Bible? Internet? same dif?
Believe it or not, I actually just did a project on Martin Luther for my Sex, Love, and Power in the Renaissance class, so when I read our reading by Clay Shirky I was actually kind of excited to write a post. That being said, “the internet” is a very complicated concept to me. Especially at this point in our lives, in history even, the internet feels like the entire world. Think about the pandemic; we made a huge transition to doing school online, and the internet was the only reason we could even think about having such a productive switch. So many of us are used to having the internet constantly at our fingertips, it’s our normal. With something so ingrained and frankly, essential, to our lives, how do we pull that concept apart?
When I think back to Martin Luther, the closest thing to his “internet” was his translation of the Bible. Y’all are probably thinking, “no Rosemary, the Bible is nowhere close to the internet, are you crazy??” You’re right, it’s not close in the sense of technology, but it connected humans in the same ways that the internet does. Because it was translated into an accessible language, everyone could use it! It gave people immediate access to their burning moral and spiritual questions, just like Wikipedia does for us. It also gave people a point of connection, of common ground, and sharing of knowledge. Just like there are forums online, the Bible gave people common things to talk about! Clearly, there wasn’t such an extensive wealth of interests to pursue, but I’m sure people spent a lot of time talking about interpreting the Bible and retelling its stories. It was a deliberate means of discussion and sharing ideas! Is that not what the internet is?
To me, the internet has so many technological and digital aspects that I can’t even begin to comprehend, but at the very least, it is a collection of thoughts and ideas that are shared between millions? billions? of people. It gives power to creativity, knowledge, news, and talents, and it opens the door for exploration to more of these things. Now, I could be wrong about this next statement because I’m an atheist and I’ve never actually read the Bible, BUT, doesn’t the Bible create this same kind of inspiration and opportunity to learn and create new things? I think my point is that the internet is about interpersonal connections that revolve around one big medium, whether that be little blog posts communicating with each other through the use of the internet or German common people expanding their minds and spirituality during Luther’s quest for reformation. Maybe I’m reaching! The internet is so simplistic and yet so intricate, and that’s why it’s so hard to put into words.