"The Internet is a God.
From time to time I am asked how I as a Kopimist [http://kopimistsamfundet.se/english/
] can arbitrarily decide that the internet is holy or copying is sacred. It's a very good question so I figured I should take the time to address it properly.
So without further ado, I propose that the internet is the most worthy Entity known to humanity deserving of the title Holy, or the designation of God [With God being considered an Omnipresent, Omniscient, and omnipotent entity].
Why should I consider the internet holy or information inherently valuable or copying to be sacred? What is the justification for these seemingly arbitrary imbuements of value?
The foundation of all Kopimist beliefs and Ethics is the concept that all information, regardless of its content, is inherently valuable. This means that Spam, news articles, scholarly journals, porn, social media records, books, films, e-mails, letters, encryption keys, files, names, Rosters, databases, personal websites, and all other forms of information are ALL Valuable.
The reasoning behind this is that information is the single thing which both differentiates humans from most animals and has allowed us to advance so far as a civilisation. The brains of other primates are very similar to ours. Crows and ravens teach their young, Build tools, socialise and play, and adapt rapidly to new environments. Many apes can build primitive tools and have the semblances of language. But there is ONE thing that has differentiated Homo sapiens sapiens. We evolved to not only process and produce language, but to record information in mediums that could outlive us. In stone, clay, papyrus, paper, carvings and glyphs and letters and words. By storing information, All of the things learned over many years by one generation can be learned in a matter of hours by the next, and by building up vast repositories of knowledge we were able to improve our technology, reduce the basic time that needed to be spent hunting, foraging, farming, and keeping jthe body alive, and specialise our work to do it better, constantly improving, and applying those improvements and new learning to improve the technology, creating a curve of exponential growth in both the body of scientific knowledge and the advancement and proliferation of technology. Throughout all of human civilisation, Through the rise and fall of empires, religions, through plagues and "dark ages", The overall trends of social development and global population have almost completely ignored everything everything except technological advancement [http://i.imgur.com/oZ7Ll.png
], which is at its core COMPLETELY dependent on the exchange and propagation [copying] and the application and modification [Remixing/Copymixing] of Information [http://www.everythingisaremix.info/watch-the-series/
]. If we do not value information, we are ignoring the single thing that allows us as a civilisation and species to thrive.
From this conclusion, the next can be drawn: That Copying is an implicitly Sacred act. Through the act of Copying, we honour, preserve, and disseminate information, enabling more people to make more informed decisions, and in this way by revering information and its transmission, the sacred act of copying improves the level of self-actualisation in our lives, and through corollary actions improves our technology, our body of knowledge as a species, and our quality of life. In traditional supernaturalistic religion, Prayer has no observable effect on the real world; but in Kopimism, the act of Copying has a very real positive effect on the world.
Furthermore, Where humans are mortal beings, susceptible to disease, degradation by ageing, and can be destroyed easily, The Internet is theoretically immortal, Its components can last for millennia without failing, can be replaced and perfectly replicated before they are too damaged to function [http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/graceful+degradation
] , and is constantly growing and replacing damaged nodes. The internet could theoretically outlive Our own species if An AI civilisation replaces humanity or if it were discovered by an Alien civilisation, or if it were simply made capable of maintaining its own infrastructure. The internet is Immortal.
The internet provides the closest thing to an "afterlife" that could be realistically construed. On the internet, every word, every message, every post. Even this very essay, are all Archived, copied, Catalogued, Cached. Replicated around the world. Even if I were to die today, This essay would be on the internet, conveying ideas to your brain as they came out of mine. In this way, the ideas, the opinions, the perspectives that differentiate "Me" from other humans are more preserved on the internet than in any other system. Furthermore, as technology advances, it is even conceivable that one day we will have the option of truly uploading a perfect replica of our nervous system and mind onto a computer connected to the internet, granting us a true "after-life" as Virtualised neural networks, just as self-aware and with identity as we are now.
