Information’s constant change on the Web is great and beneficial miracle, but the locked, discrete and contained knowledge experience of printed information gives me something that I can finish, and finishing, for a number of reasons, feels good.
Reaching the end of a book unleashes the divine moment: a line goes through that piece of knowledge I wanted to acquire. A unit, processed. A tally, tallied. Something is done. I’ve got this … thing that I can file on a shelf and say, “Aye, I placed its 300 pages within my mind.” Sure, endings are illusions. They’re a construction serving the convenience of our emotions, mortality and limitations. Concepts do not freeze, only our expression of them. They’re liquid.
Like the Web.
But I’m never done on the Web.
There is always more. Always changes. Updates. Yes, these things happen with books, too, but it’s slow. Really slow. Slow enough that the knowledge can seep in, grow, become part of me.
Knowledge on the Web is a five-headed water dragon breathing napalm, snapping its teeth like a bear-trap drumroll and screeching like a baby next to a power drill. It most certainly does not become part of me. At best, I hop on the beast’s back and try to guide it somewhere. I love this for its own merits.
But I’m starting to need heavy doses of Buddhism just to feel comfortable with the modern information environment.
Knowledge has always been a conversation. It’s just happening very fast now, and everything indicates our hunger for Instantaneous updates and alterations to what we know. Latest and greatest, please.
But everything else has to shift to accommodate that.
I’m shifting. Shifted. Something got lost.