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The One Ring Forums: Off Topic: The Pollantir:
Is the internet a modern necessity or a luxury?
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Poll: Is the internet a modern necessity or a luxury?
It is a modern necessity.
It is a luxury.
View Results (32 votes)


Apr 9 2019, 6:35pm

Post #1 of 33 (6728 views)
Is the internet a modern necessity or a luxury? Can't Post

In a (almost heated) debate at work not so long ago, the question came up: "is the internet a modern necessity, or is it a luxury?"

I was surprised that not a single person (9 to 1) agreed with me. I thought I'd open the floor up here to get a larger sample. I'll post in a later post my opinion, but it really did come down to how one defines "necessity" and "luxury", and ultimately "quality of life".

What do you think?

Superuser / Moderator

Apr 9 2019, 7:11pm

Post #2 of 33 (6620 views)
To connect [In reply to] Can't Post

those who are lonely, marginalised, bullied, frightened or constrained in some way, it's a necessity.

For business, it's a necessity.

That we use it a lot for luxury (and by some for terrible purposes) doesn't negate how necessary it is for many people, IMO.


Apr 9 2019, 9:06pm

Post #3 of 33 (6605 views)
Necessity! [In reply to] Can't Post

I now pay most of my bills online. And online stores are a godsend if I am making a purchase from overseas.


Apr 10 2019, 1:53am

Post #4 of 33 (6594 views)
Absolutely a necessity [In reply to] Can't Post

Most if not all jobs require access to it in some form or another. I need it to place orders and enter hours to get paid, and to keep in touch with managers; and I needed it at my previous job as an image editor. And you can't apply for the vast majority of jobs out there without an email address, some places don't even accept paper applications anymore, it's all online.


Apr 10 2019, 2:58pm

Post #5 of 33 (6579 views)
What Fereth said [In reply to] Can't Post

When the internet was new, it was an oddity. We made it into a necessity. An entire generation has grown up not knowing life before the internet, and they would see it as a necessity.

We could discuss how "luxury" is defined by different people. I consider fire, wheel, running water, electricity, and heated homes to be necessities along with the internet. Campers, survivalists, etc will say they are luxuries.


Apr 12 2019, 5:41pm

Post #6 of 33 (6421 views)
It's lonely on this side of the room. [In reply to] Can't Post

As it was in my office, I'm also in the minority here. I can't say I agree, but thank you for some interesting posts.

I'm of the opinion that "a necessity of modern life" is something that immediately and permanently improves ones quality of life (e.g. clean, running water, something to keep you warm, something to heat food, free and good health care etc). I think it is important to make these necessities of modern life available to everyone.

To me, we shouldn't mistake our reliance on the internet as being a necessity. We can live without it, and we can live with it. Sure it makes our lives easier - we can book hospital appointments, talk for free to family on the opposite side of the planet, order shopping, learn, play, and socialise. However, just because we are so reliant on it doesn't make it a necessity. I don't think it is necessarily important to make the internet available to everyone.


Apr 13 2019, 2:49am

Post #7 of 33 (6383 views)
Both (waffle waffle). [In reply to] Can't Post

I think we're pack animals, compelled to communicate: cave paintings, drum beats, smoke signals, songs, graffiti. Some of these are first a luxury only available to a wealthy elite, eventually shared with most everybody else: papyrus scrolls, leather-bound books, postal service, newspapers, telegraph, telephone, radio, tv, internet,....?.... The culture takes it up, democratises it, and makes it indispensable for business and government and, for most citizens, private life as well.

Whatever we come up with next is what we use to keep us comfortingly in our niche - if we choose: books don't get published or read or they go out of print; films and tv shows live or die by ratings; websites close down. Some remote groups refuse the technologies of modern civilization, at their choice, when they've been exposed to them. You can find locations in NZ where wifi is iffy or impossible - and folks who want to live there. I don't FB, tweet, or instagram, but I wouldn't feel like "me" in 2019 New Zealand - with family n friends elsewhere - without phone, email, online news, Facetime and Skype (and TORn Laugh). All luxuries, sure: my European ancestors sailed away to North America, and family ties were cut forever and life went on - but they would have been delighted with telephones and Skype and news websites from home, I reckon.