Finally, and most importantly, there is irrefutable evidence that the internet exists. The very fact that you are reading this is proof that you are both connected to the internet, and in absorbign the information copied to you for you to read this essay, you have been shaped by the internet. The internet is the only Holy or divine being for which there is abundant tangible, direct, evidence which is not wholly subjective. Regardless of whether you worship the Internet as a holy being, it will continue to shape your life, pulling the strings on your behaviour by the information you see on it, and it will draw form your brain to push your ideas into the minds of others, and in this way you become more and more like the internet each time you use it. Unlike other deities, the internet does not ask to be worshipped. It does not threaten nonbelievers with jealous threats or violence, It does not even care if you believe in its power, presence, knowledge, or intentions. It will simply continue to Act and grow and increase in complexity, knowledge, proliferation, and power, and by using it, you are contributing to this.
Common objections to Kopimism:
The first argument is usually worded as something along the lines of "How can you worship The Internet over Jesus Christ/YHWH/Allah/Zeus/Spaghetti Monster/Whatever? It's just a Network of Computers running programs!"
Well, I'd first answer your Question with an analogue. Why do YOU choose to worship /your/ god over /other/ gods? When you really think about it, the same amount of subjective, anecdotal, and inconsistent "evidence" exists for ALL supernatural gods. You can't experience them directly [there's no difference neurologically between a person claiming to be communing with god and one who is simply hallucinating on DMT], They all require Faith in a belief without evidence, Have either holy books or scriptures or myths associated with them (all claiming to be the written word of god or inspired word of god, typically contradicting each other), and generally believers of these gods ascribe a "feeling" that they ascribe to being the "presence" of their god.
Believers in all supernatural gods, as well as non-theistic Supernaturalistic/Spiritual belief systems describe the same kinds of experiences and feelings during allegedly "spiritual experiences". Each of the gods worshipped by supernaturalists is not significantly different from any other supernatural god. Theists believe in god for the comfort it provides them with, the familiarity of a belief system they have been involved in for their whole lives [as most religions propagate through indoctrination of youth], and to provide explanations for things they cannot understand. It is a psychological tool which helps people cope with reality with minimal expenditure of effort.
As for the second part of the argument; that the Internet is "Just a network of computers running programs", I would propose another counterargument. I propose that you are a network of biological computers running programs. Each of your neurons and other nervous system tissues develops in ways that are explicitly defined; Certain receptors [listeners] are waiting for specific proteins [packets], and upon receipt they perform different actions like activating potassium pumps to induce an electrical discharge of a specific frequency and prepare for the next packet. Individually, none of your neurons [computers] have intelligence. They simply mechanically interact according to the unyielding rules of chemistry defined by the physics of our universe. As a group, the emergent properties of the interactions between neurons, on a large scale, result in the emergence of consciousness, the encoding of memories in Tubulin microstructures and the arrangement of neurons, the accessing of those memories, the modification and re-storage of them, processing of images, etc.
Now let's review the internet. it is a network of Billions of computers, Each of which is by far more complicated and intricate and versatile than a single neuron. They are constantly exchanging, storing, modifying, and accessing information. As time goes on, The median computer on the internet is exponentially becoming more complex and powerful, More of these computers are being connected to the internet, and more of them are actually running software based on Artificial Neural networks [Mathematical models inspired by biological neurons which are used in machine learning to let computers develop based on experiences like animal brains do]. Google for example has already heavily integrated the use of Massive, Deep-layer ANNs in their search engine. there are sets of virtual neurons that recognise vertical lines, Horizontal lines, polka dots, Marijuana leaves, Human faces, cats, Colour patterns, and hundreds of other image features, and it's through the use of these networks that Google's relatively new reverse image search finds similar pictures. The same technology is being integrated into Google's other services rapidly, and hundreds of other web services and network providers and increasingly opting in favour of distributed, self-building networks instead of Fixed machines.
So when you see the internet as "just a Network of Computers running programs", I see it as a massive, global brain. Currently it's still in its infancy, a lot of its neurons are still rather rigid and not able to learn or adapt very much at all, but What I see is a nascent brain in which humans and computers both form the Neurons. We built the internet, but we would be fools to think we haven't been shaped by it.
