It’s the last day of the year, and I chose not to write any technical, nor critical article. Instead, I’d like to turn my attention to a phenomenon that’s one of the greater, even if overlooked, achievements of the Internet.
Besides the zillion apparent ways the Internet has changed human life on this planet, there are also several less apparent ones. One is the concept of “honor” in Internet-based cooperation.
One thing the Internet has created is a true Noosphere on a planetary level. For the first time in history, great minds with great ideas can meet without regard to borders, distances, or “real-life” social status.
In particular with the rise of the Open Source Movement, the concept of a planetary Noosphere, and its implications, have increasingly become an inherent part of web-based collaboration models.1
The Noosphere has one extraordinarily interesting property:
The only real currency in the Noosphere is respect.
The only criteria to go into cooperation with someone on the Internet2 is his competence and trustworthiness. And in absence of any noteworthy insights about that someone’s appearance, possessions, or ancestry, the only criterion to judge about someone’s competence and trustworthiness is his doing.
The Noosphere of the Internet is increasingly becoming the place where the ideal of truly equal opportunities is fulfilled to an unprecedented degree.3 And it is increasingly becoming The Place Of Honor on this planet.
Once again, it is a man’s reputation4 that constitutes his real wealth. Once again, a mans word is of high value. Because in the Noosphere, your word is all you’ve got.
These are exciting times.5 Great opportunities are out there, waiting to be unleashed. There are treasures and pleasures calling out for bold journeymen to start their personal quest.
Can you hear the calling? I can!
Let’s go for it!
Happy New Year 2009
- The term “Noosphere”, though much older, has been renewed by open source proponents in the 90’s, in particular by Eric S. Raymond in his essay “The Cathedral And The Bazaar“, and “Homestading The Noosphere“. [↩]
- someone whom you don’t know, that is [↩]
- At least among them who have access to the Internet at all, that is. It’s appeasing that their number is continually increasing. [↩]
- I’ve renounced formulating “man’s and woman’s” for stylistic reasons only, by no means out of any conviction. [↩]
- Admittedly, the “wild-west” period of the Internet has mostly come to end. But we’re in the “wild 20es”, sort of. As a flip side, we are increasingly experiencing the rise of “Organized Internet Crime”. I just hope there’s not going to be an “Internet prohibition” soon. 😉 [↩]