360 Degrees

Taking a keen look at everything that has been happening in the world today, one can definitely witness a cosmic imbalance of the existent and the make-believe. What’s incredibly amazing is that it doesn’t take geniuses, scientists or well-rounded researchers to see the fact that the world we live in has already undergone a myriad of inevitable changes that all the more caused its great, yet unnoticed, decline.

This fact has become frighteningly tangible that it has already turned into something that can never be doubted or denied. It is in our homes every time the sports enthusiast father turns on the television using the remote control, or when the lazy house helper uses the vacuum cleaner in tidying up the grimy carpet instead of grabbing the broomstick. It is in the society every time our important appointments get postponed or even cancelled because of the severe congestion caused by hundreds of vehicles crowding the intersection, or every time we enter the elevator feeling rather lost in such a closed space upon noticing everyone speaking through a mobile phone. It is in almost everything we do and everywhere we go but above all, it is in our hearts.

Countless developments have dramatically altered the lives of many people especially those living in highly urbanized and excessively commercialized sectors of the world. One invention I know may be held responsible for the altered lives of many is the Internet.

Isn’t it just interesting how one invention can turn the world around? Well, I’m not exactly sure if everyone else feels the same way I do. I cannot confidently say that everyone agrees that our world has experienced a full-turn from zero to hero. So to say the least, I am a hundred percent positive that this invention, the Internet, has given me, if not the world, a breath-taking ride on a rollercoaster.

Ever since I was a little kid, the Internet has been something I always like to question. Of course, the questions I ask myself about it change every time I grow a year older. When I was just four years old, the computers I got to see were all black and white. I still remember how I used to ask the elder people in the family, “What is that? Is that a toy? Why is it in black and white?” Obviously, I wasn’t paying much attention every time they answered me using very technical terms and definitions because I didn’t ask those questions just once. I kept on asking even though I didn’t understand a thing. Maybe it’s because that’s just the way it is for any four-year old. One answer was never enough for me back then. So I waited.

Unfortunately for me, I never had the chance to get my hands on an Internet-connected computer until I was in Second Grade. Believe it or not, I waited for four innocent years to finally get to experience information technology. Technically, my story with the Internet started when I was eight years old. We were still using a dial-up connection back then. The first thing I did was type the name “Lindsay Lohan” on the search bar. She became my crush after I watched the hit family-themed comedy movie The Parent Trap in 1998. I was really excited of what the outcome of my search would be. When I hit the “enter” button, I saw many pictures of her. She was effortlessly charming in her pictures back then. I was going over images of her and I felt a certain feeling of being powerful. It’s like I thought to myself that with the aid of the Internet, I could see whatever I wanted to see and know whatever I needed to know. That moment, I said to myself that I was the mightiest kid on this side of the planet.

Years went on passing me by, and I found myself getting more and more comfortable using the Internet. The things I searched went from Lindsay Lohan to some serious school stuff. In Sixth Grade, I kept on consulting the Internet with a hope of getting the answers I was looking for to complete my homework. I had been searching for the branches of Science, phases of matter, Kingdom Animalia, Mathematical properties, the Philippine History, William Shakespeare, The Battle of Mactan, parts of the human body and almost anything that went rushing to my mind. The list goes on, and it became surprisingly longer when I stepped into High School.

Facebook, Friendster, Twitter, Tumblr, Tagged, My Space and all the other social networks took a large portion of my High School years. As far as I can recall, not a day passed by when I didn’t log in to any social networking website. Call me a typical teenager, but that’s the truth. I admit I had my own share of sleepless nights and flunking grades all because of non-stop use of the Internet. That time, I somehow felt that something was wrong and that it will turn worse if I continued to splurge my time in front of the computer screen exchanging small talks with random people and posting random thoughts online; however, I kept on going. I obsessed myself with the Cyberspace even more. Little did I know that the answers to my questions are just somewhere around the corner, and they all gradually appeared clearly after I graduated and got a piece of realization.

For many years, I made myself believe that I was getting the right answers to my questions. Just one click on the search button, and everything is done. Well at least that’s what I chose to believe. I even came to a point where I almost praised the World Wide Web for giving me sweat-free access to countless things and places through the virtual realm, but it’s really true that one earthly event can change everything you know about one thing. Not long after I thought of actually praising the Internet, I got an intensive wake-up call.

I entered college with a severe case of what most people dub as “The Freshman’s disease”. I entered a university that drowned me in a sea of unfamiliar faces. It is a university which is miles away from home and I was consequently deemed to live in a dormitory with more than 100 strangers. If I were to describe the first few weeks of my college life in one word, I’d say “disaster”. I was crying beneath my pillow for three consecutive nights and I could barely eat without feeling like passing out. The day arrived when I could no longer breathe easily. I missed the comforts of home so badly, and I just needed a way to escape from the misery I was in. I texted some of my high school friends. I also exchanged a few words with them in Facebook. I received a couple of calls from Dad. I tried to get all the help I could, but nothing could ever erase the fact that I was there— in a foreign strip of land away from home and from my comfort zone, without my friends and family. After that day, I braved myself and decided to try my hardest to adjust to the whole college way of living. I stepped out of my dorm room, interacted with a couple of strangers, gave away a sincere smile and the next thing I know I was already laughing with a bunch of great people while having lunch at the university cafeteria. Apparently, I was able to overcome the challenge thrown to every freshman during his first few weeks in college.

Where was the Internet when I was suffering from the Freshman’s Disease? It was nowhere. I didn’t go looking for “Ten Ways to Survive Freshman Year” in the Internet. I got through it because I faced my fears.

The Internet helped me in finding everything from entertainment to facts. With its aid, I learned many things in the easiest and fastest way. It also helped me in getting my assignments and other works done in no time. In a broader view, it has helped the human race in rising from the ashes of developmental ignorance and technological illiteracy. The Internet has taught us all to live a life of more progress in less time. However, there are just those things the Internet can never offer. True, it has provided us with information, but it hasn’t provided us with life.

I don’t know if I’m being excessively poetic or if I’m just being effectively metaphoric, but I do believe that the Internet is one of life’s sensational journeys, and in every journey comes a piece of learning. After all those years of being with the Internet, I’ve finally seen its concealed essence.

It’s true. The Internet turned my life 360 degrees around. It made me experience numerous virtual escapades, but it never gave me the capacity to completely escape reality. When I was down and miserable, it wasn’t the Internet that helped me. I realized that it is only when we face our problems can we solve them. Some inventions like the Internet are there to make us believe that maybe somewhere, somehow, there is an easy way of life, but there is no such thing as “easy”. The reality is that this world is full of wrath, darkness and danger, and there’s nothing and no one else that can possibly save us from falling apart other than ourselves.

The Internet almost turned me into a delusional coward, but I stayed in the journey and I was taken 360 degrees away from reality and back at it once again.

            Reality. This is what the Internet taught me.

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