Search Engines VS Socializing -- Why Social Interactions are Less Necessary Than Before
Updated: Nov 16
There is this common argument against "screentime", or simply against being in front of a computer screen for long periods of time, be that in front of a phone, a computer and anything else that's connected to the internet.
According to this argument, which is usually directed at the younger generations of the world, some people spend more time online than they should, and that online time isn't good because it harms our mental health, it makes us exposed to radiation and so on. Furthermore, there is also the claim in that argument, that people should spend more time outside instead, or in other words, more time hanging out with others.
The point of this article will regard mainly the claims that can be relevant to looking up things online, instead of speaking with others, like in "the days of old", AKA, the days before the internet was so much more accessible.
As some of you may already know, I am not really in favour of socializing, AKA, in having social interactions, something which puts me in a very narrow minority.
However, I'd like you to consider this when it comes to the potential inferiority of social interactions: When it comes to gathering information, from "yes" and "no" answers to full articles such as this, one should not underestimate the fact that looking up things online is a far better option than doing so through socializing.
After all, what is one or more people in a coffee shop, compared to one of the biggest sources of data made by humanity? With so many content creators, such as myself, pumping out new and newer information to this immense source of information, it is far quicker and efficient to get information online than to do so with a friend in a recreational area.
There is a good reason as to why people nowadays are more inside their screens than with other people: Contemporary socializing has lost a great deal of its worth. In the days before the internet, you only had two options to gather external info: Read something like a book or a newspaper or talk to someone you know. In more advanced eras, that also includes the radio and the TV.
It was the internet, therefore, that revolutionized communication, and made anyone who knows an international language, like English, be able to be exposed to a far larger info-providing services, from articles on international websites, to videos. No longer socializing is as required to know something new, and thus, a vital component of social interaction is, and probably will be, forever lost.
I take great pride in my screentime, mainly because it was thanks to my computers that I learned English. I could've gone to courses and pay a greater fee, but there was no need to do so when the internet can grant to many people, the privilege of being auto-didacts, or be self-taught in other words.
I developed a philosophy of solitude specifically because of the internet, and thanks to it, I became almost entirely independent on the need to socialize, something I am also proud of. A common complaint be turned into pride, to be sure, but there is a good enough reason as to why social interactions fail to keep up in terms of functionality.
There is not even much need in debates, even in philosophy, when things can be just looked up. Do you disagree with something? Simply look up, to credible sources, the pros and cons of the subject, and you don't need to ever debate in some forum just to be knowledgeable.
Of course, it does not necessarily replace certificates and degrees, but as we already know, one does not need a degree in order to be a good philosopher, and arguably, vice versa.
Are we all social animals? That is a generalizing fallacy. Of course, that, if you are to put me in solitary confinement, I will suffer as much as the next guy, but bear in mind that one does not to be in extreme isolation, in order to be solitary in general. Remember that having an online presence doesn't necessarily make you social, as being social requires social-based interactions consistently.
I don't know why the internet deteriorates one's mental health, and I don't think the connection is mutually exclusive. Much of the world's population are addicted to the internet, and that doesn't mean that we all suffer from mental health issues.
Furthermore, "being lonely" is simply desiring better social relationships, is it not? Not all loners are lonely, and that is, unfortunately, something that isn't acknowledged as much as it should.
In Israel, we take great pride in people who know English fluently, and that is because many of us are not well-versed in this language, unfortunately. Should I be asked why I am good in English by a fellow Israeli, I will simply answer: It's because I spent much of my life online, consuming content that isn't as accessible to a native Hebrew, Arabic or Russian speaker in our country.
I don't mind being addicted to the internet, assuming I am, because the internet, at large, made me the person I am, and I wager that, I would be a very different man, if I socialized far more.