Digital Minefield

Why The Machines Are Winning

Web Has Depth Surfers Never See

Word Trip: from surf to surface to superfluous to serf.

Surfing, riding the wave, is very much the ultimate thrill of the immediate now—getting the most out of the moment. While this looks like I’m talking about a surfboard on ocean waves, take another moment and read it again. It could, and does, apply to how we skim the screens of our virtual world. Riding the surface of the wave—to wherever it’s taking us—is an endless endorphin high.

Stick with the surfing metaphor a little longer and it’s obvious what we’re missing: the quiet of the scuba diver immersed in the depths of the ocean—a much vaster world than its mere surface. The ocean, from top to bottom, teems with life—and living and dying. The surface reveals almost nothing . How little is experienced from the surface. How little is learned near the shore where the waves break. How little is grasped riding at the speed of the waves.

Surfing, over the sea or the e-world, only scans the surface; it is superfluous to the whole. The thrill of the moment mesmerizes; it misses most of the real action. Surfers, blissfully unaware of the larger picture, lack a chartered course. They may find themselves high and dry, with no direction but the beaten path to serfdom.


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