The archetypes of Internet
[Here you find some thoughts about the psychological impact of Internet.
Being a physicist I would like to point out one thing here: what follows are mostly good stories not good science. You can find here what I think about archetypes as a scientist. There is nothing wrong in a "good story" : what is wrong is if you tell a "good story" and say that it is a proven scientific truth]|
Memes and web pages[Added March 2002] Memes were introduced by Richard Dawkins in his book The Selfish Gene as the equivalent of the gene in the evolution of human culture . The Web allows us to consider a meme also a single web page that, once indexed by a search engine, will have a life by itself. A successful meme will rapidly spread on the Web getting more and more "votes" by pages linking it : in the end it will show up first in Search engine results .
Blog Mania![Added February 2002] as the hope of mobile Internet is about to become reality, the idea of having a personal diary on Internet that you update in real time is becoming more and more popular. To make easier this, new sites are opening that allow you to open a window, write down your next sentence in the Journal and then, by clicking on "submit", have your diary instantly updated. Weblogs or blogs in short are called such diaries and also such sites. Some of these diaries can accept also comments from other people, so that the diary writing can expand in a sort of web forum. I have not yet started one of these weblog, but,being a Webmaster, my site is,so to speak, my weblog. Specifically I have some documents that are set up like journals:
The stories of Internet[Added April 1999] Daniel Taylor in his book The Healing Power of Stories argues about the importance of good stories to build a community. Every community has its stories that bind all members together. In the past the storyteller was an important member of each village. From this point of view Internet is very important. It is the ultimate community :the community of communities. As such it is the ultimate Storyteller , the Keeper of All Stories. I hope that in the future there will be no more lost stories, wiped out by wars or other catastrophes:but all the stories of every human community,also the smallest ,will be kept in this wonderful store.
From another point of view, Internet is itself a new community and as such is building new stories. Bad stories mostly reported by newspapers, and good stories that all Netizens know. One of these good stories is the kindness for newbies. In my first steps in Internet I sent a question to a newsgroup. It was the usual stupid question of a stupid newbie. None in the newsgroup answered, but someone, a complete stranger, sent to me a mail with a detailed answer that explained everything to me. I didn't thank him, but when I read one of these stupid questions, I remember this mail and I will send too a mail to the newbie explaining everything. What are your Internet stories?
The archetypes of Internet[Added October 1998] Jung had this idea of a collective unconscious formed by archetypes that peoples everywhere in the World share. It seems almost like the Web: this hypertext that connects all online people in the World. The way Jungians study this collective unconscious is by using fairy tales, ancient myths and folk lore. And Internet is full of new myths.
These myths are necessary to help ourselves to adapt to this brave new world.
Mark Stefik author of Internet Dreams: Archetypes, Myths and Metaphors (The MIT Press, 1996), sees at least four archetypes in the Internet. For him The Digital Library metaphor points to "Keeper of Knowledge;" Electronic Mail, to "Communicator" ; Electronic Marketplace, to "Trader;" and finally, Digital Worlds, to "Adventurer." He is interested in metaphors because they express how we think about things and they point to unconscious archetypes.The metaphors we use to describe an invention seem to be guiding our imaginations and influencing what we think that invention can become. The fact that this metaphor arises spontaneously suggests that we still don't understand completely the potential of the invention.
Online depression[Added October 1998] A study has found that Internet users experience higher levels of depression and loneliness. See here for more information.
Internet Time[Added October 1998] "Cyberspace has no seasons.The virtual world is absent of night and day. Internet time is not driven by sun's position,it's driven by yours - your location in space and time" Nicholas Negroponte.
A new kind of watch by Swatch will allow the inhabitants of cyberspace to synchronize their life at the beat of a unique time.