This weekend I have been reading long magazine articles posted on the internet and about the internet. One of them was even about how its writer was coming to have a hard time concentrating on reading anything for longer than a few minutes. The internet has its built in distractions, email, hyperlinks, advertisements, and finally Google search, which provides the service of giving you something else on the same subject, something you can't help hoping might be a little more interesting.
What is in danger of being lost is the deep, contemplative concentration in which we ready ourselves for connection making rather than connection consuming.
I try to keep this warning in mind as I go on reading. An economist wants countries with poorly functioning governments, with anarchy in customs and laws, to give up control of part of their territory to another country with well functioning government and laws. Hong Kong is the modern example of this economic colonization, which has its beginning in the Lubeck free city in the 12th century.
The next article I read is about how Google has set out to save the publishing industry, which doesn't know how to save itself. Google is teaching the slow learning publishers how to adapt and benefit from the possibilities the internet offers. Google has set up new directories, open source codes for organizing video collections, has changed its algorithms to increase the likelihood of new and different publications and reports showing up in their searches. (The number of visitors to this site you are reading now has jumped as a result of Google's recent attentions.)
Another article tells the story of how successful companies generally do not adapt to changes in the market new technologies bring.
I type Google News into the Google search box, click on a listing for Google News directory. I see the site works a little like an encyclopedia, and a little like a taxonomy with its hierarchical tree. I find myself on the branch of columnists. Naomi Klein is writing in a British journal about the G-20 economic summit, and I go and read it. Protests continue in Greece and France against proposed austerity programs that would make the workers pay back the money looted from the world's economies by banks and financial speculators.
I put all this together, as an exercise in saving my mind from the dissolving effect of the internet.
Big business generally doesn't adapt to new technology. Publishing is owned by big business, and Google has to help them. Governments are controlled by big business, and Google's CEO went public of all places on TV this season saying that the US government was in the hands of lobbyists. This after Google, alone among the world's powers and institutions, defied China and refused to acquiesce in the demand to censor their content. Economists want failed countries to hand over territory to successful countries. The United States is showing itself off as a failed country. Failed economically, and failed morally too, with its falsely sold wars, its unwillingness to admit the truth to its people that it has sold itself, sold its once functioning laws and government to business. The solution to our country's problems is obvious to my contemplative, internet prepared intellect: give the USA to Google. It wouldn't even require new laws. We have the Patriot Act to allow the transportation of all American citizens to the Google-land extraterritorial zone.