When’s the last time a question came up during conversation with friends where no one knew the answer and it look longer than five seconds for someone to pull out their smartphone?
Long gone are the days of endlessly debated questions, where the right answer, or any reasonable answer at all, was further away than a 15-20 second wait to punch the question into Google or any other search engine (allegedly other search engines exist, we’re told). As a result, we’ve lost our ability to wonder, to wait to find anything out, to ponder and pontificate and pull meaning and answers out of bits of information.
And according to comedian Pete Holmes, we’re all poorer for it.
In a recent visit to Conan O’Brien’s show, Holmes argues that, since it takes so little time to go from random question to factual answer now that we’ve got the Internet in our pockets at all times, there’s no difference between knowing and not knowing. In addition, because there’s no exploration or real research needed to find or learn answers, we aren’t any richer or more enlightened for having the answers.
“Having Google on your phone is like having a drunk know-it-all in your pocket,” he says. “The time between not knowing and knowing is so brief that knowing feels exactly like not knowing, so life is meaningless.”
The sad thing is, he’s right. Nearly 100% dead-on right. It’s kind of disappointing, isn’t it?
On the other hand… now we’re saved from this kind of person: