Is The Internet An Invention Of The Devil?
Before you decide one way or the other if the Internet is straight from the pit of hell and something to be feared, consider the following quote that does an excellent job of reminding us to use a little forethought when confronted with new ideas and inventions:
?The aeroplane is an invention of the devil and will never play any part in such a serious business as the defence of the nation, my boy!?
-- Sir Sam Hughes, Canadian Minister of Militia and Defense, to J.A.D. McCurdy, who had approached the minister with the idea of starting an air service, August 1914
Now, it?s impossible to know how influential the narrow-minded perspective of Sir Sam Hughes was in shaping the present-day Canadian air force. But one thing?s for sure -- poor old Mr. Hughes really missed the boat (or plane) when it came to his assessment of a relatively new invention in his day.
Hopefully we?re not similarly missing the boat when it comes to our assessment of the Internet. But what is our assessment of the Internet? Here?s a few questions that might help:
How many of us unconsciously hear the terms ?the Web? or ?the Net,? only to notice that webs and nets are things used to catch unsuspecting prey just before they?re killed and eaten?
How many of us are secretly hoping ?the Web? won?t keep getting bigger and more important, so we can squeak through the rest of our lives without having to really learn about it?
How many of us are still too fearful to buy anything online, but will gladly give our credit card to an eighteen-year-old waiter at any given restaurant, then watch him walk away with it for minutes on end knowing full well he could easily copy the number/expiry date/confirmation number on the back? (Not to say your waiter?s going to do this. But hey, you know he could.)
Heck, how many of us haven?t ever even used the Internet? (If you?re reading this article online, then this last question doesn?t apply to you. Excellent!)
Now, I can already hear some of you asking, ?Are you saying that just because the airplane turned out all right, the Internet will too, and so we should blindly welcome this monstrosity into our quiet lives??
No, I?m not saying that at all. In fact, the argument could be made that the airplane has led to some of the most horrific acts in human history -- Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and 9-11 to name but a few ? and so the lesson to be learned is to fear new inventions. Yes, that argument can be made very easily.
But I don?t agree with that argument, and here?s why. It?s based on fear, and fear always chokes at the throat of the ever-expanding life all around us. Sure, we can take a stance like Sir Sam Hughes, where we fear this new thing called the Internet as being evil, and then try to stop its natural progress.
Or we can welcome and embrace what?s new, what?s unknown, even when we?re not yet sure what it will become. And although it?s impossible to know how influential we will be in shaping the ever-changing Internet, at least we get to play a role in what it does become. When we jump in and join the process of development, we can influence what happens. And who knows, we might even enjoy ourselves.
So what I?m saying is this: Get on the Net, surf the Web, make a difference, and have some fun.
About the Author: Grant Pasay is a writer, musician, moviemaker, and author of the new eBook, ?The Internet Is Like A Refrigerator: And Other Weird Comparisons That Make it Easy to Understand Everything From AOL to Zip Files.? http://www.grantpasay.com/refrigerator/