So that’s what the internet looks like

Let me be the first to admit that the technology sector of my brain is not highly developed.

Despite using the internet every day, most of us don’t understand it. It’s an omnipresent mystery, it just is and we use it. Envisage a bunch of 0s and 1s catapulting down fiber optics and satellites showering us with electromagnetic waves - this onslaught of code transforming into precise detailed communication (of any form) on our monitors, anywhere on the planet and perhaps one day, beyond. Phenomenal stuff. It brings to mind a letter of Shoghi Effendi (1936) which included this in its predictions:

“A mechanism of world intercommunication will be devised, embracing the whole planet, freed from national hindrances and restrictions, and functioning with marvelous swiftness and perfect regularity.”

So it’s great for a visual person like me to finally have it pointed out by those in the know - the Cooperative Association for Internet Data Analysis, to be precise - this is what the internet looks like. Oh, now it makes sense.

3 Responses to “So that’s what the internet looks like”

  1. 1 Collis November 27, 2006 at 2:00 pm

    wow the internet is kinda pretty really. I sure hope they had a computer program to map that out and not some underpaid worker drawing lines for three months :-)

    Its pretty amazing that the Guardian would predict it so accurately. What’s interesting about the Internet is that the uses we put it to now are so distant from its original use that is amazing. Moreover the way we will use it in another decade will be even more far removed. It’s like telephones, I am sure back in the day noone would have imagined what a huge part of business and life they would eventually become.

    Of course it would be nice if the Internet really was free of national hinderances, but for the moment it is still very heavily weighted towards the US/West. I certainly don’t see a lot of Zambian or Bolivian websites around (though I must confess to not having really looked :-)

  2. 2 SAM December 1, 2006 at 10:00 pm

    But are we where and when the Guardian predicted?

    “freed from national hindrances and restrictions”? I am not quite sure that this tool, born of the cold war is the exact instrument Shoghi Effendi predicted. At least at this moment, when countries like Russia and Iran have so many restrictions on it.

    I believe that, one day, through our effort, that day will become real for all human species.

    PS: Very nice blog! I believe I shall return, more oftenly

  3. 3 Misagh December 2, 2006 at 6:20 am

    Welcome Sam! I was hoping someone would raise that point, because at the moment use of the internet is not yet “freed from national hindrances and restrictions.” The US owns about 75% of IP addresses, with China’s share amounting to that of a large US university. Most of the world’s population does not have internet access. But even in many developing countries where that is the case, a student with a university account or a nearby cafe can access the world. As you mentioned, countries like Russia and Iran and others have heavy restrictions on it. But even there, it has still revolutionised the sharing of information - for example, Iranians are a major blogging population.

    The technology itself does fulfill the prediction in Shoghi Effendi’s 1936 letter, but its application at the moment, unfortunately, is far from universal. This is a symptom of greater ills affecting society such as extreme wealth and poverty.

    What is fascinating about that letter is that the internet reference is probably the closest prediction to being fulfilled. Just a glimpse of the rest!

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