Those Boring Aliens

I was just thinking how we seem to take the Internet for granted so soon after it was created. I remember how enthralled I was on the first day that I used the Internet. I had a 1.2kbps modem, it was text-only, and well before the time of the WWW. Still, I was so excited that I stayed up for 24 hours on that first day.

I think if alien space ships landed tomorrow in Trafalgar Square, by next year we’d be talking about the aliens in our usual, semi-bored way, “Yea…those Aliens…” Yes, it’s wonderful that we’re such adaptable creatures - that we adapt so quickly to new things - but I am sorry that most of what we once found wonderful, so quickly loses its sparkle.

For most of my life I could only scribble my thoughts into little cardboard-bound notebooks. I never could have imagined that one day I’d be able to enter my thoughts into a notebook, only to turn the page and almost magically find a reply to my thought from someone halfway across the planet. It’s simply incredible.


Yea I don’t like when things lose it’s “sparkle”. I’d say leave it for a while but that doesn’t always work. After a while you adjust and learn to live without it. There’s really no way around it. One of the fantasy books I was reading had a part about this race of people that forgot everything every time they fell asleep. They stayed youthful and ignorant all their lives having parties every day. It has it’s appeal but I don’t think I’d prefer that sort of life over this.

I don’t even remember the first time I used the internet though. I don’t think I even knew what it was. I don’t take the idea of it for granted though. Nor the experience but there are times when I’d prefer other things. With so many things to think about It’s no wonder we lose touch on how much things mean. When your mind wanders to a specific area you realize how much it means to you though.

Me too, but there was WWW at the time I got internet… I guess I was one of the last people to get it in my building. I stayed up for hours and hours, and all I thought about all day was to get online. The 1st phone bill almost got me killed by my parents.

I think it would take us more than that… we still see people from other origins a bit differently yet, but I guess we would get used to them eventually.

That’s an interesting thought… A friend of mine started using those online journals, I thought… why not. I got a bit addicted to it cos I am used to write a lot, but it was odd. I could read about people’s life, people I don’t even know and even comment something. It’s very strange. I remember that there was loads of talks about how internet was destroying human contact… but I don’t think it does… I think it changed how we get in touch with people, that’s all.

I love the livejournals and stuff. Me only concern about the internet and people interacting across it is that human interaction doens’t get too impersonal. Too 3rd person, instead of 1st.

I suppose the interest would be at first about them and any differences then it would depend on how interesting they actually were were. and if at all they were interesting, that would affect how long it would take for the novelty to wear off.

Maybe they are even already here :slight_smile:)


At least on the internet i get the chance to say what i think before people walk out on me.
Also, we gather in groups of interests. Like we here, we all like discussions, and, supposedly, all of us are looking to find truths… or even, maybe, put in test their knowledge… or something. But here we are. I wonder whether i could go to a pub and start talking about human existence with total strangers. Very unlikely to happen.
Of course am not in a pub, am at work, but the forum does its job well.

Another thing i like about internet is that you can ‘see’ things (if people are being fair) that you would judge differently live.

If i was a punk lady with tons of body piercings and gree hair discussing Descartes with a man well dressed with a Descartes’ book on his hands… everything would be different. So, not having a face, is quite good at time. However, sometimes, people forget that there are other people… living creatures… on the other side talking to us, and relations can get very ‘aggressive’.

Clementine is right; almost no one talks about philosophy outside of a lecture hall. Rather than a pub, I spend a bit of my time each week in a cafe. You know, the French existentialists discussed philosophy in their left-bank cafes, such as Cafe de Flore or Les Deux Magots. But I can assure you that I’ve never heard the folks at the table next to me discuss Being or The Absurd. To my ear it sounds as if people talk mostly about “a whole lot of nothing.” I suppose the fact that people have to use their heads all day on the job is a valid excuse for not using their heads when they relax. They have the same excuse for their sitting slack-jawed in front of the television each evening. But I can’t use this excuse. I normally don’t have to think very hard about my job (I’m actually at work now). I don’t have a valid excuse for not thinking about my life even as I live it.

