Trinity, the Relational Person, As Context of WWW.

I take a phrase from Tim Berners-Lee’s article from the previous post on what is the Web, it suggests a daunting vision of what may be coming:

“A radically open, egalitarian and decentralised platform, it is changing the world, and we are still only scratching the surface of what it can do. Anyone with an interest in the web’s future — and that’s everyone, everywhere — has a role in ensuring it achieves all it can….” Berners-Lee remarks: “Looking back for a moment, what is the web we celebrate this year? It is not the wires connecting our computers, tablets and televisions. Rather, it is the largest repository for information and knowledge the world has yet seen, and our most powerful communications tool.”

Blogger: what may be interesting is to look for the context of the Web itself to understand where it may be going, (if we go it).

The Second Vatican Council inverted the pyramid of theological explanation. Instead of going from the bottom up, it went from the top down. It began with the Trinity of Divine Person to the understanding of Christ, the God-man,  as the absolute defining and creating center and purpose of all that is, and on to man, who now can only be understood in terms of Christ as prototype of all men. And now from there to the understanding of marriage and sexuality – and society political and economic in terms of man. Man, now from there, cannot be understood as the Greeks observed him as a rational animal but “Person” destined to live the Divine Life  of Christ here and after death. The task of the human person is to become Christ and, by work, transform the entire material creation into the relationality that would be the ikon of the Trinity.

The reality of the www as staggering and limitless for relation, connectedness with persons and relations becomes intelligibile in the context of the Person of Jesus Christ as God-man, prototype of all finite existence. Robert Barron is not innocent of this vision when he writes that “Jesus is not only the one in whom things were created but also the one in whom they presently exist and through whom they inhere in one another. And if we are inclined to view the future as a dimension of creation untouched by Christ, we are set straight [by Colossians 1, 15-19]: ‘through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in hevaen by making peace through the blood of his cross (v. 20), Individuals, societies, cultures, animals, plants, planets and the stars – all will be drawn into an eschatological harmony through him. Mind you, Jesus is not merely the symbol of an intelligiblity, coherence, and reconciliation that can exist apart from him; rather, he is the active and indispensable means by which these realities come to be. This Jesus, in short, is the all-embracing, all-including, all-reconciling Lord of whatever is to be found in the dimensions of time and space” [ Barron “The Priority of Christ – Toward A Postliberal Catholicism,” Brazos (2007) 134-135.]. 

  And as a result of this centrality of Christ, there is what Barron calls, not merely relationality of all things, but a “co-inherence.” Barron writes: “Through the incarnation, the coinherence of the Father and the Logos seeks to provoke a coinherence of creation with God and of creatures with one another. In light of the entire Gospel, we kow that the momentum of this enflleshment is toward the total self-gift of the Cross: ‘Whan I am llifted up rom the earth, I will draw all people [things] to myself’ (Jn. 12, 32)… Consistently therefore, Christian revelation insists that the most radical sort of being-for-the-other – self-donation – is the nature of the Logos that has marked all created reality. Invoking (Bruce)Marshall’s negative formulation of the epistemic priority of Christ, we must say then that any philosophy, science, or worldview that does not see relationality, being-for-the-other, as ontologically fundamental must be false. To state it more positively, we can assert that what the mind correctly seeks as it goes out to meet the intelligibieilyt of the real is always a form ofcoinherence” (Ibid. p. 155).

Enter Berner-Lee’s World Wide Web!

Tim Berners-Lee on “The Web at 25:the past, present and future.”