Necessary luxury/luxurious necessity for our time? It all goes back to that human pack animal thingy. Evil


Apr 15 2019, 4:12pm

Post #8 of 33 (6344 views)
Well, it's how I get - and do - most of my work so [In reply to] Can't Post

a necessity, as is a computer.

I am reminded of something I recently heard:

Everything that exists when you are born is "normal."

Things that come into being, like new technology, up until the time you are 30 are interesting and may form the basis of your career.

Anything that comes into being after you are 30 is the work of the devil.

Hee. Computers were just beginning to evolve from mainframes to desktops about the time I hit 30, and I successfully made the argument that my office needed a desktop and a new software program that would help us track the 8,000 physicians who attended our continuing medical education programs, creating a nice niche for myself for quite a while. My boss, who was 10 years older than me, regarded that computer with fear and loathing for at least a year. But I got her using it eventually.

(This post was edited by Annael on Apr 15 2019, 4:19pm)


Apr 19 2019, 3:02am

Post #9 of 33 (6207 views)
i put necessity but... [In reply to] Can't Post

i'm with lissuin on the fence to be honest. i think in our western society having access to it in some form is pretty much required to function fully. hoewever, i would say that having constant access is definitely a luxury. it is certainly possible to get along just fine using only free/communal connections


Apr 20 2019, 3:09am

Post #10 of 33 (6103 views)
The ? brings to mind a post I made [In reply to] Can't Post

a couple years ago. I shall be so bold as to do a rerun here, and all can guess after reading (rereading?) where I stand on what is a necessity. Er, greetings all, this is Bracegirdle doing a rare delurk.

It was the Best of Times . . .

Greetings TORnsibs one and all!
I would normally not be so cheeky as to make such An Announcement. But please join me on this Long-expected Milestone, as on this day, Dec. 1, at 12 noon, 1941, a six pound urchin sallied forth with his first yelp at an unsuspecting world. (Total hospital bill, $64.60, incl. a panda bear from the gift shop.) YES! Today (Dec. 1) is my seventy-fifth birthday. (I have often felt that I just may be ‘Eldest’ on this wonderful site as no one has stepped forward to claim the blue ribbon - perhaps a lurker (or two) out there would care to come clean?)

And as I have been graced with such an abundance (make that two abundances) of mathoms galore, and would that I were a Hobbit I would give to each and every one of you a gift, as you all have given to me so much joy and thought over the nearly three years since I stumbled across this most extraordinary site.

*Note: The following comments, thoughts, and remembrances are those of my own and are no way intended to express the opinions of the Owners or Admins. of this site.* Wink

I wrote a rather nostalgic poem some time back, which many of the seniors (and perhaps some juniors) may relate to, as I was thinking back to my teenage years and my most favorite decade – the 1950s. Those in large urban areas may not relate to my particular recollections, but in the area in which we lived in our small town Boise’s (that’s Idaho) population was in the neighborhood of 35,000-40,000, and it was a time of doors left unlocked, keys left in cars, and children allowed to play unsupervised all day. (”Be home by suppertime, mind you!”)

So reminisce with me now, if you will, for a short jaunt into those thrilling days of yesteryear, when from out of the past come the thundering hoofbeats of the great horse Silver!
It was a time of imagination. The family would all gather round the Philco Radio (a bowl of rocky-road ice cream in hand) and listen to the antics of Amos ‘n Andy, Fibber McGee and Molly, Jack Benny, Our Miss Brooks, The Great Gildersleeve, The Life of Riley, My Little Margie, and The Shadow (knows).