Some people leave their television on all day. I end up leaving my mind on all day. I actually don’t know where the off-button to my brain is located. I’m still thinking when my head hits my pillow at night. The thoughts continue to stream-in, they just become progressively more silly until I fall asleep, at which point they become dreams. In the morning it takes a few seconds to re-boot my system. The first thing I do is re-establish who I am, where I am at, and what’s happened to me recently that should be reflected in my mood. Once that’s done my mental conveyor-belt is already dumping thoughts on the floor of my mind. I’m off again on a mad scramble to retrieve the “wheat from the chaff.”

I imagine the people that I pass on the street are thinking, but since they’ve no video display attached to their heads I’ve no idea what they are thinking, or the depths of their thoughts. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you’re alone in thinking important thoughts, while the rest of humanity are only a half-step removed from Zombies. To a limited extent, it’s possible to infer what people are thinking by their actions. But philosophical thoughts are normally too complex to be inferred from actions (hmm…a philosophical action?).

We can’t get away fast enough from people who blurt out every mundane thought that enters their consciousness (if it actually gets that far). But most people, fortunately, are private by-nature. We’re circumspect with the things we tell each other. It’s unseemly to wear one’s heart on one’s sleeve. We have from Othello, Act 1, scene 1:

For when my outward action doth demonstrate
The native act and figure of my heart
In complement extern, ‘tis not long after
But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve.
For daws to peck at. I am not what I am.

All philosophy is somewhat autobiographical in nature, and as such, it’s rightfully dear to us. It’s sensible not to tell the grocer about our metaphysics. We don’t put our philosophy out where the daws might peck at it. When a man offers his thoughts for my scrutiny it’s nearly as if he’s taken the picture of his wife from his pocket and placed it in my hands. I’d never be so callous as to say, “God, what a cow!” No matter what she looks like, the way he’s spoken about her and the delicate way he handles her photo tells me that this image is precious to him, and I’m likewise compelled to treat it with deference. So it should be with our philosophical ideas.

Cle wrote:

We’ve a good reason to be initially wary about strangers. They might be turn out to be the unfriendly sort, or what’s sometimes worse, they might be too friendly. So, we watch them for a while, from a distance.

I began lifting weights at a new gym last February. I knew, going in, that the “regulars” would be sizing me up. For some months I’d ask, “How’s it going?” and I’d barely get a grunt in reply. But I knew from past experience that the important thing is to be patient and resist concluding that these guys are just a bunch of jerks. Patience wins in the end; a window is opened slightly here and a door left ajar there. I’m considered one of the “regulars” now. Those that barely acknowledged my existence in the beginning now walk across the room to chat with me. One guy is a Captain on a 777 aircraft. I’ve met his wife and kids. It turns out that another guy plays the classical lute and has his doctorate in German literature. My wife and I are going to a Christmas party at his house this year. Another guy told me that he had to sell his restaurant to care for his mother who suffers from dementia, but he manages to do a bit of acting on the side. Another one told me of his passion for landscape painting. Some of his paintings are currently being shown in a nearby gallery and I have it on my list to make a visit. My point is that these muscle-head “jerks” have turned out to be the most wonderful of human beings. They’ve the same hopes and fears and the same joys and sorrows as I have. The same goes for nearly everyone we pass on the street. Just because I don’t know about their life doesn’t mean they don’t have one. And the fact that I can’t know their thoughts doesn’t mean they’re Zombies.

The anonymity of this forum works to our advantage, at least in the early stages. Since we’ve the option of pulling the plug at any time we choose, we can afford to be a bit more daring with what we tell each other. We needn’t be wary that the people here to which we confide our thoughts will show up at our house tonight at dinnertime. Internet forums are wonderful in that they let us bend the normal rules of propriety. But to make a friend is to take a risk, and we’ve risked almost nothing here. This fact alone is an effective limit to our interactions. So, I agree with Cle that the impersonal nature of the Internet cuts both ways.

BTW, for what it’s worth, there’s a picture of me at


===All philosophy is somewhat autobiographical in nature, and as such, it’s rightfully dear to us. ===

all existence is autobiographical, the way it is then biographically understood can only correctly be said as to apply if one has that biographical basis that it may be interpreted as to be.

that is a doctors biography could be understood more maybe if knowing of what it is to be a doctor.

the internet provides a ground for more understanding as it is based on mutual understanding that is of validity. it positions users to position themselves free from any precontexts that could be made visually.

as such interest is either increased or expanded

and that involves communication and learning which is always a good thing