“Humanity is migrating to cyberspace. […] Elias Aboujaoude, a Silicon Valley psychiatrist, finds this alarming. In “Virtually You,” he argues that the Internet is unleashing our worst instincts. It connects you to whatever you want: gambling, overspending, sex with strangers. It speeds transactions, facilitating impulse purchases and luring you away from the difficulties of real life. It lets you customize your fantasies and select a date from millions of profiles, sapping your patience for imperfect partners. It lets you pick congenial news sources and avoid contrary views and information. It conceals your identity, freeing you to be vitriolic or dishonest. It shields you from detection and disapproval, emboldening you to download test answers and term papers. It hides the pain of others, liberating your cruelty in games and forums. It rewards self-promotion on blogs and Facebook. It teaches you how to induce bulimic vomiting or kill yourself.
In short, everything you thought was good about the Internet – information, access, personalization – is bad. Aboujaoude isn’t shy in his indictment. He links the Internet to consumer debt, the housing crash, eating disorders, sexually transmitted infections, psychopathy, racism, terrorism, child sexual abuse, suicide and murder. Everything online worries him: ads, hyperlinks, even emoticons. The Internet makes us too quarrelsome. It makes us too like-minded. It makes us work too little. It makes us work too much.
In part, this grim view stems from Aboujaoude’s work. He sees patients with online compulsions. He believes in the Freudian id – a shadowy swirl of infantile impulses – and perceives its modern incarnation in what he calls the “e-personality,” a parallel identity that hijacks your mind online. In the physical world, your superego restrains your id. But in the virtual world, where you can instantly fulfill your whims, the narcissism and grandiosity of the e-personality run wild. […]”
books ‘Virtually You’ and ‘Reality Is Broken’