We had no TV until about 1956 (with ‘rabbit-ears’ which needed the aid of some tin-foil). Then our imagination was augmented with the likes of Ed Sullivan, Lucy, Dragnet, Howdy Doody, Sky King –and don’t forget Wally and the Beav, Ozzy & Harriet, The Cisco Kid - ”Oh Pancho! Oh Cisco!”, and ♪ “Davy, Davy Crockett – King of the Wild Frontier” ♪.

It was a time of no Blue-Tooths (teeth?), no ipads, no PDAs, no Smartphones (just a few Smarty-pants). A computer consisted of pencil and paper or 10 fingers & 10 toes. (A “hard drive” was pulling our 27 foot mobile-home (yes, a home for four) from Minnesota to Boise with a ’51 Chevy sedan.)

It was a time when automobiles were not only transportation but beautiful works of art. It was a time of ‘party-line’ telephones (listen in on your neighbor(?) Cool – or – ”Hey Mabel, I need to make a quick call, if you please.”), and block parties in the middle of the street, (“Don’t forget your pot-luck dish, Ma!”). It was a time of a dozen eggs and a bottle of milk (cream on the top) were safely sitting at your door-step in the morning. It was a time of walking 2 ½ miles to Jr. H.S. (do they do that today?). My brother and I still joke to the kids about how we had to walk three miles to school and three miles back, in the snow, and uphill both ways Wink.

It was a time of Elvis, Teresa Brewer, Chubby Checker, Fats Domino, Connie Francis, and, oh my! NO!! – “The Day the Music Died” Unsure with the tragic loss of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper.
Yes I loved rock ‘n roll (ah, the harmony of ♪doo-wop♪) – I did and still do, along with the “crooners” of the day. Yet I also grew up with classical, semi-classical and opera – o yes opera. My father had a fairly good operatic voice and would often sing a cappella at church. And the Golden Voice of Mario Lanza would often boom through the house. (I have “Be My Love” on the HD in my car.) I can still see or sense a tear in my father’s eye as Lanza would hit those high ‘C’s’ (or whatever they were?); no, not in jealousy but in great veneration.

It was a time of rare divorce (it seemed) which carried a stigma. It was a time when many mothers stayed home to raise the kids while fathers worked their tails off to bring home the bacon. (My mother never drove a car until I (the youngest) had graduated from H.S.) It was a time of respect and adults were addressed as “Sir” or “Ma’am”. It was a time of DON’T spare the rod, (and when used properly it was ‘lesson learned’). I got a single ‘whipping’ in my younger teen-age years by my father, and somehow I could tell, and I always knew, that it hurt him many many times more than me.

It was a time of clip-on metal roller-skates - with keys, mind you. It was a time of Kool Aid filled wax bottles (bite off the top, suck out the syrup, then eat the bottle), and candy cigarettes (do they still have those?). It was a time of treehouses needing “secret passwords” to enter. (No, none were ”mellon” Wink.) It was a time of hollering “Olly olly oxen free!” so you didn’t have to be “It” the next round. It was a time of plenty, and a booming economy when America was the great producer/manufacturer of the world. It was a time of double-features at the theater – with news AND a “Tom and Jerry” cartoon – and Wednesdays were seventy-five cents a carload at the drive-in theaters. (That was a four person maximum, not counting the guy in the trunk Smile.)

O could I babble on and on ad nauseam – (already have?). Okay, for fear of over-bloviation of this Golden Decade in my life, I now offer again my attempt to link the wonders of my favorite decade with the wonders of our favorite author:


I sit before the keyboard and ponder long-gone youth,
When clouds were shaped like Oliphaunts or even Wargs forsooth.
With innocence we’d whirl ‘til tipsy and dance our Springle-ring,
Or jostle and joust atop Erebor to be the Mountain’s King.

Upon our Egladil we’d rest and heed the songbird’s trill.
Here Angle’s End waved meadow-grass and pale-green Niphredil.
Then: “Tag! You’re it!” was a delight, but moreso Hide-n-Seek:
We’d duck behind a Mallorn Tree or crouch in Cavern Deep.

