In the early 1980s, I served on a country-wide committee to determine whether the internet should be made available for use to the public. The consensus of opinion was “not yet.” The powers-that-be, as usual, ignored our findings and “Pandora’s box” was once again opened to a world not ready to cope.
In ancient mythology, Pandora was granted the guardianship of a magic box that, once opened, would release pestilence upon an unsuspecting world. Her curiosity getting the better of her, she lifted the lid just a tiny bit, and was rewarded with a barrage of evil leading to illness, war, bigotry, death and all the ills humankind is heir to. Only one thing remained, nestled in a far corner of the box, and that was “hope.”
Today, we have once again unleashed the horrors hidden in a new, sleeker, more insidious version of Pandora’s box: the internet. Instead of using this fantastic magical box for the betterment of mankind, it has also become an outlet for trolls to vent their discontent. Rather than find ways to fit into society, they are able to join with other malcontents to fan our fears and find status in a world where, previously, they had none.
Through social media this frightening minority has been able to seduce many of us with their bigotry, cunning and lies. Some young people and “oldsters” as well, believe everything they read. The best way to turn a lie into truth is to keep repeating it until it becomes gospel. The internet gives us the freedom to do just that and corrupt the minds of gullible people.
In the late 1980s, my father, a seasoned citizen and doctor, predicted that the internet would turn us into obese, myopic, egocentric people typing our lives away. I’d like to prove him wrong. We still have “hope,” that glittering savior stashed in a corner, waiting to be released. By using the best computer ever invented, the human brain, we can capture “hope” and ignore the nay-sayers and rabble-rousers, making sure to check all the so-called facts before we accept them and pass them on.
Let’s wipe the internet clean of innuendos, anger and half-truths and fill Pandora’s new box with overflowing hope for future generations. We can do the impossible. We can tame the internet and vanish Pandora from our world, sending her back to the Greek gods where she belongs.
Adrienne can be reached at AKL.firstname.lastname@example.org.