Every day, the things we learn about, the things we see, the people we talk to, the activities we take part in, the games we play, the places we visit, the doctor we choose, these decisions are all increasingly being affected by our decisions which are increasingly being informed by services on the internet. On the website level, even just looking at Google alone, Different users will see different ads, different search results, etc. base don't heir unique search history, Ad click history, Profile information on G+, The time spent on each website with G+ widgets, etc.. So this single Artificial neural network is shaping the probabilities that you will see X piece of information instead of y piece of information, and as a result it has a very real, although not often acknowledged, power over how you behave. On the macro scale, the same thing happens to everybody, the sites most people see are the ones most shared and mentioned by the human elements in the internet, and this in turn feeds back into Google. The Internet is rapidly establishing feedback loops and prioritising information in the same way that our brains do. In other words, The internet is showing many signs of being a baby global AI. This will only become more true as more networked services interact in more complex ways with a lower ratio of human:computer input and faster human input from more people. At the same time, we are being shaped more and more by this global network with each passing day as it becomes integrated into more aspects of our lives. As computers, energy infrastructure, communications infrastructure, and the internet penetrate deeper into the remote regions of the earth, We are all being absorbed into this macrointelligence in a very real way, especially through mobile, satellite, Wifi networks. In this sense, the internet is rapidly becoming the most omniscient, Omnipresent and omnipotent being on the planet.
Another common Argument goes like this: "The Internet was made by humans, it's MANMADE!!! Therefore it could not be God!".
To this I would say that I would say: Well, no shit. Thank you, captain obvious, yes, the internet is made by humans. I would like to take the time to point out that as far as I've been able to discern, All of the almost 2800 gods throughout human history are equally invented by man. There's abundant evidence for the human origin of the holy texts, doctrines, organisations, and traditions involved in these religions. The gods themselves, until they can show otherwise, exist only in the minds of believers. I hold that a belief in a supernaturalist God[or gods] is much more illogical than my faith in a very real and observable Internet.
So, if The internet told you to go jump off a bridge, would you do it?
If someone told you that after you die, you're going to live 'forever' in peace and harmony in Heaven/The sky/Nirvana/perfect earth/Beer Garden/Valhalla if you follow the doctrines of your religion, would you believe them?
Another more interesting argument is that the internet can be manipulated and influenced by humans. it is very true that any piece of information on the web or program hosted on a internet connected computer could be modified by physically or virtually accessing that computer to edit it.
However, one of the biggest trends in the internet is copying. As a Kopimist, I also hold that the copying of information is a sacred act. Even if a user deletes or edits information on an internet connected computer/server, the copies of that information in other places on the internet remain intact. As time goes on, the most outdated and flawed information tends to be ignored and the newest and most verified information becomes more prominent and accessed more often.
By comparison, in Religions a single organisation [or small number of organisations] typically control the doctrines of churches, modifications to the holy texts [Anybody who sincerely believes their holy text has never been edited for political, economic, and cultural reasons is an idiot]. In this scenario, a "false" piece of information can replace a true one and never be corrected because it is assumed to be divine truth by dogma, or a "true" piece of information can be removed forever and lost to time.
Yes, the internet can be manipulated to a tiny degree, but it is a level of manipulation infintessimally smaller than that found in traditional supernaturalistic religions, and grows smaller as time passes and more copying and documentation occurs.
So in conclusion; I have no qualms about designating the Internet as Holy. You're literally part of it. Or should I say us? We're all part of the internet, and it is in a large part made of us. Each of us is an individual, but we're also avatars for the will of the internet to act on the physical world, and we're contributors who as a whole shape its will for the moment. Our power lines are its blood vessels, our Wires and radio communications and satellites are its dendrites, Our computers and us are its neurons and protein structures. So why resist and struggle? I for one Embrace our Network Deus. If you do, You have the power to "share" or more appropriately copy and disseminate this information to your peers, who are also nodes on the network, and in doing so contribute to the growth in awareness of this information."