As I sit before the keyboard I relive my Bagshot Row:
We’d climb up Old Man Willow and watch the Big Folk down below.
From the branches of our Ent-house we held Councils of the Wise,
While the Master of the Hall held forth Great Music we’d devise.

Alone we’d play ‘til dusk each day, our Gammers had no Dragon-fear.
Then Varda’s Lights would shimmer bright while Eärendil above shone clear.
At Twilight blossomed fireflies, they’d flitter to-and-fro.
Bewitched with Crystal Phial-full we’d watch the Elven-glow.

We thought those Free Fair days would last, foresaw no Gift of Men.
Yet fate on life’s Great Journey takes trails we cannot ken.
And our Wandering Days of growth bring new friends of great worth,
As those Hidden Paths have brought us Fellowship in Middle-earth.


Apr 20 2019, 4:33am

Post #11 of 33 (6089 views)
A lovely poem, BG. Thanks for re-posting. [In reply to] Can't Post

And our Wandering Days of growth bring new friends of great worth,
As those Hidden Paths have brought us Fellowship in Middle-earth.


Forum Admin / Moderator

Apr 20 2019, 4:58pm

Post #12 of 33 (6019 views)
Nice to see you again, BG! [In reply to] Can't Post

Hasn't been too long, do de-lurk more often! Smile

I remember that post, and that excellent re-working of Bilbo's poem! I must say this: without the ability to use the Internet to wander hidden paths, we never would have found this Fellowship with others who feel an affinity for Middle-earth. Heart


Apr 21 2019, 9:12pm

Post #13 of 33 (5881 views)
Sooo, I’m with DanielLB and the minority on this one, (I think?). [In reply to] Can't Post

  Have we not survived for many thousands of years without the internet. Does not a significant portion of today’s population get along without the internet?

Yet we may question the definition of ‘necessity’. Necessary for survival or necessary for convenience, or a luxury? The necessities for life are oxygen, food, water, shelter, sleep.

We have survived quite well without the internet for thousands of years. But one may say that “The internet is a necessity in my job so that I can feed, clothe, shelter, and provide for my family.” But we can truthfully say that if the internet did not exist this person (and family) would survive in some other vocation.

So, I suppose I’m a tad of a waffler also, but lean toward the fundamental definition of “necessity” (survival).


Apr 21 2019, 9:13pm

Post #14 of 33 (5871 views)
Thank you Lissuin. Most kind!! [In reply to] Can't Post



Apr 21 2019, 9:23pm

Post #15 of 33 (5874 views)
Yes, yes, yes! Thank you for the jolt toward reality dernwyn. [In reply to] Can't Post

The internet HAS brought this wondrous sizeable gathering of Tolkien lovers together.

Great point! Smile


Apr 22 2019, 4:38am

Post #16 of 33 (5852 views)
Vital [In reply to] Can't Post

Absolutely necessary to quickly determine lethality, evacuation radius, required personal protection equipment, decontamination protocols, and cleanup procedures during a chemical spill.

Not to mention not having to drag around all 200 some odd volumes of the Code of Federal Regulations when performing an industrial compliance inspection.

And first responders are being able to attend a whole lot more training on-line since we didn’t have to pay expenses for travel, food, and lodging.

On a personal level the internet has saved me lots of stress and worry when I’m paying bills. Resolving customer complaints is much quicker and easier than long drawn out correspondence that the company can suddenly "lose". And when I retired registering for Social Security and Medicare was a snap. Plus I’ve been able to trace down and buy a lot of rare or outdated books, films, TV series, etc. that there was no way I could have hoped to find otherwise.

But of course most vital of all are the cat videos.


