Upon the Altar of the Internet

Curious phenomenon, the Internet continues to be.

We did not use audio cassette recorders to share our opinions with each other about the polyester plastic industry. Nor did not send each other fax updates with our predictions about the future of bitmap scanning technologies. With the possible exception of ham radio enthusiasts and Bulletin Board System users (who were arguably precursive practitioners of the present data age), I cannot think of another communication technology that has conceived so many pundits and prophets of itself. The Internet hosts a self-perpetuating chorus of commentary about the Internet. (You know, sites like this blog, for instance.)

However, we, the self-described cognoscente of cyberspace, are grounded in no fewer self-validating biases than the most subjective of herbalists. The already fuzzy line between culture and cult becomes indecipherable in a world that hails tech stars and CEOs as messianic figures. Whether one sits in an Alexandrian temple to debate the merits of Apollos, or whether one blogs about tactics for monetizing social networks, one cannot help but recognize that humanity is animated by a voracious curiosity about the products of its own imagination.

Like any other religion, the Internet is a temple we are building to ourselves: it provides us tangible metrics to validate ourselves individually (at the micro) and collectively (at the macro). It offers us a way to see ourselves as individuals in relationship to the whole. It is the contextual structure for community. It has priests, prophets, heretics, saviours, monastics, and ordained officiants. It has denominations, splinter groups, schisms, power struggles, politics, orders, orthodoxies, and a canon of mythological architects, archetypes, and heroes.

The Internet is a shrine to all the brilliance and ridiculousness that is the homo sapien. It potentially the most religious invention we have concocted to date.

Share · Tweet