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Spirit & Technology

Is there Spirit in technology?

If we create for the betterment of humanity, Spirit will enter our creations.

One can feel the Spirit in one of our newest technologies, the Internet. Its creators had a vision of global communication that would blur national borders and create a global community. The Internet is a decentralized body. It has no boundaries, no closed doors.

After nearly a decade of theoretical development, the first form of what became the Internet came to life in 1969, when four University computer systems were strung together, under commission by the Department of Defense. It was dubbed ARPANET, or Advanced Research Projects Agency Network. AT&T provided the physical wire that was used for the network, while each "node" used various computer systems available at the time. Research and new developments continued. In 1984, the number of internet hosts exceeded 1,000. New methods of organization begun to be used to make administrative tasks easier, and the Internet we know today took form. In 1989, the ARPANET celebrated it's 20th anniversary, and at the same time, it's decomissioning. This made the Internet a purely civilian-administrated body. That same year, the number of internet hosts numbered over 100,000, one hundred times the number from just five years earlier.

The World Wide Web and its Creator

In 1989, also, a new invention that would utilize the Internet was conceived by Tim Berners-Lee while working at CERN, the European Particle Physics Laboratory, in Geneva. He envisioned a system that could be used by groups of people to combine their knowledge into a web of hypertext (non-linear) documents. We can see the success of his vision in the popularity of the World Wide Web on the Internet today. Many people think that the Web and e-mail are the Internet. That's not quite true; whereas the Internet is the roads and highways that are used for transportation, the web consists of houses (web sites) that exist in their "domain" on the Internet, and one's web browser is the automobile that takes one to various places on the web. E-mail is another system that uses the Internet to deliver messages and is analagous to the system of road-side mailboxes and postal delivery vehicles.

The Web is a great example of how our minds can work; they both have the ability to link anything with anything else.

One of the most powerful factors of the Internet and two of it's offspring, e-mail and the WWW, is that it cannot be controlled by any individual or group. Its creators made sure of that, although political and economic pressures today do attempt to threaten the freeform nature of the Internet. After pouring billions of dollars into that effort, no one has succeeded in controlling the Internet.

The Web has created a completely new form of media. Every new movie, tv show, best-selling book, or what-have-you, has a website. The web gives us a completely new way of organizing our thoughts and making "links" or associations between them. Although, in reality, we have been able to do this with more conventional methods for a very long time, the web will ultimately make it more accessible and organized.

So, does the Internet have Spirit? This writer thinks so. Let us know what you think!