“Every minute a new impossible thing is uploaded to the internet and that improbable event becomes just one of hundreds of extraordinary events that we’ll see or hear about today. The internet is like a lens which focuses the extraordinary into a beam, and that beam has become our illumination. It compresses the unlikely into a small viewable band of everyday-ness. As long as we are online – which is almost all day many days — we are illuminated by this compressed extraordinariness. It is the new normal.
The good news may be that it cultivates in us an expanded sense of what is possible for humans, and for human life, and so expands us. The bad news may be that this insatiable appetite for supe-superlatives leads to dissatisfaction with anything ordinary.”
The “dissatisfaction with anything ordinary” of which Kelly speaks is reflected on its most basic level through the fact that we sometimes struggle to keep our brains occupied independently – for instance, think about how often you have your cellphone with you, and how quick you are to whip in out in a moment of quiet to spare yourself the perceived boredom of being alone with your own thoughts. We don’t often enough grant ourselves what we most need: some time disconnected from any major external stimulation.
I’ll be the first to admit that the internet contains an abundance of “extraordinariness,” and it has surely revealed avenues to me that I would never have discovered nor had access to otherwise. It is an amazing tool, one which often seems limitless. However, in order to get the most out of the tools we have at our disposal, we need to learn how to use them properly. If we don’t, they end up inhibiting us as opposed to increasing who we are and what we’re able to achieve. Our reality is no longer what it should be; which is that not all aspects of daily life are astonishing or even interesting. This is necessary because if every moment was extraordinary, no moment would be extraordinary. Just because there are countless incredible things available at our fingertips at any given time doesn’t mean we need to be constantly engaged with them. We need moments apart from that.
Cultivate the ability to simply be. If you give your mind the opportunity, you might just be surprised by what it’s capable of and where it may take you.