The Internet is not a proxy for the real world nor is it an extension. In fact, there is no distinction between the Internet and the real world. Don't treat the Internet as an escape, it is a part of the lived environment I'm in as are my various computing devices.
Many young Americans think that to know themselves they need to find themselves, and they hold the naive belief that if they could just strip off everyday life like layers of an onion they would reach their true core, unadulterated by other people’s expectations and the distractions of a fastpaced world. They believe that they have a true core, an essence, and that it sits inside of them waiting to be discovered, and that once they find it they will know whether they ought to be a doctor or a lawyer or a philosophy professor. Sometimes these young people go to Europe and work their way through Mediterranean countries picking grapes, confident that their true self will emerge somewhere en route to Italy. But people who believe that the self is like an onion and their true self is its core have not spent much time in the kitchen. Peel an onion down to its core and all you will find is air. You are not an untouched core. You are and will become the sum of your commitments, your choices—moral, intellectual, and practical—they amount to much the same thing in the end. To find yourself, don’t dig under the surface of your life. Look at what you actually do, at what you come to care for, at what you fight to defend. Look at the small choices you make every day in the classroom, in the way that you read and interpret and argue, and the big choices will sort themselves out by themselves.
I tend to agree with the theory that if you want to keep a memory pristine, you must not call upon it too often, for each time it is revisited, you alter it irrevocably, remembering not the original impression left by experience but the last time you recalled it. With tiny differences creeping in at each cycle, the exercise of our memory does not bring us closer to the past but draws us farther away.
| Sally Mann, Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs