Our frontier is that of the mind and heart. That frontier may take concrete shape in the form of the Internet but the Internet is merely its current manifestation. Our monitors, whether on our computers or other future devices, are and will be our windows to a boundless universe. These may be our windows but our vision reposes in our souls.
We have always had the ability to soar but no one gave us permission to do so. We seemed to be bounded by the limits of our terrestrial imagination. And then we landed on the moon and it appeared that we were free of those limits. That event made imagination real. We of course had the ability to fly all the while but that first giant step, limited though it was only to “mankind” although Congress and the courts later expanded it to include “personkind,” brought it home. Home, at least, to those who are willing to soar.
Now the Net is our launch pad. We are not required to bring with us into this new universe the earth-bound ideas of the old. We are living in a time when we can be free of the gravity-pull of industrial revolution mentality—the mentality of take and not give back. We can approach our lives—our individual lives and our collective lives—with a sense of vision, a vision that is limitless, a vision founded on e-magination sm. There are, of course, no limits to the Internet and what it can be. There are no limits to us and what we can be. The limits for both are only what we believe them to be. But the Net brings our boundlessness home.
Many who are participating in the Net may not be able to feel its limitlessness or if they can, they may feel uncomfortable without the lack of parameters, boundaries. As in off line life, we often limit ourselves out of fear of being free, however unknowing that fear may be. Better to live fearful but predictable lives than to experience the wonder of limitlessness.
One of the fears in this new e-world is the fear of living without centralized control. No one ever told us that we are powerful. All of our learning has taught us to cede our powers to others. The Net has made us all, each of us, equally powerful, equally important, equally responsible for its survival. The Net is not to be governed by others for the others are us. That personal responsibility may be too scary for many to accept, true though it may be.
As we move out into this new frontier, this new mindset, we can look back from today and see our old ideas growing smaller, more distant, not unlike that tiny drop of blue planet as it looked 30 years ago, receding into the past.
The Net is both the vehicle for our travel and our travel. It is art imitating life imitating art.
But we have, each of us has, to believe it to be so.
© 1999 Ivan Hoffman