“Surfing the web” doesn’t quite capture what the average person does on the Internet. Surfing is a feat of precise physical and mental concentration and execution. It demands torturous practice and grit. And that’s just to be able to stand on the board, let alone move anywhere on it. Then, as you advance, depending on the strength of the waves you’re trying to ride, you have to work even harder. Very few people on the planet end up earning the right to qualify themselves as “surfers.” Meanwhile, the internet demands nothing from you; in fact, the more thoughtless you are, the more rewarded you are. With this attitude in real surfing, Nature would devour you, and you’d die; in digital surfing, the Internet devours you and gives you the illusion that you’re alive. Physical and mental concentration? Atrophy is the prerequisite for effective digital surfing. Real surfing harmonizes you with nature and connects you intimately to your body and your mind, yet at the same time, once you really get it, it’s a sort of Zen-like sacrifice. Digital surfing absorbs you into technology and isolates you from your body and your mind. Interestingly, you lose your self in both acts.
So what’s the greater risk? The possibility in real surfing that you might drown, or the reality in digital surfing that you are drowning and you don’t know it, or worse, you don’t care.