The power of human convergence
Think. Today we have about 2.5 billion songs on YouTube, which is visited by about 10 billion people worldwide every single day. This is expanding like the big bang every minute. Even if you are a paraplegic, the whole world of music is at your fingertips—the classics, modern, rock, jazz, Broadway, anything that suits your demanding taste. All you need is an iPod, iPad, tab, whatever, and a pair of cheap earphones, and the universe is yours. If you are home, and not disturbing anyone, buy a good set of speakers and fill the room with your music.
The Internet is making copyright almost obsolete. In this emerging e-world, there is a new paradigm—sharing, not owning; not entrepreneurial, but spiritual. This is the new renaissance, an exploding human consciousness defying time and space, like a supernova explosion in 10 microseconds, defying established norms.
The powerful YouTube search engine will bring you to any song, any singer, ever since recording was invented a century ago. It will also bring you to 20-odd related songs by the artist or by the title. If you have nothing to do, and are totally bored, you can weave and soar through the labyrinth of music the whole day until you are drunk with joy. Depression will vanish at the click of a mouse. You can click the playlist of a singer, and the music will go on for an hour, while you eat, work, read. All this is in the comfort of home or the discomfort of a retirement hospice.
If I were a paraplegic, instead of moping in a dark corner of the retirement home, I would ask the nurse to take me out to the knoll and leave me there with my music until sunset. I would tell her, “Leave me. Come back in two hours.” And I would go back energized and happy.
Man has reached a point in time when he can heal boredom and depression on a global scale, and replace these with happiness and inner peace. The Internet has the power to heal wounded souls, and make lost souls rediscover themselves. Perhaps 10,000 people worked together to reach this human feat of total global music access—programmers, web developers, musicians, full orchestras, employees of server firms, etc. That is the power of human convergence.
Think. You are a student with an assignment to research on a weird topic such as “low-orbit satellites” or “submersible robots.” The powerful Google search engine will list for you all websites that have even just a word of the search key. When I once told my students to research on the Mafia, one eagerly raised her hand and read from her Blackberry through a web link the entire history of the Mafia that went back to Lucky Luciano and Eliot Ness. I let her read for 20 minutes, and the entire class absorbed so much in such a short time. Wow. That’s what I call instant learning. And I was just sitting there passively, in silence. The Internet was my coprofessor. Any grade school kid can learn about adult things like super black holes at the center of the galaxy having in its grip a trillion stars, complete with high-resolution Hubble space photos.
Say you’re a budding entrepreneur. At the tip of your finger, you can find products sold anywhere in the world—old, new, upcoming—and even read detailed technical specs. You can buy instantly in e-stores like eBay and Amazon. The package arrives in just a few days at your gate. Cyberspace has made time and space almost obsolete. You did not even leave the house. You helped alleviate traffic. The Internet is the absolute agent for human convergence. The Internet has also made hundreds of young people millionaires overnight. Games alone are a trillion-dollar industry.
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Teilhard de Chardin, SJ, was a Jesuit paleontologist who expounded on the magic of human convergence. Like Charles Darwin, he was condemned by the Church for his theories of evolution. His books were banned. His superiors told him to shut up or be excommunicated. Later, after his death, the inconsistent Church turned around 180 degrees, proclaiming him as one of the greatest theologians of the century for his insights into the evolution of human consciousness.
If Darwin expounded on physical evolution, Chardin went beyond it, expounding on the evolution of human consciousness, which was a sequel to Darwin’s biological evolution. Chardin said that human consciousness, like the single cell evolving into the complex human brain, has a convergence and a divergence—divergence into the evils of the Internet, hacking, promoting pedophilia, corporate and military espionage; convergence into the good points of sharing and information access. The possibilities are vast and limitless, whether for good or for evil. And you can now make love via Skype, if you know how to.
Chardin, the paleontologist-turned-philosopher, explained that human consciousness will eventually converge to Christ. All of creation is “Christ-centric.” This profound insight awed modern-day theologians. All of a sudden, Chardin jarred the Church theologians with a simple single theorem. The universe goes back to the Creator: That is a primeval cosmic principle.
Today, Chardin’s theory of the convergence of human consciousness is exemplified by the Internet, people holding hands across the planet, sharing, exchanging, learning. The Internet can bring a new spiritual renaissance, if we do it right. The Internet supernova is in motion, one galactic implosion never before seen in human history.
Bernie V. Lopez ([email protected]) has been writing political commentary in the last 20 years. He is also a radio-TV broadcaster, a documentary producer-director, and a former Ateneo professor.
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