Its hard to picture the true size of the internet. It is a range of mountains stretching across the horizon and I am a tiny speck under its shadow. The snowy summits and deep valleys of the web’s accumulated data rolls on and on, to the tune of almost a Yottabyte of data and every minute it grows.
I look up in awe at the mountains of knowledge in the web. They surround me on all sides and I cannot help, but stop to marvel at their sheer mass and beauty.
“Information.” A voice cuts in beside me and when I look down, a man has appeared beside me. He wears a roughly shaped white tunic loosely around his body and holds a long white stick that he leans on, as he looks up beside me.
“The mountains are of information.” He continues “Some of these rocks here you see at the bottom, they’re nothing but data,” and he pokes at a nearby rock with his stick a few times to illustrate.
I have learned on my journey that no thoughts are really private in the internet as you spill them on a page, but I sense that this man is different. He is not the tinny voice of the web that echoed through my head before, he is something different.
“What do you mean?” I say turning to my strange new teacher.
“Pff.” He purses his lips at me and wander away. I think he will leave me and my question unanswered, until he turns suddenly to face me again. In one smooth motion, he drops to the ground to sit cross-legged, the stick still tightly in his grasp. Staring at me and then somehow satisfied, he begins to speak.
“You were looking for the mountains of knowledge in this digital land. They all come looking for it and when they see the mountains of information, this vast and beautiful place. They think they have found it and are happy to leave again and leave me be for a while. Ha!” And he slaps the stick down at the word, making me jump.
A small smile curls at the corner of his lips, as if he’s played this trick before, but his face turns stern again as he continues.
“You look and see these mountains and believe you have gained the knowledge of the web, but what will you remember tomorrow or the day after? What have you lived and felt? What do you really know?”
“Nothing!” He shouts, not waiting for my answer. “You see the rocks piled together and think you understand, but the mountains do not yield their secrets so easily. If you wish to understand. You must touch the mountain, you must climb it.” He leans forward, as if to share a secret and whispers.
“There are no mountain’s of knowledge. Only paths. You must walk the ones it shows you and make your own through these mountains. Then you will see.” He sits back smiling broadly with satisfaction.
“But how do I do that?” I ask.
He only smiles at me still and with a wink, he is gone.