Bone Black Cyberspace

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.


3 thoughts on “Bone Black Cyberspace

  1. I also like the fact that the internet, when not blocked or filtered by governments, gives a lot of freedom to its users. There are limitless possibilities for sharing information and ideas which makes it a tool, which I believe, will help advance the human race faster than ever before.

    It’ll be interesting to see what the world is like in 20 years.

  2. No need to apologize to me on your blog. Your writing is a joy to read. I just wish your informative and thought provoking post showed up in Google Reader with a wee bit more frequency.

    I only wish I could write a paragraph as nice as any of the three you’ve shared here. What jumps out at me most and seems to resonate with the most is your use of the pronoun we in identifying the source of power in bone black cyberspace.

    As for Paul’s question in previous comment about 20 years forward, I’m relying on you guys to make a positive difference.

  3. Thank you for the responses!
    Paul–I’m also interested to see where we’ll all be in 20 years–where the internet will have taken us, and what kinds of problems it will (or won’t) have helped us overcome. I think that inventions like this are chances for humanity that only come along occasionally–and the internet is probably the most potentially valuable since the printing press. I hope we never let that value get censored.
    Professor Lockman–thanks for the encouragement, and I’ll try to make the posts more regular! Still trying to overcome my clumsy computer skills…

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