We depend on it for answers. We cant conceive of an existence without it. We use it in our daily lives. And all these points of interaction between technology and human need beg the question; Is there an emergent or transcendent relationship here?
How can an entity so seemingly intelligent as the world wide web have any less right to claim a place in the Parthenon of the Gods? Are we so far removed from our “pagan” ancestry that we can resist to anthropomorphize or even deify this central thread in our common existence?
Gods have been forged on less merit.
Google maps can pinpoint your location using your IP address as a LoJack. Facebook can identify you using facial recognition software. Any email that you archive can remain in the cloud for an indefinite amount of time. We are living in an archaeologists fantasy. Our digital footprint is an upload of our soul.
As a whole, the web is like a gigantic net in which we are all caught. It is noteworthy that the first Christians used a fish as their symbol. We are all being reeled into the future in a web of information, pseudo-information and garbage. We have here yet another likeness between religion and the internet; in that both have facets that are more useful than others.
Already, people around the world and particularly in the united states consider instantaneous delivery of searched information a right. Gigantic cloud server farms now exist to cater to every whim of these ‘worshipers.’ As long as the machines keep humming along we all hum on along with them in a resounding tone of : The Machine is Good, All The Time.
At some level I think we have stopped to look at the web as a construct and more like a force of the universe itself. Just observe how irate perfectly rational people get at the slightest malfunction on a website. Its almost as if someone has insulted their God. A leaked password, or a message that has been in appropriately displayed, or any information that presents the slightest discomfort to the observer is reacted upon with righteous and near biblical anger.
Just like previous ages and civilizations have been defined by their supernatural and religious practices, so has the 21st Century been influenced by the World Wide Web. The importance of this tool is comparable to the relevancy the church had in the middle ages. For some of us, to stop broadcasting online is to lose ones soul. Or so it sometimes feels. We need the web so much that logging off has come to feel like receiving an excommunication from the Pope. Its like a total tearing asunder of one from ones e-spirituality.
Our technological crutch is obvious. We don’t even pretend to have any autonomy anymore. The most backwards of SMEs now has a facebook page, or a twitter or google plus account. Through social media, the web is becoming more and more surgically embedded in our lives. It is hardly healthy to maintain such lofty expectations and to demand perfection from a machine. We are obviously going to have to deal with disappointment, sometimes even from the irreproachable World Wide Web.
All I insist on is a formality in acknowledging how truly important it now is to us.
Scientists are already expressing fears that Moore’s law is about to hit a wall. When this eventually happens, computers will encounter a situation of stagnation. How should a population so used to an endless technological frontier adjust to cope with this reality?
The answer is simple: Self Control. So turn off your computer this weekend and try to enjoy yourself in other less pagan ways. The web cannot do for you what you cannot do for yourself. Its not God.
And remember; its never that serious!