Instantaneous Global Communication

“Changes in the way we record and transmit information have deep effects, few of which are apparent at the time, but which are among the most potent in the history of civilisation. They transform habits of the mind, structures of the imagination, and the way we order our common life.”

“There have been three such revolutions in the past – writing, the alphabet and the invention of printing – and we are living through the fourth: instantaneous global communication. We do not yet know, and will not for centuries, what its cumulative consequences will be. Will it spell the end, or at least the decline, of the nation state? Will it lead to new forms of community and collaborative action? Will it hasten the demise of local languages in favour of the dominant tongue of the Internet, American-English? Will it bring about a fundamental re-orientation of human consciousness, reducing the significance of space in favour of time?”

“One thing is certain: the changes will go deep and they will be, among other things, ‘spiritual.’ Writing gave birth to civilisation. The alphabet enabled the spread of monotheism. Printing made the Reformation possible. Precisely because religion tracks the deepest connections between self, the other and the universe, it is sensitive to transformations of this kind. New communication technologies make possible new modes of relationship, new social, economic and political structures, and thus new ways of understanding the human situation under God.”

The Dignity of Difference, p. 117