Re: [-empyre-] In response to matters raised by Paul Annear

On 7.1.05 08:52 PM, The Paul Annears at wrote:



> There is, unfortunately, no sign that the power of the modern computer is
> being used to augment a cooperative human intelligence.  If anything the use
> of the computer is allowing an unprecedented amplification of human greed and
> stupidity.
> A Paul Annear


The net allows anyone, not just those only interested in self-serving and
narrowly idealistic enterprises, to communicate their ideas and desires.

On the same day that I received your Empyre post Paul, I got an e-mail from
my sister Jean forwarding an article from the National Catholic Reporter by
Joan Chittister.

Don't give up hope mate, its not the tool that's at fault its how you use
it. I include the full article below, I hope its not to big dear webmaster,
and I have to emphasise that I'm not a religious person, more of a secular
humanist, so I'm not pushing a personal view. The writer raises some
interesting points and quotes some useful sites and orgs.

best, Barrie Collins

Article from

>From Where I Stand January 6, 2005 Vol. 2, No. 32

A Benedictine Sister of Erie <>, Sister Joan is a
best-selling author and well-known international lecturer.  She is founder
and executive director of Benetvision: A Resource and Research Center for
Contemporary Spirituality, and past president of the Conference of American
Benedictine Prioresses and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.
Sister Joan has been recognized by universities and national organizations
for her work for justice, peace and equality for women in the Church and
society.  She is an active member of the International Peace Council.

Coming to the revolution a little late but still on time By Joan Chittister,

On Christmas Day, of all the days in the year, I got invited to join a
revolution -- a quiet, secret, sneaky little revolution but a revolution,
nevertheless. And the way it happened is almost as interesting as the
revolution itself. 

The truth is that I'm a closet Internet geek -- maybe not so closet but a
very run-of-the-mill kind nevertheless.

As far as I'm concerned, Internet technology is a Pandora's box of
possibilities and problems. I also consider it one of humankind's most
potent non-violent weapons against the weapons of governments, hate groups
and self-righteous bigots who set out, not to believe differently, but to
excoriate everyone else who believes differently than they do.

Having said that, it is also true that I came to an understanding of the
potential of the Web slowly.

For a long time, I did what every one else does: I used the Internet to buy
books from and send email -- the down and dirty stuff designed to
make a fast life even faster.

I once considered the Internet as simply a kind of text telephone. I could
use it, I thought, as a substitute for the U.S. Post Office. Better than
that, I could contact the individuals in my life who needed a kind of quick
response without benefit of either stamps or posting. Most of all, I thought
of it as a species of universal billboard designed to make private
information publicly available, a new sort of advertising gimmick called a
Web site. Recently, however, I've begun to discover another whole dimension
to this communication system. I have discovered that the Internet carries
within itself the quiet power to organize the whole world into one great
thoughtful colloquy. This revelation snuck into my life a little at a time
in the most benign of ways.

First <>  appeared on the scene making world
religion both a public and a personal commodity just when all world religion
were turning global rather than simply regional.

Then onto my little screen moved <> ,
young, eager and committed to another kind of political conversation.

Finally, Howard Dean took my computer by the throat, clicked together an
army of young people who wanted a different world and helped us all find one

I've seen the Internet's power to organize the rave parties that have begun
to gather large crowds of people, seemingly out of nowhere, to do anything
anywhere at anytime together -- to meet on downtown corners of large cities
for pillow fights or to have a beach party of strangers, for instance. A
kind of "do it yourself" mob scene technology.

Then one day, I found myself invited to be part of a universal conversation:
"the first Internet roundtable planning session for the Dialogue of Global
Civilizations: Muslim Cultures and Western Cultures in Quest of a Just and
Peaceful World. <> " Scholars from around
the world will pursue an organized Internet conversation aimed at
bridge-building between these two cultures that will culminate in an
international conference on the subject in the future. The idea is fresh and
creative, plausible and possible.

I began to sit up and take notice. The world had changed under my feet. Here
was truly another way to communicate, forget the leafletting level of past
public awareness projects.

Here was another way to learn. I joined an on-line search program, <> , that enables me to search over
40,000 books, magazines, encyclopedias and journals in one place at one
time. A veritable on-line library, I can search not only its sections but I
can read every book there a page at a time, set up an on-line study carrel
and, unlike any other library I know, leave my books on my own bookshelf
when I log off until I come back to go on with my reading.

Now, on Christmas Day, I got a message, out of the blue, about joining the
Not a Damn Dime Day
revolution. All I have to do, the announcement tells me, is to refuse to
spend a single dime on anything -- food, gas, entertainment, hardware,
necessities or consumables -- for one day, Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, to
protest the war in Iraq.

I don't need to march anywhere, hold any signs, risk any jail term, absorb
any jeers from passers-by, or tell my family. All I need to do is to join
millions of other people in sending a silent but potent signal to the people
in power that I am opposed to the war in Iraq and that we are calling on the
government that started it to do something about ending it. It is an
attempt, the organizers say, to "remind them, too, that they work for the
people of the United States of America, not for the international
corporations and ? lobbyists who represent the corporations and funnel cash
into American politics."

No doubt about it, here was another way to organize. Here was another way to
be a presence in society. As the organizer puts it, "What if it worked?"

The Internet might even be a way to organize national conversations on
current issues. We could start, for instance, by asking ourselves spiritual
questions about political subjects -- like why it is that we are all so
stunned, shocked, dismayed about the 150,000 deaths in Asia from a tsunami
but we don't seem to be bothered a bit about the over 100,000 civilian
deaths - most of them women and children - which, the Lancet study
<>  tells
us, have resulted from our own invasion of Iraq?

>From where I stand, it occurs to me that however tardy an Internet
revolutionary I may be, the computer can become one of the most potent
pieces of technology ever available to the common person. Come to think
about it, starting that kind of revolution on Christmas Day may have been
more than appropriate.

Comments or questions about this column may be sent to: Sr. Joan Chittister,
c/o NCR web coordinator Put "Chittister" in the subject

<> Copyright © 2005 The National Catholic Reporter
Publishing  Company, 115 E. Armour Blvd., Kansas City, MO 64111 TEL:
1-816-531-0538   FAX:  1-816-968-2280

end of quoted emeil

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