The worldwide web is a vast wasteland akin to television — a place rich with possibility, yet so consumed by a clever-trite collision of egos as to be almost unbearable. There are voices, of course, that stand out and rise above the clamor; and there are genuine friendships that have been and are being forged. By and large, though, we have a tragic case on our hands, a mind-numbing situation in which billions of people are feeding the machine, instead of being fed, and, more importantly, nourished by it. What passes as reasoned discourse is really just gossip and hyperbole, a glib trading of congratulations and puns meant to attract attention. Presented in type, emphasized in quotes out of context, illustrated by emoticons and recycled images, many of which are stolen, this discourse is ignorance made visible. The degree to which we are infected by this disease — for the habitual waste of precious time and energy is a disease — is revealed in mental and physical paralysis that leaves us capable of little more than liking and sharing things on Facebook without having to do any real thinking or real work ourselves. The idea of study — taking our time, digging deeper, analyzing our thoughts and opinions and those of others and recognizing the need to grow and change — is all but dead in the water. Instead, if someone says something that reinforces our childish, unexamined idea of ourselves, we are satisfied. This is fine for those whose goal in life is to pass time. But for those who understand that their presence here is a fleeting, fragile gift, it is dangerous and unacceptable.