Deadman's picture

    Linkgasmic ...

    The Internet is making us lazy, shortening our attention span, dulling our senses.

    We still read, but our eyes glaze over anything more than a couple of paragraphs (140 words or less please).

    We still listen to music, but now download a single onto our IPod one day and forget about it the next (how quaint the concept album now seems).

    We still have friends, but now often substitute brief, vacuous messages or a 'Second Life' for physical contact and real intimacy.

    Face(book!) it, we're becoming Twitter-ized. (If only the Internet hadn't made me so damn lazy, I'd trademark The Twitter Generation).

    Yet despite all of the Web's negative influences on society and human behavior,  the Internet remains the greatest invention of my lifetime, and I can barely imagine living without it anymore.

    The other night, doing research on why we treat dying humans so much worse than dying animals, proved once again why the Interweb is so fucking great. I started with a relatively simple search on Yahoo and ended up lost in a fascinating - often only tangentially related - linkgasmic maze of stories, personal blogs, government sites, message boards, news articles, research reports and literature analysis.

    I figured it'd be interesting, using Firefox's library tool, to give you a brief recap of my hyperlink adventure (obviously leaving out the parts where I got sidetracked into watching some porn).

    I knew I wanted to somehow incorporate Dylan Thomas' 'Do Not Go Gentle ...' poem in the headline for my post so I did a Yahoo search and visited a poetry site which included the full poem and a cool audio reading, as well as a number of other poems about aging. One of my favorites was 'Affirmation' by Donald Hall (I love the line - "To grow old is to lose everything"), though I wasn't sure what it all meant so I did another search and checked out this Yahoo Answers page.

    Then it was on to the main subject. I did a search on 'putting animals to sleep pain' cause I wanted to see if indeed the process was as painless as I had thought. I read an 'Ask the Rabbi' site for one viewpoint and explored a couple related questions. I then checked out a more negative article which stated that the sight of the needle and the injection of lethal drugs causes animals way too much anxiety and pain. Next, it was off to a somewhat grisly report on lab rat euthanasia. And finally, I read the official stance from the Humane Society.

    Next, it was time to research human euthanasia, and I started at the Wikipedia entry, where I learned more about some of the rather reasonable reasons people are against the practice (not the least of which was the fact the Nazis gave it a pretty bad name), which challenged my preconceived notion that it was all about religion.

    The Wikipedia page led me to a message board discussion on the ethics of doctor-assisted euthanasia, where one of the responses mentioned the Nancy Crick case, which shows just how complicated the issue is (Crick said she was suffering terribly from bowel cancer and eventually killed herself, but apparently the problem was not cancer - none was found in the autopsy - but potentially fixable damage caused by previous cancer-related surgeries).

    Reading up on the Crick case led me to the questionably named Compassionate Healthcare Network, an anti-euthanasia site that informed me of Oregon's Dignity with Dying Act. It actually pointed me to some not-so-distressing stats regarding that particular law as well as one absolutely fascinating story of a woman putting the law in practice. The author notes that while the woman in the story lay dying, her brother read from William Wordsworth's 'Intimations of Immortality,' ...

    ... which led me full circle back to reading about poetry on aging. Of course, Wordsworth wasn't a big fan of materialism and instead got turned on by 'splendor in the grass' and 'thoughts ... too deep for tears', so I'm going to guess he wouldn't have been a big fan of the Internet. As for me, I absolutely love 'Intimations', but damn, it's long! Who's got time to read all those words?? :-)


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