      “In 1989 I delivered a proposal to CERN for the system that went on to become the world wide web. This year, we celebrate the web’s 25th birthday. Like the average 25-year-old, the web has been shaped by a vast array of influences — in fact, it was built through the efforts of millions. So this anniversary is for everyone. We should look proudly on what we’ve built. And as with most twentysomethings, the web’s full potential is just starting to show. A radically open, egalitarian and decentralised platform, it is changing the world, and we are still only scratching the surface of what it can do. Anyone with an interest in the web’s future — and that’s everyone, everywhere — has a role in ensuring it achieves all it can. Tim Berners-Lee Tim Berners-Lee Credit Nadav Kander Looking back for a moment, what is the web we celebrate this year? It is not the wires connecting our computers, tablets and televisions. Rather, it is the largest repository for information and knowledge the world has yet seen, and our most powerful communications tool. The web is now a public resource on which people, businesses, communities and governments depend. It is vital to democracy and now more critical to free expression than any other medium. It stores and allows us to share our ideas, music, images and cultures. It is an incredibly intimate reflection of our interests, priorities, disagreements and values. That makes the web worth protecting. At the heart of the web is the link, represented by banal strings of characters, notably those that start with http://. When we link information in the web, we enable ourselves to discover facts, create ideas, buy and sell things, and forge new relationships at a speed and scale that was unimaginable in the analogue era. These connections transform presidential elections, overturn authoritarian regimes, power huge businesses and enrich our social networks. Through this concept of linking, the web has grown up significantly in 25 years, from a collection of interlinked static documents to a much richer environment of data, media and user interaction. Millions of developers are using this open web platform to create distributed applications that can run on desktops, phones, tablets, televisions, automobiles, digital billboards, watches… everywhere. Very soon, millions more sensors, appliances and other devices large and small will take the web to new places. The potential excites me and concerns me at the same time — that makes the web worth our ongoing stewardship. We must build and defend it now so that those who come to it later will be able to create things that we cannot ourselves imagine. I believe that the future of the web is under threat from some governments that may abuse their powers, some businesses that may try to undermine the open market, and from criminal activity. In recent years we have seen a steady increase in censorship of the web by governments around the world. We’ve seen a proliferation of corporate walled gardens, excessively punitive laws pertaining to copyright and computer misuse, and attempts to undermine or disregard net neutrality. But mass surveillance, and particularly the reported attempts by intelligence agencies in the US and UK to break commercial encryption systems to make it easier to spy on people, is the most worrying of all, because it could engender a loss of trust and lead to Balkanisation of the web. We risk losing all that we have gained from the web so far and all the great advances still to come. The future of the web depends on ordinary people taking responsibility for this extraordinary resource and challenging those who seek to manipulate the web against the public good. The good news is that the web has openness and flexibility woven into its fabric. The protocols and programming languages under the hood — including URLs, HTTP, HTML, JavaScript and many others — have nearly all been designed for evolution, so we can upgrade them as new needs, new devices and new business models expose current limitations. I have several goals for the web of the next quarter century. Through them, I believe we can continue to advance our society and reduce some of the threats posed to and by a system capable of such reach and power.” More ‘Web at 25′ 10 more experts comment in our Web at 25 series… Re-decentralisation By design the web has no centre. Anybody can create a new website. When one site fails, the rest of the web continues unabated. Individual links are allowed to break so the entire web does not. This architecture enabled the web to scale and produced the long-tail distribution of sites so conducive to innovation and an open market. However, some popular and successful services (search, social networking, email) have achieved near-monopoly status. Although industry leaders often spur positive change, we must remain wary of concentrations of power as they can make the web brittle. By continually “re-decentralising” the web, we will unleash the next generation of technology, business and social innovators. In particular, I look forward to new approaches to video, photos, music and game distribution. We have seen some progress (such as DRM-free music) but there are still hard technical, business and legal problems to solve. Some solutions may disrupt people’s lives and livelihoods, an important reason to pursue social inclusion via the web. Openness In software, “open” refers to free or open-source software, standards, data, platforms, access and scope. These push control to the edge, where innovation thrives. Open platforms let users choose which software to install. The open-data movement seeks to boost governments’ economic efficiency, knowledge and public trust by liberating people’s data. Like decentralisation, openness empowers people, contributing to the innovation that produces economic and social gains. The web runs on open standards: globally accepted agreements that allow software to talk to each other. When they succeed, they dramatically lower the cost of creating something. That is why the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and its OpenStand partners IEEE, IETF, ISOC, the IAB and others defend open standardisation. Open standards are formed by consensus and form a fertile base: an idea, a search and some open-source software, and that idea is live. Inclusion The power of the web flows from its universality, but it is far from available to all. Research suggests that more than 60 per cent of the world’s population do not use the web at all. Often this is due to the costs of mobile and fixed-line internet access. To tackle this, the World Wide Web Foundation and partners have launched the Alliance for Affordable Internet to ensure fair and competitive markets in broadband. Tim Berners-Lee at his desk in CERN, 1994 Tim Berners-Lee at his desk in CERN, 1994 Credit CERN People with disabilities must be able to use the web, and can do so when standards bodies, developers and content authors all do their part. An accessible web is a better web for smartphones and other devices, showing how we all benefit from the inclusive mindset. There are similar benefits to a web platform that supports all the world’s languages. Social-networking tools can also promote inclusion if we use them well. The web is interesting because it is universal; social networks are interesting because they are not — they give us a custom view, a manageable and trusted slice. On the other hand, tools do not serve us well if they reinforce -boundaries even when we want to stretch our social networks, or migrate from one tool to another, or leave a social network entirely. We must find ways to balance these needs. Tim Berners-Lee Tim Berners-Lee Credit Nadav Kander Privacy, free expression and security An open web does not imply that all information must be public. In fact, privacy is fundamental: groups of any size must be able to communicate internally in confidence to function at all. Like privacy, freedom of speech and expression are necessary for society, and are essential to democracy. Censorship on the web — the blocking of certain websites — directly attacks free expression and the freedom to be informed. Censorship violates free speech in obvious ways — spying more insidiously: it has a chilling effect by creating fear of retribution. That is why the right to privacy is even more important where free speech is not protected. The 25th anniversary of the web is an ideal moment for us as citizens and consumers to call for a review of the laws and standards that govern our rights online. Working with the World Wide Web Foundation and others, I have launched the Web We Want campaign to foster debate on how to resolve the trade-offs between security and privacy, and between the needs of business and decentralised innovation. This campaign will help everyone to recognise the web’s value, speak out in its defence and take action to ensure its future. It seems unthinkable that the web is already 25 years old, and many of us can barely imagine life without it. We all helped to build this, and the web’s future still depends on us. All of us must use our creativity, skills and experience to make it better: more powerful, more safe, more fair and more open. Let us choose the Web We Want, and thus, the world we want.

See next post for blogger’s take

Continue reading “Tim Berners-Lee on “The Web at 25:the past, present and future.””