I slept through the revolution…REALLY???

age of the internet

by Kenneth Justice

~ At coffee yesterday I ran into a forty-something friend of mine who began lamenting to me his woes, “Kenneth, I feel like the last decade has gone by and I didn’t even notice. I feel like Rip Van Winkle, I haven’t really done anything with my life for 10 years and everything just seems to be passing me by” he said

I guess it is easy to get into a monotonous routine in life and to one day wake up and realize it’s been ten years since you were really paying attention to things. So much of life is repetitive, wake up, go to work, come home, go to sleep, that if you’re not careful, you’ll one day wake up and realize you are much older than you remember.

A new revolution has occurred over the past few years. For a long time, the Western World was dominated by suburbia. People shopped at strip malls, raised their children at the end of cul-de-sacs, and spent their evenings watching television until they fell asleep in their Lazy-boy. But the new revolution has caused an entire generation of youth to flee the suburbs in search of cities and downtown environments.

The youth of the new millennium have grown up in an entirely different world. Pornography in the 21st century is as readily available and easy as watching Gilligan’s Island back in 1965. Flick on your computer, tablet, or IPhone and you can watch X-rated sex any time of the day, the kind of stuff that back in the day, you used to have to find at a video store as you walked shamefully past the children looking at Disney videos into the weird back room at the video store with the other middle class men wearing clunky glasses and pocket protectors.

There is a weird dichotomy in this new world that we live; young adults will spend sixty hours a week playing video games, yet at the same time they yearn for community and connectivity with each other. They search out Indie coffee houses and dive bars hoping to find likeminded individuals whom they can connect with and talk about life.

Yet, for every young adult searching out connectivity with others, there is another young adult being swallowed up by the Internet, the beastly thing that travels through all our homes. Too many young adults who should be talking, learning, and discussing truth with their peers and with older adults, are instead spending entire evenings in front of their screens watching games and making monotonous status updates on social networks.

This desire in their heart for connectivity, and all the time in solitary confinement in front of their computer screens are making a lot of people depressed. My friend at coffee expressed to me, “I think the Internet was the worst thing that ever happened to me, spending so much time on the Internet ended up making me anti-social”.

And so the suburbs are starting to decay. Old strip malls from the 1980’s and 1990’s are starting to look weathered and dumpy. Old department stores from the late 20th century have either gone out of business, or are on life support, waiting for someone to pull the plug and give them the dignity of death;

Montgomery Wards – GONE

Blockbuster Video – GONE

Borders Books – GONE

K-Mart – DYING

Sears – DYING


Many stores, like Blockbuster Video, are gone because the Age of the Internet deemed them irrelevant. When I was a young adult, a big deal in my life was hanging out at the local music store and listening to the latest C.D.’s (think the era of Nirvana). Yet the Age of the Internet killed the music industry. Local music shops went the way of the Dinosaurs, and the very few that are left only exist thanks to an extremely small number of enthusiasts who still collect vinyl records.

The Internet Age has radically changed the world around us, and things will never be the same. Social networks have connected us together in an exciting new way, yet at the same time it has isolated so many people from the basic need of REAL human interaction. The Internet simply can’t replace the real life experience of being next to someone at a coffee shop, or deep in discussion by a fireside on a crisp autumn evening.

The Age of the Internet has ushered in a new world. All the rules are changed. Everything we knew back in the day, is now up for reevaluation. Are you ready?

Just a few thoughts as I sipped my coffee this morning,


Categories: Culture & Society

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

15 replies

  1. Please, I beg you, STOP saying ‘the Western World’ and ‘Western culture’ and say ‘the American World’ and ‘American culture’.
    I really enjoy your blog posts and find them informative and stimulating, but America and European countries are not identical by any means. This particular post shows it up, you write:’People shopped at strip malls, raised their children at the end of cul-de-sacs,’ — Strip malls?? what are they? also what the hell is a ‘Lazy Boy’??
    I’m not denying that there are some areas of similarity between the USA and the UK, Ireland and western Europe, but on many levels we are VERY different. It is both arrogant and sloppy to equate us. In the past 24 months I have had to spend weeks at a time in the USA, which is a wonderful country, but every visit has confirmed to me just how different we are, despite sharing a language.
    Your blog posts are really reflecting the American zeitgeist and not necessarily other western countries.

  2. If I knew of a way to start an underground movement to alter the course of society I’d do it in a heartbeat but my efforts so far have been futile. So many people are content with the trade off of technology in lieu of personal interaction that when I bring up the subject they look at me as if I were talking nonsense. I don’t think many people believe that they are capable of making a difference and that only adds to the inner dissatisfaction they feel because we all know things are broken but it’s like we are waiting for someone else to come along and save us.

  3. Rules started to change long before “the Age of the internet” all over the world. The age of sex, drugs and fast entertainment replaced the age of love, thoughts and companionship. Internet and new methods of communications are blessings and evils at the same time. it all depends on how people use them.

  4. I am bothered by the same things as your friend. I think we are to connected electronically but not enough physically. I have been praying about this as I watch my children fight the battle to balance between electronics and real social interaction

  5. Even though knowing such era is coming, I still prefer human interactivity especially asking and discussing. Nowadays, need to use electronics as the intermediate agency. So sickening.


  6. Never ready..but nothing a good hour of reading and a cozy coffee shop chair can’t put into (albeit rose-colored) perspective

  7. I’m torn. It connects us all in ways previously unthought of. It also makes it easier for those of us with communication difficulties. On the other hand, it removes us from nature.

  8. I’m torn too. I just connected to you–a like mind–via the internet. But yesterday I was thinking, I need to get out and see my real-life friends. That person-to-person-flesh-and-blood thing is really important for keeping our sense of belonging grounded in reality. Thanks for your thoughtful post!

  9. My kids do spend a lot of time on their phones, or watching tv shows, but they spend more time with their friends. Through sports and joining clubs, they are actually very social, and out and about a lot. My college one is always doing something and going somewhere, and I can’t talk to her while she is walking to class without hearing her say hi to multiple people as she walks. My high school one either has friends here or is at a friends house on the weekend. Yes, technology has changed things, but for those that want to, there is still plenty to do and places to go if the effort is made. I think it is too easy of an excuse to use that technology keeps people from being together; it’s people that choose not, for whatever reason, to be out in the world with other people.

  10. It doesn’t matter if we’re ready…it’s here and there’s little we can do about it.

  11. Ready or not; awake or asleep;
    Age of internet gone wild and deep,
    Balance of life hard to keep 🙂

  12. Sad, but true! I was devastated when Borders closed down! Before I spent buttloads of time at Starbucks (which is where I am now as I post this comment), I would be in Borders either doing homework or going through God’s word. I miss Borders so much! When I would get tired of what I was doing, I would take my hot chocolate, and browse through the books. I loved that. Barnes and Noble just isn’t the same to me.

  13. New technologies have always generated existential angst. Socrates famously warned against writing because it would “create forgetfulness in the learners’ souls, because they will not use their memories.” I spend a great deal of time on the internet but I have also traveled abroad to meet my new found friends who I would never otherwise have had the opportunity to meet.

  14. I don’t think I’m ready, Kenneth. And I’m still mad that Borders closed! My kids and I could hang out there for hours with other people. Now I’m left with downloads on a Kindle. 😦

  15. I just about cried after reading this post. As a 40 something it is very true about the death of places like bookstores and music shops. I am one of the hearty few who collect vinyls. Thanks for your insights.

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