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Synopsis of The Spirit of the Internet

     Written by Lawrence Hagerty with the non-technical reader in mind, The Spirit of the Internet explains in everyday language how the Internet works, who is in charge, and some of its future possibilities. It also describes different aspects of "spirit," as manifest in the Internet community. Throughout the book,speculations about the Internet, the noosphere, virtual reality, shamanic plants, and other seemingly unrelated domains are woven into a fascinating tapestry of thought about the evolving Gaian consciousness that is beginning to envelop the planet.

     The Spirit of the Internet is a wake-up call to the human species. Although we are making significant advances in biotechnology, nanotechnology, and other sciences, our species-consciousness has not yet expanded much beyond the point of self-interest. We have polluted our land and water and are about to reach the point where biological life as we know it may no longer be sustainable on this planet. The Internet, however, through the interconnection of millions of minds, provides a way out of this technological cul-de-sac if we will only listen to its spirit.

     As the subtitle suggests, many of the ideas in this book are speculative, some people will say highly speculative. For example, the concept of an ephemeral "sphere of mind" encapsulating the Earth, as originally theorized by Teilhard de Chardin in 1938, is not a mainstay in most established schools of thought. This is the subject of the chapter titled "The Internet and the Noosphere." Other ideas, such as the ones you will encounter in the opening chapter concerning Virtual Reality and Inhabited Virtual Worlds, may sound speculative but are actually descriptions of activities that are now common in cyberspace.

     The Spirit of the Internet provides a timely, positive message for those who are looking for ways to engage in the ongoing global discussions about the direction in which our technology seems to be leading us. Every day, thousands of seemingly inconsequential technical and regulatory decisions are being made by businesses and governments. One-by-one, these little decisions are building the foundation upon which the human rights of free speech and privacy will stand for another millennium.

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