By s.i. wells
Duck and cover...and you will be safe from nuclear holocaust. In the event of a chemical attack, place Duct Tape around the edges of all windows and doors...and you will be safe to breathe for another day. Don't Panic - Remain Calm... common words that are expected to extinguish our instinct to flee from harm. Nothing to Fear but Fear itself...and somehow rational thought will triumph over...Fear.
Duck and Cover...Duct Tape...Don't Panic...Nothing to Fear...are these words to live by...or words to die by…or just words?
Our brain manufactures language and language is our principal way to communicate thought. And, some thoughts are powerful enough to change human behavior.
In the olden days, we would just think of something and tell the next guy so that he would know our thought too. We used to do it person-to-person or in small groups or even in moderate assemblages or via the written word in a note or a letter or on a signpost. And then we devised more sophisticated ways like the newspaper, the telephone, the radio and the television.
Very powerful stuff, but frankly nothing when compared to the scope, ubiquity and speed of the internet. Mark Twain once remarked that a lie makes it halfway around the world before the truth can get its boots on. Today, word travels at the speed of light around the globe in the mere blink of an eye - no time for boots.
The power to use language has been enhanced by a broadband on steroids. The power to communicate is now borderless, timeless, wireless and boundless. The power of language is no longer slowed by the barrier of translation.
As a consequence, the power to communicate thought is ginormous. IM’s, tweets, emails, text messages, links, blogs, aggregators, news services, search engines, deep search, Google, Bing, Kosmix, Meehive, Yahoo, Alta Vista, Ask, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, 3D…and on and on and on. Sight, sound, text, motion combine to enrapture us with data bits, bytes, megas, teras in ways never before imagined.
And yet, it is all just the communication of thought via a new set of tools, really a new dialect - the “broadband dialect.” We have entered a brave new age of thought, powered by a multi-media lexicon of technological magic to tell, to show, to mystify, to entertain, to enlightened and to deceive. Will the power of thought conveyed by this new dialect be the power to do good or not?
Maybe we should all just step back from the brink, from the swirling attack of digits, the ones and zeroes, the binary coda, and remember that some sentient being is acting as the creator, the auteur, the mastermind of that thought communication, of that expression of language in verbal, written and other dazzling ways encompassed by the “broadband dialect.” It is truly all thought, all the time, but just because you saw it on the internet does not make it so.
As this cloud of data overwhelms us, take a nanosecond fellow traveler and take note. Have No Fear. Stay Calm. Face the speaker and assess his transmissions. Face the speaker and realize that his thought platform of choice is no longer just the written or spoken word, but a symphony of data orchestrated to persuade, to cajole, to demand, to not merely tell you an idea, but to infect your mind with a virtual reality of data rich, emotionally powerful sensory cues to add validity to…a thought.
You can always chose to duck and cover or flee from the information overload or go with the flow and just believe, or you can participate in this brave new pulsating globe of thought where minds are connected, knowledge is shared and frontiers are explored. We are at the brink of a new world order where the melding of minds can produce extraordinary insights communicated in ways never before possible and you are fortunate to be alive in this most interesting of times.