Brian Krausz

I build internet things

The Internet and Thought

June 6, 2008

When I find myself thinking about something often, something that bothers me, I have the strange habit of Googling it.

I just realized that I do it, because normally when I’m deep in thought I just happen to be sitting at a computer, and I just happen to type something into that oh-so-useful quicksearch bar (apparently I have the ability to surf the net as background noise, much like how people have a TV on in the background, not really listening, but still able to pick up some things). These thoughts aren’t even necessarily technology-based, they can be about family, relationships, education, or a plethora of other topics. I’ll dump out a stream of Google searches looking for something interesting, like I’ll find someone who’s already had a similar thought pattern and found the answer for me, or perhaps just for words that will inspire new directions for my thoughts. Occasionally I find an article on some blog that’s close to what’s on my mind, and it does help clear my thoughts. More importantly, it answers the question “am I crazy?”, where crazy is defined as being “a minority of one” (as 1984 so eloquently puts it).

This is an interesting connection. I’ve been told many times that my thought process is different, and I’ve learned that often my train of thought makes no sense to other people (I don’t even try to replay elaborate thought processes anymore). Finding someone who “gets me” is rare, and usually it will only apply to one particular field. I find people who “get me” in terms of my views on relationships, family, sex, politics, or technology, but rarely everything or even a majority of things. Realizing this is a very lonely feeling, especially when you can’t find anyone who understands your views on a particular topic, or can/wants to approach it from a particular angle. Finding people with similar thoughts validate your own. Group mentality I suppose…when people agree with you you avoid having to question your beliefs. The internet has provided a means to find people with similar views, and a lot of the innovations on the web have been at least partially driven by this search. Forums, search, social networks. How often does one seek out the those with opposite views for discussions. Do Firefox fans chat on IE forums? Do Catholics post to Scientology mailing lists? With the exception of trolling, I find the answer is overwhelmingly no. It’s easy to find people who agree with you, and comforting.

So I guess I’ll wrap this up with a couple of questions:

  1. Do you find yourself searching randomly for things that are on your mind? (Ironic how I’m trying to validate my method about how I validate ideas by seeking out others with the same views as me by seeking out others with the same method as me).
  2. Do you ever seek out opposite views for reasons other than amusement or trolling? Do you do this for things you feel very strongly about, or things you are on edge about?

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