B L O W O U T

The Evil Machine

by Thomas Hurley

If you really loved your child, you would never let them go anywhere near the internet until they were at least 20 years old and had already developed their own personality. Looking at anything online is basically the same equivalent as driving a rusty iron spike into your brain. It’s only just now that we have come to realize the mental damage of giving someone unrestricted and easy access to all knowledge known to mankind, especially at a young and impressionable age.

I only got my first cell phone in seventh grade, and I am still recovering from that. The biggest problem with the internet is that it’s billions upon billions of artificial experiences that the brain is unable to distinguish from reality, especially a younger brain. Each image you view or person you interact with isn’t actually there in front of you, but your brain still produces the dopamine as if it’s really happening. Spend long enough online, and the things you see and do there will start to feel more real than your life. I think this is what people mean when they describe someone as “extremely online.” These “extremely online” characters are often insufferable to deal with, as they have no ability to hold a normal human interaction. They’re often rude and uncomfortable to be around because people on the internet can be mean to another without consequence, while people in real life can’t. They obsess over things that are completely alien and meaningless to other people, because the internet allows a bunch of niche autistic losers who would never meet in real life to congregate and be autistic together. These people may think that online interaction is a legitimate form of socialization, but then they actually talk to a person in real life and realize just what an incompentant freak they are.

It goes without saying that I used to be extremely online. I spent a crucial phase in my life hooked on internet interactions and living vicariously through other losers online. This was around 2012-2013, which was also a really terrible time to be online. Before the corporations realized they could make money off the internet, the nerds and freaks basically had free run of the place. Imagine the internet today, but every single website is Reddit. The lunatics truly ran the asylum, but they weren’t cool lunatics. I was probably the least cool person to be using the internet at that time. Imagine every cringe-worthy joke, every shitty digital comic, everything you were embarrassed to laugh at. That was basically me. Combine that with the vast amount of pornography to be found online, and you have a recipe for disaster. I was annoying and rude and smelly and ugly and poorly socialized. You know that HP Lovecraft story about the tiara that turns people into monsters the longer they wear it? That’s basically what the internet does to children. It morphs them from functioning humans into warped misanthropes with no sense of reality. These little goblins become too autistic to hold a normal conversation, and so they turn to the internet to cope. The internet makes them more twisted, and the cycle repeats until you either kill yourself or your parents kick you out of their basement. It doesn’t even matter who you are, the internet corrupts all the same. Normal girls quickly become vapid e-girls who need attention from random beta males to get them through life. Honestly, the same thing can happen to men, too. People can end up falling down a weird rabbit hole of disgusting sexual fetishes and completely lose their ability to form a healthy relationship. It doesn’t matter what kind of person you start out as, the internet always makes you a worse one.

Fortunately, several major events occured in my life to shift my perspective. The nature of these events aren’t important here, but overcoming a personal issue can almost always help make you a wiser person. Nowadays I use the internet mostly to communicate with my real-life friends and share content to enlighten the masses. The interactions I have and the things I do in real life are so much more worthwhile than any online tomfoolery. As you do things in your life that are meaningful, the internet and its twisted temptations lose their power. It’s just a hollow facade of cheap entertainment. It’s the digital version of an anglerfish using bright flashing lights to lure in prey.

In a way, I’m almost glad I was extremely online in my youth, because I learned early on just how awful and unfulfilling that lifestyle is. Some people don’t realize that until they’re adults who already squandered their youth, some don’t ever realize it. I now know first hand that extremely online people are often just obnoxious pricks. When I look back on memories of that time in my life, my blood boils and my body shakes and the tips of my ears turn red. I’m way more healthy and athletic now than I was then. I could easily demolish my past self in single combat. I’m talking about brutal annihilation, bones cracking and blood gushing out in hot torrents. When it’s inside a cocoon, a caterpillar’s entire body breaks down into goo so it can re-form into a butterfly. Hopefully you understand the metaphor here. Don’t ever let you or someone you love become extremely online.

Thomas Hurley

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