idea that electronics has somehow changed society
is both clearly evident and patently ludicrous.
You must love a paradox to even begin to accept
this statement, but if two such diametrically opposed
ideas can reside in your mind at once, you will
agree with my argument.
absurdity of the notion is glaringly clear. Reach
back into your mind and search through your knowledge
of history. Pick a time when there wasn’t human
brutality, selfishness, and blind ambition. Or sacrifice,
courage and love. These are the things that have
defined our race, a paradox of even greater magnitude
than that which the electronic age now thrusts upon
us. No new technology, no matter how wondrous, can
possibly alter the essential nature of humanity.
The onus of that transformation rests on our will
the electronic age has done a remarkable thing.
In a single generation it has thrown open the doors
to the collective consciousness of a simultaneously
violent and beautiful people. In easy reach from
any web browser are the musings and images of everything
from hate groups to holistic healing, from free
information to blatant and aggressive marketing,
from the artwork of children to the stories of serial
killers. At no time in history has the fundamental
nature of what we are been so clearly and completely
exposed. But throwing open the doors to our nature
so that we can see ourselves clearly is not enough
to make claims as the progenitor of social change.
It is still up to us to step through those doors,
look carefully at what we are, and chose to become
the information age really offers us is a tool.
It creates possibilities never before imagined.
It offers a pathway for discourse on a future that
relentlessly demands fundamental change in the way
we live and the way we treat each other. We can
no longer plead ignorance for what we are capable
of. Atrocities against our own are instantly known
around the world. Courage beyond our imaginations
is found everywhere. Simply point and click. You
will find it.
we must avoid is letting the human capacity for
turning a blind eye to our weaknesses become a part
of our revolution. Online communities can just as
easily become as divisive and destructive as the
real walls that bar us from a just and civilized
world. When we erect the boundaries to fundamental
change within our electronic universe, then we have
lost. Computers, digital information, the Internet
and all its power to transform will have been squandered.
Then the claim that the electronic age has changed
our society will indeed be patently false. We will
have become nothing new. We will only be the same
paradoxical race with really fancy toys.
© 2000 Robert Castleman All Rights Reserved
Castleman is an IT Professional, Poet, author, father