The internet is an amazing invention. It allows massive amounts of imagination to be transported worldwide in a matter of seconds. It allows people from the opposite side of the world to share thoughts, and even conversation in realtime. It allows ideas such as PAX Nation not only to be planted in the first place, but to possibly grow and maybe even flourish. Yes the internet is a powerful tool.
That said, the internet in some ways is also a major threat to humanity. As quickly as it can spread accurate information, it can also spread misinformation, lies, and vitriol. And the worst part is that people in general are lazy thinkers. They would rather presume that something seen on the all-wise internet is impeachable simply because they found it on the internet. Even more so if presented in a believable way. It is much easier to believe what we are being told, especially if we want to believe it is true, or worse yet fear it is true, then to research and make our own decisions. This is how hatred and intolerance is spread.
So how do we combat willful ignorance? You can’t argue with a set mind, because even when what they say defies common sense, they aren’t willing to hear your arguments. What can we do? Ultimately for them there is not much that CAN be done. When someone is determined to walk in the shadows, the best one can do is make sure they know where the light is, and hope that someday they realize that maybe that is the better option.
In the mean time we can both share alternate ideas, as well as DEMONSTRATE their viability. Another beautiful thing about the age of information, is that we can really see that many of us think alike. In my mind, there is not such thing as a completely original idea .. in the sense that only one person thought of it. The whole concept of owning and idea, of “intellectual property” is kind of absurd to me. That does not mean we should take other’s ideas and claim that we thought of them … that is just simple respect. But it is entirely conceivable that multiple people can come up with the same basic idea at the same time (or at different times for that matter). So who “owns” that idea?
For instance the idea behind PAX Nation is not original. Maybe the specific details of it are, but the basic concept of a large internet community that has an effect on world policy is definitely not unique. In fact I was partially inspired by the success of Avaaz.org, who have already been effectively doing much of what I am hoping to accomplish. My goal is to maybe take what they have done a step further. Instead of just many shouting together loud enough to be heard, we can have many shouting as one … an entity that actually wields direct power in the world government. Still a crazy dream maybe, but I think one worth pursuing anyway.
And there are many more attempts at similar collaboration to be found. I just recently encountered Bloggers for Peace, which is a movement for many outspoken members of the online community to share their views on humane and peaceful solutions to the difficulties of the world through the power of the blog. The first step to changing the world is to understand what is wrong with it, and to be willing to learn about possible solutions. The next step is to live the solutions. I am sure there are many other online presences with similar missions, and I welcome others to point them out to me, and also maybe point my idea in their direction. We should all be working TOGETHER. 🙂
And maybe together we can combat the growing wealth of misinformation and hatred that is also spreading like a virus through the digital highways.