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Reflections on the Internet: What It Should Be and Why

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2022-09-21 14:00:11

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Of what value is the Internet? For what purposes should we employ it? How can it be elevated from what it is now to what it should be? I doubt these questions are merely coincidentally similar to the ones the human race has always asked of itself. Who are we? Why are we here? Where are we going? Like it or not, from this point forward, both sets of questions and their answers are likely to be intimately linked.

In presenting my personal perspective on the answers to these questions, I would like to take a different approach than I have previously by discussing the potential of the Internet more than its current reality. The reason for this is that I feel not enough of us see clearly what the Internet could be. We see only what exists now, and in many ways the Internet has so far failed to live up to its full potential. Unfortunately, the reason for this is that the Internet is only a reflection of us. Really, it is we who have failed to live up to our full potential. In the New Testament, Christ chastised the people of his day for their corrupt use of their temple by quoting a passage from Jeremiah, "My house is the house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves." Since then, not much has changed.

Whether we pause to contemplate our lives much or not, each is a unique journey of discovery. Some of us see life as a spiritual journey. Some see it as a psychological maturation process of exploring the external universe, exploring and differentiating our internal universe from those of other people, learning to accept and reconcile ourselves to what we discover in both universes, and somehow ultimately assigning our own unique meaning (or non-meaning) to it all. Of course, individual perspectives vary greatly. Some see life as a battle. John Locke said, “The only defense against the world is a thorough knowledge of it." Later, Abhijit Naskar said, “The real battle is within yourself.” Some see life as an experience. Eleanor Roosevelt said, "The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience." Most, however, seem to agree that the freedom to choose for ourselves the lives we lead is vital. Patrick Henry felt this so strongly that he proclaimed, "Give me liberty or give me death."

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