Apr 02 2010

Google Is The New God

When times get rough, where do you turn for answers and support?  Some people look to family and friends, some people listen for the voice within, and some people pray to a higher power for guidance.  Chances are, though, your first stop is the electronic Gaia we call the Interwebs.


Prayer at dawn by Java Cafe

This topic first came to my attention through a comment left by an Idyll Ramblings reader on a previous post about how much we turn to Google for guidance.  Sandra Nauert wrote:

“This was interesting since I just read it after reading a devotional … about listening to God before making decisions.  Maybe Google is the new God for our modern world? (read with a sardonic touch).”

The point is fairly clear, but let’s look at not just how much, but also how deeply we rely on all the internet has to offer in our tumultuous lives.

The first and most obvious is the Google search.  As this was covered in the previous post, I won’t go into too much detail (the link is above if you wish to review).  Suffice it to say, we are a society that does not like to make uninformed decisions, and Google offers the first and easiest access to the wealth of knowledge and opinion stored in the vast internets.  Google is not alone – many use Yahoo and Bing as well – but it is certainly the most prominent.


Grief Support Group by Feeling Croppy

Once we have all the facts and third-party recommendations, we can often decide on the spot.  In that case, the internet acts as our only source of input and consideration.  For decisions with weightier and more lasting impact, however, we then turn to our friends and family.  While this is still largely done by text or in person (occasionally by email or phone call), we are increasingly relying on Facebook and Twitter.

With the ability to see which products our friends are fans of; the Facebook chat, wall post, and messaging system to ask questions; and the groups and sub-communities any member can join, Facebook offers support and more personal/credible opinions for our deeper inquiries.  Twitter also provides a quick and effective way to sound out opinions, but tweets and DMs are a bit limiting for full conversations.

The magic of Google, Facebook, and Twitter is that they truly do begin to resemble some kind of electronic lifeforce, connecting everyone’s experience and knowledge both from the past and in real time.  Just like the Eastern tradition of calling upon one’s ancestors, the web preserves the thoughts and opinions of people long-passed.  And much like the Gaia concept so beautifully illustrated in the recent movie, Avatar, from almost any place on Earth we can be connected to the living, breathing, and dynamic digital output of humanity.

In short, religions and spirituality are mostly pursued for answers, support, and community involvement.  The spread of Wi-Fi and 3G/4G networks allows the internet to fill most of these needs quite handily for a growing number of people.  While life’s mysteries and hardships drive many people back to a higher power as they age, much of the younger generations simply have less and less need for any organized religion or its rituals.  Instead, Google is their G-d, the place they turn to first.

What do you think of society’s reliance on the internet, search engines, and social networks?

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Photo credits:Living a spiritual life by B℮n


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