Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Digital Doping aka Binaural Beats

Basically, in case you didn't watch the video, some folks (mostly youths) are using a new digital drug that manipulates sound waves that apparently can intoxicate, disorient or do other wild and crazy things to minds. As described above, whether these "drugs" actually do anything or if using them is risky behavior has yet to be scientifically proven (although it seems important to mention that these kinds of sound techniques have been used to therapeutically treat anxiety, so if psychotherapists, and other medical professionals are using it, it can't be that bad for you [see Ecstasy, LSD, Electro-Shock, Freudian Analysis...]).

This story is probably nothing, most likely, a few scared parents found videos of their kids "digitally doping" on YouTube (more on idiot kids later), got scared and maybe even started a picket line and chant outside of some federal building: "Mothers Against Digital Doping!!!" They're MADD as hell, and their not going to take it anymore (I don't think they actually started a picket line, probably more likely a Facebook Cause page).

The buzz around this topic, not to mention the above video and a piece on ABC news, which implies that recreational use can gateway to hard drugs (like marijuana) has been completely misguided. Let's get some solid science on this stuff before we pass judgment. Nevertheless, despite the fact that this is probably a non-story (and digital doping is likely something "kids" do in conjunction with other illicit materials--which would explain why in videos and pictures on the internet, they look like they are about to have seizures) I immediately started to think about this phenomenon from two distinct albeit curmudgeonly (an attitude that comes very naturally to me...) perspectives: those of the Hippie and the Hawk.

The Hippie:

There is a war, a war that no one talks about, a vicious conflagration that has seen virtues, real virtues such as courteous behavior, vigorous social interaction (without some piece of plastic getting in the way) and connection to nature begin to perish. I am talking, of course, about the war between social interaction and technology. Right now, we are losing this war, and losing badly.

Anything that can be digitized is, and benevolent and forward thinking scientists are taking up the daily mission of working out how to digitize everything. The world, in all of its glory and splendor already exists, how could it possibly be better through a 15 inch headache inducing plastic portal.

This new drug phenomenon is an excellent example of how people are being pried way from each other and the earth, and developing regrettable dependencies on technology. In my day…we sat out in the forest and fields, loved one another, loved the earth--our drugs were conduits to social and earthly interaction. Digital drug separates us, takes away from our social existence.

"Cram it, hippie!" Remarks the Hawk.

Get that flower power crap out of here, it and you have no place on this blog, or any other blog for that matter. Technology progresses, it's revolutionized your free-loving, teva wearing, acid flash-backing, macrobiotic existence, so don't come to me with diatribes about living in the real world and the splendor of earth...

The disconcerting thing about digital doping, is in fact, the incredible idiocy of youths. I was a dumb kid (we all were, right?) but in my day, we didn't meticulously document and display our idiot behavior on a public forum for everybody in the world to see (ok, we didn't have the internet, but how come kids don't understand that all of these pictures and videos of them breaking laws and acting like putzes will come back and bite them in the ass some day?).

That's hardly the point, the point is that digital doping is another in a long list of things on the internet that is impossible to regulate, easy to hack and could (since the jury is still out on the science of this whole thing) present more health and addiction issues to our society. Think about it, illegal video, music and pornography portals are massive sources of malware that can eat your computer from the inside. If digital petty crime exists (like stealing an mp3), digital drugs are making their way into the mainstream, and spamming, hacking and distributing viruses is ubiquitous behavior, digital terrorism is not so far away. Let's control the internet, make it safe avenue through which we can all learn, connect and have fun.

Me again:

I love the internet and technology, and you should too...nevertheless, the tie-dyer and fear-monger inside of me can agree on at least one thing: Instead of sitting in your room with headphones on, feeling vaguely euphoric, go outside and be social. Nothing, no drug, no technological advance will ever be able to create the kind of happiness and fulfillment you can get from nature and good friends...also, don't publish your idiotic hi jinks on the internet (pun most definitely intended...).