Internet is the new world.

The world is a human artifice.

In the beginning, there was the Earth, and out of it sprang forth Man. And Man was at Nature’s mercy, and in awe of her. And all was good. And then Man said to himself, behold! I am Man, and more than Nature. So he left Nature and created the World.

So it is, ladies and gentlemen, that although our world may seem perfectly natural, it is not. Imagine life without things as they are now: no rules to social interactions, no science, no nothing but savage human existence. Terrible no? And that is why we have the world – a human artifice created to impose order on a chaotic and incomprehensible nature.

The world is not enough.

However, our present world has one glaring limitation: physicality. Our bodies, great they may be can’t always keep up with the potential of our beings. Physical laws say that we can only be in one place at the same time, we can do only so many things at the same time, we can know only so many things at the same time. In the face of these limitations, our beings yearn to transcend.

If nature is the base, and the world a layer we build on top of it to make more sense of it, then I believe that the Internet is another layer we build on the world to make even more sense. And indeed, it has done much to that end. It has allowed us to know about things as they happen halfway across the globe, we can now be in two places at the same time with teleconferencing, we can now do even more things with even more people.

Internet is the new world.

That this is so highlights how lightly we have been treating the Internet thus far. Just as the world operates differently and is distinct from nature, so is the Internet distinct from the world. The Internet right now may merely be a reflection of the physical world but I believe, that it is more than just that. In fact, sci-fi writers like Neal Stephenson in Snow Crash have explored this potential. Once we recognize this distinction, several implications that need to be discussed will come to light. I will discuss these in succeeding posts.

What do you think? Comments and trackbacks are highly encouraged.

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5 Responses to Internet is the new world.

  1. ob81 says:

    You bring up a good point. I would agree that internet is a “popular” world, as there are many others that still don’t use the internet today, and many others that won’t in the future.

    “In the face of these limitations, our beings yearn to transcend.”

    This same limitation would probably exist in an internet world also. 😀

    Very good write-up!

  2. Uditvanu Das says:

    it is true.. i just read your post.. and our REAL world as we know it, is bound by, the laws of physics and there is always some limitation, i mean as it is we are only using 10% of our brain.
    The internet, is like SPACE, it’s like this infinite expanse of nothingness, that we fill and give meaning to, in a sense that makes us, the creators of the new world does it not?

  3. I actually think people separate the Internet and the “real” world too much. It’s a social thing, like separating work from leisure, that does not need to happen. I think the Internet could be so much more if we allow it to enter our lives.
    Nice write up.

  4. Dan says:

    If you are going to try to consider the internet some “other world”, or virtual world, you have to take into consideration the damage that will be done. We already know how people with addictive personalities can get caught up in fantasy worlds like World of Warcraft and other online fictional places. By enhancing this, we are just feeding the disease.

    If the Internet was to be another world, it would just be a drug. Another drug to let people escape their droll mundane lives. And with any drug they will become so addicted to where they block out reality. Think back to the psychological problems that Dungeons and Dragon caused on the youth. Now, add graphics to that world, 3D, and make it more realistic.

    The species “man” is, for lack of a more general term, weak-minded. Most of the population is susceptible to influence from outside sources they “believe” are to be worthy of following. They lack the necessary intellectual means to make deep decisions on their own, and therefor rely on others to guide them, when in fact they are not being guided, but manipulated. This is proven by the existence of religion, and cults around the world. A virtual world would prey on this weakness and exploit it.

    The goal of the Internet was always to share information. Trying to replace the real world with a fictitious one is not the answer. The Internet IS a new layer, on top of the existing world, but not a replacement. We should use the Internet to make this world better, regardless of what an artificial world has to offer.

    We have already made strides in using the internet to make the world better. The question isn’t “Is the Internet the new world”, but “How do we use the Internet to make the World better.”

  5. Joe Jacobs says:

    Why would I want the internet to be even more part of my life as it is? In fact, this summer I’ve worked at removing it from my life. Not as a whole, but quite a bit.

    In my opinion, people take the internet too far. My favorite staple example is AIM. Only too often, AIM takes place of normal human conversation, and places it in a cold world based on text, where there is truly no consequences for what is said. You don’t have to live up to what you said.

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t shun the internet. I like others use the internet mainly to keep up with friends on facebook, and play games over Xbox Live. But that’s it. It used to be more. I used to think that true relationships could be formed over the internet, but now, I believe it isn’t possible.

    People are meant to interact in person. I learned this the hard way, but hell, I’m glad I learned. This summer alone, I just stopped. Stopped blogging, takin gup my time in front of a computer. Already I’ve started biking and discing as a new hobbies, lost 10 pounds, and spent more time with my friends than ever. And it feels great. The real world is great!

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