As we search the Web these days looking for information, often using large search engines such as Google to guide our search, most of us are probably still under the impression that we are still freely in control of where our search is taking us. That is, we believe that we are simply using advanced technology to freely explore different aspects of our world, without being conditioned or controlled by that same technology. Yet at the same time, there are a couple of dynamics that, if we took some time to examine them, might lead us to believe otherwise in apprehending just how deeply our minds and brains are being controlled even as we believe we have absolute freedom in how we are using the Internet to inform us.
One is that as we search for knowledge or information online, we follow digital learning paths that originate entirely outside us, instead of following ones that originate in our own networks of thought and long-term memories. That is, our thinking minds are often being externalized to the point to where our creative thought processes might actually exist outside of them. As a consequence of this, as virtual pathways that exist outside the neuronal pathways in our brains begin to not only significantly control them, but even begin to fuse with them, we may be actually losing the freedom to determine where our own thoughts might take us.
The other potentially dangerous dynamic to which we might be subjecting ourselves is that we are become ever more conditioned by the information on the Web itself even as we are under the assumption that we are freely investigating our world. As a result of this, our own internal space, that which might allow us to keep the world we inhabit at arm’s length so that we might investigate how we are becoming conditioned by it, is in danger of being significantly swallowed by the virtual world that we employ to seek knowledge and information simply because the virtual pathways inside our phones and PCs and our own neuronal pathways are often becoming one and the same.
Furthermore, what tends to be so insidious about this whole process is simply that because our minds and brains are becoming so heavily conditioned by the same technology that we are using to explore ourselves and our world, it becomes extremely difficult for those same minds and brains to actually step outside this same process in order to observe what it is doing to us. In fact, it is very much like Ouroboros, the snake that is eating its own tail. Ultimately, unless increasing numbers of people begin to step outside the process of how the Internet is affecting us at a deeply psychological level, we may in fact increasingly become the new robots who believe we still have free choice even as it is slipping away from us.