A maze of dangerous tangents

"One of the things our grandchildren will find quaintest about us is that we distinguish the digital from the real."
— William Gibson

The human brain is often simplified to a simple problem-solution machine (usually by lazy writers and journalists), when in reality it is constantly abuzz with a multitude of tangential micro-thoughts and wonderings, no matter the situation. The mind is complicated and messy and in a permanent state of diversion.

I remember seeing Daniel Kitson on stage a couple of years ago and he traced a spider-diagram in the air depicting his typical thought process. No matter what the situation was, his brain would always spend a split second considering otters.

And so it is with the web. It amazes me sometimes the route I'll take from A to B, A usually being an email, tweet or RSS post that reminds me to do B. A typical journey between one and the other will offer so many hyperlinked distractions, that I can end up forgetting where I was going in the first place. By the time I'm back on course, I've angrily tweeted about a couple of things, added something to my wishlist, discovered a new magazine that I have to buy, reconsidered my choice of spectacles, commented on the latest cast addition to the Dark Knight Rises, added a dozen things to my bookmarks and, on at least one occasion, accidentally signed up for a right-wing fundamentalist Christian newsletter.

A lot of the time I don't even end up at B at all. B has been forgotten about completely, and I'm now at J, usually with the cursor hovering over a Buy Now button and a puzzled look on my face. How did I get here? What was I doing? I appear to be holding the contact details of my dentist in my hand, so why the heck am I about to spend £60 on a toy cargo ship?

The web is a maze of dangerous, expensive tangents. As an analogue of the human brain, it is unsurpassed, and it's forever growing vaster and more complex and intertwining itself with our ways of thinking. And we are growing ever more lost and quaint. Might as well enjoy it while we still understand it.

Now go watch some otters.