With the Vision of an Eagle...We Must See Beyond the Horizon
Over time the Internet will morph into something...let's call it cyberspace... that society takes for granted (if it hasn't already). To date, even considering its current state of complexity and robustness, it is still in its infancy. But one can see the signs and directions of its probable evolution. From a simple mechanism to enable communications among researchers (for the U.S. Defense Department), it has already evolved to enable global communications among everyone connected, and has become something of a universal human whiteboard where humanity digitally expresses, interacts with, entertains, and informs itself...and it does so in near real time. Imagine how humanity would be different now if this tool had been available to it for the past several millennia.
In providing humanity with this global capability, the Internet is increasingly becoming a part of human culture....steadily permeating the fabric of who we are. Logging on, checking email, surfing the web, perhaps searching for information on something about which we are curious, these activities have all become common practice for the connected members of humanity...i.e., the netizens.
The Internet has grown from just a few thousand users, to hundreds of millions of users in a little over two decades. From the original dialup connections to the blazing broadband performance of today, its steadily increasing performance and scope has attracted many new users, devices, and applications. Its rich content ranges from weather reports to on-line shopping malls, from personality profiles to blogged opinions, from pictures of space to everyone's MySpace, from search engines to virtual environments, from breaking news to ancient history. It also includes surveillance videos and cyber tracks of your web surfing, your buying habits and your bank accounts, advertisements for just about everything, and hoards of information about everything else. It's certain the technical infrastructure will continue to advance as well. Transporting telephone calls and video-conferences, sending map directions and news to your cell phone, downloading pay-per-view movies to your home television, letting you unlock your home from your office PC, turn up your heat on the way home from work, monitor your baby-sitter's attentiveness during an evening out, and countless other uses will be enabled by the continuing advance of the cyberspace technical infrastructure. And in the not too distant future, it's a near certainty that the personal computer and the television will merge...cyberspace will be ubiquitous. And just think...all of this has occurred without a conscious plan. Most of this has occurred as a result of the commercial ambitions of those companies and individuals who have shaped and driven it thus far. It seems a very few are considering how it has...and might in the future....alter the personality of humanity. Isn't it time to give some thought to what role cyberspace could...and should...play in the future of the human species?
Insight The evolution of cyberspace (what the Internet is leading to) is steeped in technical and social complexities. Its dynamic capabilities, characteristics, controls, and interfaces will shape our relationships with information, technologies, each other, our cultures, our futures, and our collective knowledge and awareness...our level of consciousness about ourselves...for generations to come.
Concept Let us impose our imaginations on its evolution by using it now to accomplish two goals. First, let's use cyberspace to enrich each others' awareness of...and insight into...the true nature of its impact on humanity in general. Second, let's use cyberspace to enrich each other's awareness of... and insight into...the personality of humanity. How can we accomplish this? We must use the global whiteboard of cyberspace to paint a portrait of humanity, with each of us contributing what we are convinced is an accurate piece of the portrait (i.e., verifiable evidence is our paint). We do this by sharing our knowledge and insights through a mechanism devoted solely to this purpose. (See the sister site www.cyberagenda.net for details.) Debunking is encouraged as perceived realities must be tested, lest our vision of ourselves will be blurry and in doubt, and the confidence we need to compel its desired evolution will suffer.
As participation grows, the pieces of the portrait will begin to mesh, gaps in our understanding will disappear, shadowy activities will be exposed in our light, and we will begin to (confidently) recognize our portrait as the true reflection of humanity in the mirror of time (see Premise below). Parts of our portrait will please us, other parts will worry and trouble us, and sadly, still other parts will make us downright ashamed. But if we do it right, the speading wildfire of global awareness will burn out those parts of the portrait that worry, trouble, and shame us, replacing them with a compelling vision of an inspired human character. What more noble use of such a tool could there be?
We know how it has changed us thus far. But how might it change us in the future? What opportunities does it offer to create a more humane humanity? What risks does it pose to the nature of our species? What will be the nature of cyberspace in, say, 20 years, if its evolution continues to be dominated solely by commercial interests? Will it be a resource we'll be proud to leave to our progeny? Let us strive to make it sensitive to the critical role it is playing in the human agenda (i.e., endow it with a concience), and liken its structure to that of a perpetually evolving servant to humanity. May it help us peacefully integrate the future into today, so that future generations might always be proud of the path behind them. Let us imagine a plan for cyberspace...a script for its role in our own evolution.
