The True Power of the Internet

Published: March 22, 2017 (almost 3 years ago)
Updated: almost 3 years ago

Everything you ever thought about the Internet and why it’s so powerful is probably all wrong. For those of you who live and breathe the Internet, there’s a reason you’re here. It’s not about how much power you have to create your own presence online. It’s not about building great websites or thousands of followers on social media channels. It’s certainly not about using those connections to make money or spread your personal beliefs. What about disseminating truths or debunking mainstream news feeds in the name of eschewing so-called brainwashing by the super-powerful secret society? Nope, not even that. Pssst, it’s not even about telling your own unique story of pain and suffering as a form of self-coping or psychoanalyzing your way to better mental health so you can finally accept your own existence, heal, and transcend that pain to true happiness and success.

So what is it you’re really doing? You are making a journey across the landscape of life, and you’re sharing that journey with other fellow human beings. For some of you, you’re able to be more honest and true about yourself in the vacuum of indirect contact with others. For others, you share only a facade of your true self. While others willfully fabricate a virtual world in which everything about yourself online is pure fiction. There is nothing wrong with any of these journeys unless you’re knowingly destroying other people’s lives in the process. For my purposes here, I’m not talking about the latter willful destroyers (i.e. scammers and con artists).

Let’s talk about me for a second. I’m not unhappy in my life. I’ve led a great life with few regrets for my past. I say “few regrets” because there are things, when I think back, I think to myself, “boy was I stupid to do that” or “what a dummy I was to walk away from that opportunity” or “I should’ve handled that better.” But seeing as that’s in the past, all I can really say is, wisdom comes from living and occasionally reflecting accurately on the missteps taken along your journey of life and making ever better decisions moving forward.

But I’m not exactly happy, either. I work far too much. I’m not getting any younger, so I start to really feel the pressure on me to make something big happen to secure our financial future. Coding is still fun, but it’s getting old. I know a lot about the Internet and what makes it work and what guarantees colossal failure, yet I have never truly put that knowledge to work in the way I know I could. That’s probably my single biggest regret to this day. In short, I have not been brave. Instead, I watch others grow from nothing to millions and billions in net worth time after time. I’m smart enough to do it. Why don’t I do it, too? Yup, that’s another reminiscence and regret of mine. Taking the wrong actions when I knew, even then, what the better action should’ve been. I just read this week and I paraphrase as I only remember the intent of the statement: Making easy choices does not lead to an easy life; but making hard choices that are in alignment with your life goals almost definitely will.

Should’ve. Would’ve. Could’ve. Over and over and over. In my head.

It’s easy to get caught up in all that and truly forget why we are here on Earth and what our true origins are. We’re human, and we are highly social beings. But I don’t think we have ever in the history of humanity begun to make the kind of connections with others that we’re making in today’s age of the Internet. We’ve had to go through the age of “Me” to get to what I believe is the coming age of the “Soul.” Being human is being spiritual, but we’ve forgotten that for the longest time.

Let me put something else into perspective. I’m profoundly hard of hearing. That means I have next to no hearing compared to most people. If I were born just 30 years earlier, I would not be as successful as I am today. I would not even be functioning in “normal society” – I would be relegated to the world of the deaf and signing my way through life with a very limited sub-group of humans who happen to share my same handicap. Think about that for a moment. Without technology, I would not be able to hear the words you would speak to me. Without the Internet, I would not be able to meet you, let alone read the words you would write to me. I would not be able to communicate instantly with anybody anywhere in the world.

I can talk. I can hear with hearing aids (sorta!) and interact with normal, average, everyday people who do not share my handicap. You might have to speak up. You might have to repeat yourself, but you’d do it willingly and without hesitation. Some of you might be totally uncomfortable with my hearing loss and unsure what to do, even when I tell you. But by and large, most of you think nothing of it and figure out a way to communicate with me right on the spot. I can’t help but to occasionally contrast today’s outlook on the disabled to what might’ve been if I were born 30 years prior. I would no doubt find myself an outcast and one who regularly got beaten up by bullies who just didn’t understand. Worse yet, whose parents wouldn’t understand, either. But you know what, that was where we were as a human race mere decades ago. I have observed the change in society first hand. Today, I walk into the grocery store and the clerk attempts to sign to me. In 1980, that would not have happened. Did the Internet change you to make you a better person? I think it did. Nay, I know it did.

Before the Internet, imagine this: You’re the captain of a sailboat out on the open waters of the sea. You could just let the winds and the currents take you where ever all willy-nilly, or you can decide where you want to go. Sometimes you don’t know where you want to go. Sometimes you see the stars in the sky and choose one to follow for a while. Sometimes you get to a place you long dreamt of getting to only to realize once there that there’s nothing there that truly appeals to you. Imagine wandering for years like that in near total isolation. I think that’s most people’s lives.

Far too may of us wander through life a bit aimlessly. We make connections here and there along the way, but they don’t stick. Or your time between reconnecting is so far and few between, you don’t truly grow day-in-day-out by having that connection. We’re so caught up in our own musings and journey that it’s just an aimless meandering from one point to the next.

The power of the Internet is that it is giving more people a sense of purpose and aim in their lives than at any other point in history. We’re able to find and choose the people we want to connect to. We are able to shake off the traditional and powerful means of shackling us to another’s vision and control. We can dream up ideas and solutions to our personal pain and instantly share it with the whole world. We can empower ourselves to happiness on our own terms. Amateur radio operators have nothing on this generation’s ability to communicate across the globe.

We are able to connect with other human beings that will uplift and enrich our own lives and journeys. We are able to uplift and enrich another’s life by doing nothing more than sharing our own experience and journey.

Now let’s turn back to the idea of being a captain on your ship at sea, but this time, you can look out and see others with a beacon shining brightly from the bow of their ship, even in a dense fog. You can now choose to sail towards that beacon and hook up mid-sea, talk, share experiences, and make informed decisions about where you’re setting sail next. You can even choose to put a light on your ship to serve as a beacon to others and draw experiences to you. In short, with the Internet, we’re becoming catalysts to each other, urging us all on to a richer, fuller, happier journey through life.

That is power, people. How will you use it?

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