Splitting The Self

Brian Knutson argues that the instantaneous pleasure of the internet creates a gulf between our present and future selves:

Thus, if the present self doesn't feel a connection with the future self, then why forego present gratification for someone else's future kicks? Even assuming that the present self does feel connected to the future self, the only way to sacrifice something good now (e.g., reading celebrity gossip) for something better later (e.g., finishing that term paper) is to slow down enough to appreciate that connection, consider the conflict between present and future rewards, weigh the options, and decide in favor of the best overall course of action. The very speed of the Internet and convenience of Web content accelerates information search to a rate that crowds out reflection, which may bias me towards gratifying the salient but fleeting desires of my present self.

Which means to say that Internet use is very close to an addiction in our culture. I sure understand that. It suspends time as you get lost in a miasma of thought; it creates another world - separate from the ordeals of the real one; it can even create a new persona for you; and you can't get away from it. That's a drug. And we need to figure out how to manage it and retain a human balance.

And don't ask me. I'm a lost cause. My addiction actually earns me a living as well!