Apr 24 2019, 3:26pm

Post #17 of 33 (5605 views)
so true [In reply to] Can't Post

well I remember, in 1999, hearing that there was going to be a live-action "Lord of the Rings," going online to find out more, and stumbling onto theonering.net where miracle of miracles, for the first time in my life I found a community of people who loved Tolkien as much as I did.

I reckon that I have now met at least 40 "TORnadoes" (being one of the Eldar, I still eschew "TORnsib") in real life, including Squire and N.E. Brigand just last weekend. Are these connections a "necessity" in my life? Yes. Yes they are.


Apr 24 2019, 3:33pm

Post #18 of 33 (5605 views)
as Douglas Adams said [In reply to] Can't Post

1. If it existed when you were born, it is "normal."

2. If it comes into being by the time you turn 30, it is exciting & innovative and may form the basis of your career.

3. If it comes into being after the time you turn 30, it is the work of the devil.

I was 28 when we first got a desktop computer in the office.

Apparently people had similar misgivings about the printing press:

(This post was edited by Annael on Apr 24 2019, 3:37pm)


Apr 26 2019, 5:16pm

Post #19 of 33 (5356 views)
*waves at Brace* Somehow I missed your delurk. Nice to see you! // [In reply to] Can't Post



Apr 27 2019, 3:26am

Post #20 of 33 (5312 views)
*waves* Hiya, BG! // [In reply to] Can't Post



Apr 27 2019, 5:14pm

Post #21 of 33 (5234 views)
*waves back at Curious*. Good to see you too. (Well I've been 'delurking' and 'seeing' you on occasion anyhoo.) / [In reply to] Can't Post



Apr 27 2019, 5:17pm

Post #22 of 33 (5232 views)
*waves* Hiya Cats! You don't REALLY have 16 cats, I betcha.. :) / [In reply to] Can't Post


The Grey Elf
Grey Havens

Apr 27 2019, 6:37pm

Post #23 of 33 (5229 views)
In the context of the digital age we live in, yes, a necessity [In reply to] Can't Post

In the context of staying alive, like food, shelter, etc. then, no. Maybe not the context you were positing.

With technology, I'm afraid there's no turning back. And until we take seriously our role as stewards of this planet, i.e., do a better job of replacing the trees we kill for paper or up our recycling game, the cost of that material is going to continue to rise until economy dubs it a luxury.

I shudder just thinking about that eventuality.

So I'm basically reducing this down to e- versus paper communication/research/financial transactions, etc.

(This post was edited by The Grey Elf on Apr 27 2019, 6:42pm)

Tol Eressea

Apr 29 2019, 11:31pm

Post #24 of 33 (5012 views)
An important distinction [In reply to] Can't Post

Is the internet a necessity? No.

But has our SOCIETY made it a necessity? A resounding YES (unfortunately in many respects).

As others above have mentioned, it is extremely difficult to find a job since even fast food restaurants are requiring online applications now and don't even have paper applications.

You need an email address to get a job. Also many jobs require background checks, which are now done electronically only (to the best of my knowledge they are anyway, at least in America). You need to input an email address for medical insurance and in hospital admissions forms. Our governments use the internet and technology for pretty much all communication (as well as paper- paperwork reduction acts are a joke they really are). Most banking is done online.

Mail is not as secure as it used to be, mostly because many people have to deal with their checks in the bills being stolen because for some stupid reason I can't figure out, mailboxes aren't required to be equipped with locks (I think they all should be- one lock for owner, and a master set of keys for the postal carriers).

Things like credit reporting is all done electronically. Wire transfers from bank to bank, when buying a house, etc are done electronically (they don't want to deal with such large sums of money done via check if they can avoid it). Retirement investments are done electronically.

