What is Internet? Internet is an entirely new world of communication and life style. Nowadays everything can be done through Internet. A brand new technologies and industries were introduced through Internet and still do. As a matter of fact, it really gives us infinitely many possibilities and will enable even faster further development of humanity. So, what is the problem here?
The problem is that we are not sure that Internet is really conform with what I call a total sustainability. In order to check this, we must go through all the aspects which make the total sustainability – economical, ecological, social and spiritual points of view.
The economical aspect can be depicted almost intuitively as an utmost beneficial – Internet enables us to do everything easier, cheaper and faster. And this saves money and makes money and makes us richer, isnt’t it? No doubt. But is it really this way? Yes it is, but it gives nowadays only one small part of the humanity this possibility. Only the people from the strongest industrial countries in the world and only people, which are rich enough have access to Internet. So it is actually of enormous benefit for the world economy as a whole, but this benefit goes only to a small part of the population. And makes the conditions for the other part even harder. Rich people and countries are becomming even richer and poor people and countries are becomming even poorer. And this is surely not sustainable! Not only the creation of prosperity, but the creation of prosperity for the whole humanity matters and can be called economically sustainable. So Internet can be economically sustainable, if it becomes accessible for every single individual in our society. Although nowadays this is not the case, I’m quite sure this will change in the future.
What about the ecological aspect? It is not so straightforward to jugde it. For an example, we used to send letters, now we send e-mails; we used to read newspaper and books, now we read almost only in front of the screen. And this both are sure ecologically nice – we do not need so much paper. But what about the energy amount we use? Once printed a book does not consume energy and can be easily recycled. Only its production comsumes energy and a screen, a computer, consumes energy for production, use and than there are still unsolved problems in its recycling. So what is better? I don’t know and I don’t think that someone knows. It is quite complicated to make a whole life-cycle balance of a product like a computer or a book and it is almost impossible to do it for the whole system called Internet. So we don’t know whether it is ecologically sustainable or not. We just need to do our best to make it be. How? If we can’t cope with a complicated system, we can cope with its not so complicated parts. Many simple actions can do. For an example shutting down the computer, when we do not use it, shortens enormouslly the energy demand. It’s just like closing the book, when we do not read it – it increases its life. 🙂 So if Internet is not ecologically sustainble, it can become.
We already covered the first two aspects, but we still have to judge the last two, but most important, I think. The social aspect first. Internet is social, no doubt. We can e-mail, we can write to people, we can even live-chat with people, we can speak with people, we can see people, we can meet people even if they are thousands of miles away and so on. This is social. We can buy and sell everything, we can exchange information, we can find new contacts, we can discuss, we can blog, we can publish, we can share, we can obtain, we can give, we can arrange our live in an variaty of ways – check the bus time-table, find a place, look at it from the space. We can even make sex through the Net. Yes, its true. You and your partner just have to buy suitable machines, which have the right form and enable the exchange of movements and vibrations. So we can do everything. Ok, lets say almost everything. We can even give hope or share a smile and be lucky. All of this is social and enhances contacts between people, but this contacts are not direct. There is a mediator, actually many mediators – the machine, the net, another machine and another net and so on. The communication used to be without a mediator – ask your grandpa. But we need this mediator, aren’t we? I think so. But it makes us unsocial. We evolve in a machine-dependent unsocial creatures. We find it every day more and more difficult to contact people without a mediator, with out a machine. Sure! Are you chatting or skypeing with your mate next door? I’m sure you do it. I do it as well. So Internet not only helps us, but also changes us. And we even do not notice it. This is still good, if we change in the rigth direction. So if you meet someone in the Net, meet her/him personally and hug her/him. You cant’t do that indirectly. Ok, of course, you can hug your computer, but it is not the same, I suppose . . . We can use the strength of the indirect commutication, but we can still contact people directly, face to face, and remain social and real. It’s the better way.
Is Internet spiritual sustainable? Uuu? What’s this? Under spiritual sustainability of the Net, I understand its capability to help us develop spiritualy. Spam and porn, massacre and violence are sure not going to help here. But the bible and Gandy’s talks or even a greeting from an old friend or a smiley can sure do it. 🙂 It is up to us to decide which contents we use and how often we use them. If we discard contents, which make us degrade in mind and soul, we won’t have such in the Net. You know – if there is no demand, there is no supply. So forget bad content and make good ideas popular, rate sites, donate people, send nice sites to friends. Actually, why not developing an enhanced rating system? 😉 Or there is already one?
To conclude, I think Internet is still not totally sustainable enougth, but it is up to us to make it, because it is and can be clearly beneficial for all of us in a variety of ways.