The writer Patricia Lockwood is noting her experience with the internet.
A few years ago, when it suddenly occurred to us that the internet was a place we could never leave, I began to keep a diary of what it felt like to be there in the days of its snowy white disintegration, which felt also like the disintegration of my own mind. My interest was not academic. I did not care about the Singularity, or the rise of the machines, or the afterlife of being uploaded into the cloud. I cared about the feeling that my thoughts were being dictated. I cared about the collective head, which seemed to be running a fever.
Reading the entire piece reminds me of the Divine Comedy, or the course I am currently taking on Dante’s masterpiece. “How do you get into the Divine Comedy,” the professor inquires of his students every term. "You have to be dead," one of them volunteers. “Or, you have to be dead by 1300 [when he started writing it].”
How do you get into the internet? You have to be alive. Or recently alive, that would be helpful. Sometime during the advent of the WWW, a someone may as well say. For the internet—like the supercharged media before it—collapses the past until a permanent present. Only the internet does it from a much larger scope. A billion times larger.
Everything happens on the same day. And it’s today. Over and over.
The mind we were in was obsessive, perseverant. It swam with superstition and half-remembered facts, pertaining to how many spiders we ate a year and the rate at which dentists killed themselves. One hemisphere had never been to college, the other hemisphere had attended one of those institutions that is only ever referred to as a bubble, though not beautiful. At times it disintegrated into lists of diseases. But worth remembering: the mind had been, in its childhood, a place of play.
It had also once been the place where you sounded like yourself. Gradually it had become the place where we sounded like each other, through some erosion of wind or water on a self not nearly as firm as stone.