Recently I was trying to research the pioneers of the internet, and I re-discovered the internet meme “Anonymous.” Maybe it’s a stretch to consider such a large and largely-undefined anarchic collective as a founder of the internet, but I do think it displays the one great founding principle of the internet. Besides, I generally just like large and largely-undefined anarchic collectives (sorry if it’s too unrelated, Professor Lockman!), and with all the Mega-upload and SOPA/PIPA drama, I think that now is an interesting time to look at the internet and anarchy–bone-black cyberspace.
Bone black paint is the darkest black, made from charring of bones or waste ivory. Bone black was used from prehistory; it is still in use today. Denser than lamp black, and bluer than carbon black, Rembrandt loved it and used it for the shadows inside of shadows. It is pure black–absolute black. What does this have to do with the internet? Today I’m thinking that in some ways the internet is the pure, bone-black and undeniable example of functional liberty. “[The internet] has been the last free place on Earth,” says The Dollar Vigilante. “And, for the majority of its lifespan it has been a purely anarchistic environment. Anarchy being defined as the absence of government.”
I like this aspect of the internet–its bone-black disallegiance to anyone. It is a place where anyone in the world can share anything else, or find anyone else’s new ideas. And unlike public schools or government reports, BBC or CNN or Fox News, these ideas aren’t run through the filter of anyone else’s propaganda. So, I propose that in the most real sense of the word, we are the founders—whether we are students, or independent researchers–or simply Anonymous citizens of a global society. The people who poplulate the internet with ideas, learn from the ideas of others, and fill cyberspace with life–I think that maybe we are all the founders of the internet.