I Go Online, Therefore I AM?
In yet another TED talk I’ve been hoarding, Harvard Law professor Jonathan Zittrain talks about how digital media exist only because of the inherent goodness of humanity.Â Isn’t that a lovely thought? And he backs it up.Â He points out that the only reason the Internet’s structure worked was because the creators weren’t doing it to make money. And he explains from there how the whole world collaborates to make the Internet possible.
Then, YouTuber Nalts made a similar point. He’s reverse-psychology-ing his kids by paying them to play video games, explaining, “we’re motivated through money for algorithmic left-brain tasks to a certain point, but after that money can have the opposite effect… on heuristic tasks, right-brain ones, ones that we find intrinsic value to, we’re actually counter-motivated by contingent remuneration.” So he’s agreeing that things done for the love of it work very differently.
And to complete this trifecta of weirdness, the Internet argument reminded me of C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity, which a book based on a series of radio shows, in which, essentially, he argues that if you look around the world as a sensible person, Christianity just makes sense. Â So he’s agreeing that everyday life provides proof of the divine.
Is it absurd to use a lawyer, a consultant, and a dead writer to back up an argument that the existence of modern technology is proof of a higher power?Â Yep.Â But I might do it anyway.
I’m not sure I’ve convinced even myself just yet, but the more I think about the extent to which we depend on each other, the extent to which online technology relies utterly on that, and the extent to which that dependence comes from a trust in our inherent goodness… there’s something there.