Premise That we can succeed in shaping the evolution of cyberspace for the benefit of present and future humanity is based on the inherent power of a spreading awareness among all the peoples of Earth. Beginning with the connected netizens around the globe, we must cause an uptick in human consciousness such that we become collectively aware of the true portrait of what we are. Our portrait must show the truth of how we live, how we are governed, how we treat each other, how the strings behind global events are pulled (and by whom), how we are manipulated, hoodwinked, and fleeced (and by whom), and the history of how we got this way. The mechanism for painting this portrait is here www.cyberagenda.net . If we can accomplish this awareness, and we can agree on the simple premises that we all have a right to be here, and we all have a right to share equally in the gifts of the planet (which is to say that not one of deserves to be fleeced out of our efforts to create our own opportunities and dreams to share in the planet's gifts) , then the following tenets can be our guide for shaping the evolution of cyberspace:
We must examine the current and historical evidence for the animating force behind humanity's state of mind, mood, and facial expression...which animating force makes us afraid, depresses and worries us, and makes us collectively cry...and which helps us find our courage, inspires our confidence and faith in our species, and brings a smile to humanity's face and its collective spirit? If you don't believe that only "love" should fill the sails and set the compass for all the inhabitants of spaceship Earth, then please, open your eyes, look around you, consider how humanity treats itself, contemplate the calloused greed and indifference exhibited by many who hold high places, ask yourself how far we have strayed from being our brothers' and sisters' keeper....and then allow your heart and your mind to realize that no sovereign boundary, no race, no language barrier, no belief system, no religion, no geographical location, no heritage, no history, no culture, and no form of government can define a fellow human being as not being your brother or sister. We all...each and every one of us...came into this world the same way, and some day, each and every one of us will go on to whatever comes next in the same way. Doesn't it make infinite sense to enjoy each other's company while we're all passengers on this ship?
Evil resides in darkness, where love's light does not shine. In darkness we stumble around, tripping over our weaknesses, and are easily led astray. The light of love lets us see where we are going, and allows us to see obstacles ahead, and steer around them.
Obviously, humanity is stumbling around in the dark today, led by those who are perpetually tripping over their own weaknesses, and you'd have to say...from the "brothers' keeper" perspective...that spaceship Earth is off course. If you're still on board, then consider the possibilities for illuminating the future if....
Enough of us care about the rest of us, and those who will come after us (else love has no real meaning and depth) that...
Some of us show the rest of us the true pieces of the human portrait...and the evidence must be irrefutable, and then...
Some of us who see Truth must try to arrange the pieces such that the true portrait takes shape and guides our awareness...allowing some of us become more of us, and more of us become enough of us, and then...
Once more of us have become enough of us to show the rest of us the true image of humanity reflecting from the mirror of time, helplessness and desperation surface, and give birth to a collective outrage, which we already anticipate and therefore agree…
To focus our outrage…like a spiritual laser… to etch an outline of a new, more humane human portrait, where courageous hope…tempered by intelligent determination…will color the details of a new human face…
A face whose expression forgives the weaknesses of those who have painted so poorlyand soiled our portrait with the ugly colors of greed and corruption, where the tears of tyranny’s lack of compassion bleeds through the canvas of humankind…we quietly remove the brushes from their dirty hands…and begin painting anew with the light and colors of a new covenant...
Where humanity’s reflection in the mirror of time will begin to smile…And the Great Spirit of the cosmos…the Intelligent Energy of all creation…the Face of the Deep….will once again recognize us as its own.
Parting Shot The roots of cyberspace, i.e., its relationship with humanity, are taking form now. Beginning with the emergence of the Internet, cyberspace will soon manifest in just about every facet of life. There are many forces shaping the evolution of the cyberspace...commercial, political, organizational, personal, technological, and so on. This means there are many hands, with varying agendas, on its evolutionary rudder. Its path, and hence its relationship to humanity, will be shaped by these forces whether we are involved or not. Should your hand be among those on its evolution rudder? Should your vision and imagination manifest in the manner and direction with which cyberspace evolves? That is for you to decide. Also for you to decide is what you want future generations to find when they examine the role you played in the definition and evolution of the cyber environment, an environment that they will have long since inherited from our efforts...or the lack thereof... at the steering rudder today.
That there will always be a cyberspace is somewhat debatable, but most would agree that, absent some catastrophic global event, it is extremely probable (assuming it does not already contain the seeds of its own destruction). That there will always be a cyberspace that can be shaped by ordinary folks, where its relationship to the fabric of humanity is still pliable, may very likely depend on our collective efforts to impose our vision and imagination on its evolution today.
If you are interested in learning more about, or helping with the cyberagenda mission, then please email your questions, comments, and/or contributing ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As this is a work in progress, this site will change now and then; check back when you can for new developments. Most of the action, however, will take place on the sister site www.cyberagenda.net , where we will be painting the human portrait together.
"If humanity has no particular destination, any old road will get us there. But if we build the road with vision and imagination, certainly it will be smoother and straighter than an accidental, indifferent path that keeps happening to us...instead of for us...over and over again.
Finally, you might find a bit of background relevant to the cyberagenda mission. The Imaginet trademark used on the www.cyberagenda.net site was conceived in 1993. In those days of predominantly dialup (i.e., "very slow") Internet access, the mark was originally envisioned as a brand for all the new Internet features that would be enabled by high-speed/broadband access (e.g., video streaming, video-conferencing, online movies, net-based software, and all the other bandwidth hogs we have today). It was derived from a mantra of "Imagine a network that could.....(do all these then-impractical things)". It was thought that the emergence of broadband Internet access would enable an Internet limited only by our imaginations. A variety of circumstances prevented this initial use, happily so, making it available for its current use today. So instead of an "Imagine a network that could..." mantra to brand high-bandwidth services in the early days of the Internet, its role has evolved to be humanity's brand for "Imagining a cyberspace that should"...a much more rewarding use, wouldn't you agree?
Please enjoy the pictures below of some of the Earth's gifts we all share.....
Thanks for visiting... hopefully, you found the site interesting... or even better... inspiring. Your thoughts about the cyberagenda mission, and the concepts presented here, would be most appreciated. Suggestions for improving the site...or its mission...are also welcome.
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