Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Friends through the glass

My brother sent me this photo today....two creatures that should be running away from one another, getting to know one another through the glass. A safe barrier, a way to bridge the differences while keeping the risks under control.

As I looked at it online, I thought about how the Internet is kind of like that glass door. On our blogs, on e-mails, on wikis and chat lists, we get to know one another. If we passed one another at the bookstore or local cafe, we might never exchange a word...differences in age, gender, education, wealth, or appearance might keep us from ever saying hello, much less sharing our thoughts, feelings, dreams, or even family photos. We would never cheer one another up through job losses and bad medical diagnosis, nor send kudos on a new birth or a new job. We would remain strangers, barely noticed, or perhaps never even imagined.

Like the cat and the deer, we would stay far from one another.

Whatever the weaknesses of the Internet might be -- and certainly there are many -- it has at last provided people around the world with a long-needed glass door through which they can meet and say hello, and share a moment. Construction workers and doctors. People with perfectly sculpted bodies and those whose bodies barely function. American Jews and Syrian Muslims. College freshmen and octogenarians. through the glass of the Internet, we touch noses. We look into virtual eyes, and we see souls.

The Qu'ran says that nations and faiths were created differently so that we would have to make the effort and get to know one another. How exciting is it to speculate that this computer we are sitting at today, wherever you are, is part of that plan.