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.