To protect the people and secure their rights

Liberty and Democracy are not opposing ideas. The political center is where all change is made. Let's embrace reason and civility.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The New Enlightenment

Relax, I'm not trying to "enlighten" you.  People get enough of that with wild-eyed doomsayers and digital talking heads all day long.

No, it's just a topic that I've been reflecting upon for  some time.  We walk this planet together for maybe a hundred years if we're really lucky, most of us for half that time.  Consider your facebook account.. and your tweets and forums and even your email.  Never in human history have so many had so much potential to connect with other humans as they have today.

The Age of Enlightenment began, in my opinion, with the first printing press in Europe, the Gutenberg press, in the early 15th century.  Never before in European history had so many souls had access to communications.  It was the revolution that changed human interaction.

400 years later, the first industrial printing presses were created, leading to mass-communication never before imagined.  For 200 years, society has had this technology which has brought people together like never before-- newspapers, magazines, you name it.

And now, 600 years after the movable type press was invented, we can click "invite" on facebook and communicate to innumerable  friends around the world.  I have to admit, I felt like a proto-human facing a monolith when I first clicked on that button.

You-- we-- stand here alive and breathing the air at the beginning of something wonderful.  It's not a brave new world, but it is a brand new one.  Human interaction is accelerating.  That's a good thing.

But just as the Enlightenment brought about severe challenges to ancient systems of political and religious control, so the internet brings a challenge to our present institutions.  Whenever someone tries to rationalize controlling the internet, or locking it down, or otherwise denying us free access, stand strong for ideas like "Internet Neutrality".

And try to keep the LOL's and OMG's to a minimum (smiley emoticon here).

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