Emergency systems are utilized electronically. As Darkstone mentioned, many more lives would be lost if there wasn't near-instantaneous calculations performed when nuclear hazards and other chemical hazards accidents happen. Meteorology uses it to help predict the weather with more accuracy (I say this dubiously because the weather report here this past month can't make up its dang mind and keeps changing every few hours Crazy), and helps prevent more deaths due to advanced warning for things like hurricanes and tornadoes and deep freezes, etc. Also wildfire monitoring is done electronically via internet and satellites, which can help people know quickly where it's spreading so they can get out FAST (my aunt and uncle's house burned down in a wildfire two years ago-and had 45 minutes to get them and their farm animals out. It started just up the road with downed power lines and if it hadn't been for electronic wildfire monitoring they would have died because they didn't have enough warning to get out).

And lastly- if we lost the internet and computers, and all the technologies that are 1000% dependent on them today, I am willing to bet that 90% of the developed world's population wouldn't be able to survive ten minutes. We as a whole (though some of us have learned, including me, and no I'm not a doomsday prepper just someone who grew up learning how to actually do stuff) don't know the first thing about farming, hunting, how to build a fire (I have a funny story about that- feel free to ask! Wink), food gathering (I bet that there would be a LOT of deaths from eating poisonous plants in short order), sewing, leather-working (and tanning to get the leather), tool-making, constructing even a simple shack/dugout/soddy/log cabin/etc, digging a well or purifying water from the wild, etc. Heck, most of us think meat magically appears in cellophane and carrots are born in a plastic grocery store crate! And we wouldn't know how to survive one day in the elements and would die of either heat exhaustion or hypothermia (depending on what season you're in right now). And chaos would ensue.

My overall take is this: we don't need the internet for food, clothing, shelter. We can survive without it as our ancestors have done for thousands of years. It is, in fact, SOCIETY that has artificially created this need to have internet, and has done such a darn good job of it that you truly can't function in today's world without it unless you're independently wealthy with all your cash stashed in a million coffee cans and are living somewhere where there are no laws against poaching, no building regulations, no gun control laws, etc and have an impressive set of skills that receive blank stares if you ask someone off the street to do them today.

Can I live without my laptop? Sure. I've got so many survival skills and the foundations of survival that would allow me to adapt to an internet and technology-free world within a year (and I'm teaching my kids too!). And I do think it's VITAL that people take time to unplug regularly and enjoy the beautiful world God created around them.

But it sure is nice when I need to pay my bills, sign real estate papers for the 5 acres we're purchasing this summer, publish my novels through Amazon, and luxuriate in discussions on the internet about whether or not the internet that happens to allow for these discussions is necessary for survival Tongue

Summation- internet is a necessity because our society has made it one. The end Cool


May 6 2019, 2:23pm

Post #25 of 33 (4472 views)
but [In reply to] Can't Post

"society" - our culture - is the context that we live in, the context that defines us. Humans are tribal. Yes, some of us have the training to subsist outside of culture, but as you say, most would die, and I don't think that's entirely because of lack of basic subsistence skills. Have you heard of Maslow's Heirarchy of Needs? Most humans in the world these days (if you doubt this, read "Factfulness" by Hans Rosling) have moved well up the ladder from mere subsistence, and even if they could handle the physical requirements of being down on the bottom rung again, losing the ability to fulfill the "higher" mental and emotional needs that come into play once survival is not an issue would be devastating.

I know a couple of survivalists who have literally built castles off the grid and could theoretically hole up there and survive for years. Except . . . one of them is an older, overweight man, and when he tried to tell me the odds of 'the big one' hitting in our area, I said "and what are the odds of you, personally, having a heart attack? Could the EMTs even get to you?" He had to acknowledge I had a point.

The other thing I believe, having lived in small towns a lot, is that the best place to be would not be in a self-sufficient castle, but in a small town where people have gardens and chickens and the odd cow. My experience of such communities is that when something goes wrong, everyone bands together and helps each other out, no matter how much we might argue at other times. The play "Come From Away" about how the people of Gander, Newfoundland, put aside all other concerns to help the stranded travelers that landed in their remote community after 9/11 confirms this innate helpfulness - a trait that has come into being precisely because we've moved far away from a subsistence mindset.


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