c 1980 supplemented by video recordings. Then from the late 90s the internet began to take over and there seemed to me at the time such a richness of good stuff that life was too short to get through it...

This was an illusion. Almost everything I used to read I would now regard as pernicious, pretentious, dishonest, foolish, hope-draining, blind-making, painting-into-the corner rubbish.

Quite possibly the criticism of nothing good also applies to this blog; I wouldn't know because I only write it, I don't have to read it.

But it is a fact - and it is actually a kind of progress in my own discernment. There never was much good on the internet; although there was more good stuff 15+ years ago than there is now; because the decline in honesty, beauty and virtue has been very rapid indeed!: news, magazines, personal web pages, blogs etc - like the major social institutions, and the traditional mass media - have gotten much worse, and the decline is palpable season by season.

However, mostly this is things coming to a point, getting clearer - the difference between the sides of God and Satan, Good and Evil, Love and Inversion, spiritual Christianity and secular Leftism are all getting painfully clear, obvious and explicit; so that it is now clear, obvious and explicit that very-nearly-everything, almost-everywhere on the internet aims to be destructive of Good; and is destructive of Good.

(Indeed, so is almost everything that supposes itself, or advertises itself, as going against secular Leftism, materialism, despairing nihilism - including nearly all the self-styled Christian material. This too I feel in my heart to be overwhelmingly nasty, cold and hard, fear and hate driven, power and ego driven... dragging me down to the same low level as mainstream modern society. Actively repellant, and increasingly therefore avoided.)

The internet is not just a trivial yet addictive waste of time, but a pernicious and systematic attempt to demoralise, terrorise and corrupt each and every one of us.

No need for hysterics! - that is just the way it is, and we must be calmly realistic about the fact.

As a strong generalisation there is indeed nothing good on the internet - and ever less.

NOTE: This was the general theme of my 2014 book Addicted to Distraction  - - but three years down the line from writing it, I would now regard that volume as having been insufficiently strongly expressed.


360 Decrees said...

It's handy for finding owner's manuals to obscure gadgets.

I found a real neat pumpkin pie recipe a couple of years ago. (

I guess I could have gone to the public library for the latter.

drizzz said...

Yes, if you need a recipe, or find out how to fix something, etc. it is an amazing resource without taking up the room of a giant library where you still wouldn't be able to find what you were looking for. It's also a source for daily puzzles, old photos, books and lots of music among other things(although probably too much music- there's so much it can become hard to ever be satisfied if that makes sense).

Luke said...

I think I disagree. 99% of almost anything will be bad or wrong. A similarly high percentage of religions are wrong, but I wouldn't generalize that to saying that no religion is true or that there is no good to be found in those that are not completely true, or even many mostly wrong ones.

Luqman said...

There is no better available way to rapidly create and settle in false selves (especially in the adolescent) than the internet. That there is near nothing good in it is a reflection of what we are, but that does not make its harm more palatable. It amplifies what already exists and since we are in a surfeit of evil there is an expected result. The increase is exponential, not linear, but that amplification works both ways. I dont doubt that in many small and individual ways it has been an instrument of leading people out of falseness rather than further into it.

Speaking for myself, the internet turned out to be beneficial, but in hindsight there were so many pitfalls that emerging to where I am seems a miracle. One immediate good thing was that it kept me almost wholly away from television. A few synchronicities also occured via its use that I cannot ignore. I dont really think anything is evil in itself, it could not be as it is all from the same source. Evil is a privation that relies on will and intent. Nevertheless, the jury is still out for my own case and it is certainly a powerful weapon in the hands of the deceiver.

Do you think writing your thoughts and preparing them for some kind of consumption by others has helped you Dr. Charlton? As opposed to keeping a journal I mean. I have found that writing to an audience is rapidly clarifying in a way private writing is not even if no one actually reads it. Pretending does not work the same way as well.

Albrecht said...

You have to discriminate. It's a human thing. What do you want?

Bruce Charlton said...

@Luq - "Do you think writing your thoughts and preparing them for some kind of consumption by others has helped you Dr. Charlton?"

I think so. But I have been writing and 'publishing' a lot for about 25 years - I used to publish normal 'journalism' pretty frequently,something every few weeks on average, and I have virtually stopped doinf that.

But publishing daily has only been possible by the internet, and it does seem to be helpful.

We need to be careful in evaluating technology - in an 'ultimate' sense all technologies are 'neutral' but that is not much help in evalutaing them. After all, there were apparently remarkable acts of human goodness in Nazi concentration camps and Soviet Gulags which would not otherwise have happened - but that doesn't justify them as institutions. In particular it should not deter us from abolishing them, or letting them die off.

I have a feeling that the genuine usefulness of the internet in some of the ways mentioned would sound pretty feeble when put against the net effect on Man.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

One of the most salient effects of the Internet has been the explosion of pornography, to the point where there must be vanishingly few people in developed countries who have never viewed it. The hidden psychological and social effects of this must be enormous, and have surely played a role in the recent acceleration of the sexual revolution.

BenL said...

Similar to to Luqman I doubt I would be where I am now without the internet. Also, in part, because it kept me away from the TV (where the toxicity is force fed and pernicious).

Bruce is right though: That shouldn't affect how you evaluate it as an institution though.

Bruce Charlton said...

Ben, I suspect that we will need to be prepared to give up the internet, pretty much, in order to reverse the trend to spiritual death.