The Internet: Everyday Magic
We're so used to working with ideas that we forget that we are accomplish real results simply by manipulating abstractions. Why can't we accept that the Internet is about an idea and not the fiber and other physical objects?
14-Apr-2009Version 2: 2023-03-18 10:09:41

The idea that you can add 10 apples plus 5 apples without needing any apples at all is magical. In the same way the Internet has been magic by letting us focus on the relationships without being bogged down by all the sludge in the middle. It is this magic that has made the Internet what it is.

I’m not talking about sorcery. I’m talking about the everyday magic of living in a world where ideas matter and we use words rather than fists. It is this magic which is lost when we cannot think abstractly and can only count with our fingers and can’t higher than the number of apples on hand.

Once your imagination is limited by the amount of glass you have and once you start dealing with who is allowed to access what and the price of the access depending on the happenstance of the path of the moment the magic vanishes. We use our imagination to create our own limits.

This is my reaction to reading about concepts like wholesale vs retail prices and the perverseness of settlement or peering prices. What does that have to do with the magic that is the Internet?

When I read that dark fiber is cheaper than shared fiber then I get very suspicious – it’s not just that we’ve lost the magic but something is very wrong. If you were told that it was cheaper to buy your own lanes on the highway than sharing a lane wouldn’t you wonder why?

When I read that we must pander and sell television shows and phone services in order to pay for our connectivity I can only wonder why a Pyrrhic victory seems better than no victory at all.