Electronic addiction a personal essay

Eric Jacobsen


Welcome to the world of the over stimulated, desensitized, and burnt out. There is a huge problem in our society, a problem that I cannot claim to be free of by any means; in fact, as I sit here writing this I am feeling its effects. The worst part of this issue is that it started for me in early childhood, as it did for many others. Kids start younger than ever before and they use more frequently. The fix is never good enough. New mediums are being created and old ones are being improved all the time. Our largest industries revolve around it. It seems to create in the users a need for more and more; it is an unending cycle that eventually can destroy one’s life socially and in every other way too.
When did this problem start? It has been around since the turn of the century, but at that time it was not nearly as common as it is now and it didn’t often consume people’s lives as it does today. As people experimented they developed more effective techniques but it wasn’t until the late fifties that the problem first came in to the average home. In my opinion the invention of the television set was the beginning of the end of humanity, as they knew it. Now, since I was not alive for any time before this happened, I cannot know for sure that things were significantly different then, but all the films and television shows I have seen seem to indicate that it was. Apparently there was a time when people still had the ability to talk to each other seriously and for periods of time that exceeded twenty minutes; legends presented in a million pixels of high definition tell me that at one point people lived their lives through experiences that were their own, they read books and decided what they needed by themselves. I cannot know what this would be like for I have grown up with all the available forms of consuming media my entire life. I was two when I first started watching television, three when I watched my first video, four for my first film in a theater, and I was about six when I first learned to use a computer. As I grow older I would like to think that I am separating myself from this, but that is not the case. Right now I sit in front of my computer with my stereo headphones on, playing music from a list of over four hundred songs, writing poetry to friends over the internet, and using a microphone that takes the sounds of my environment and feeds them though a maze of green on green circuit boards and then mixes them with my music and I can hear myself typing this though my music is rather loud. It is a very surreal experience for it is a new one. Soon, however, as I get used to it, I will think that something’s wrong when I don’t have my microphone on. I realize that although I control the media more, I\'m still a heavy user.
It has been argued that this new phenomenon of being able to interact with your media makes it less brain sucking and, in a sense, that is true, but I would argue that although it does require the user to be thinking and this is a good thing in some respects, it also distances one further from reality. I am not alone in developing reflexes that are only usable on a computer interface and attempting to apply them to my real life. I have a close friend who has tried to strafe out of the way when he thought he saw a terrorist coming towards him. He has also tried to Z target moving objects. I have had similar experiences. I was recently at a party listening to the music and I found my self picking out the beats in the song and figuring out what they were called and what the sequence would look like on my beat creation program --the beats were Hardcore 909 (reversed) BD 1, Sub BD and 808