I received a note from a contact in Pensacola, Florida this morning (hello tocayo) and he said something that has stuck with me all day. He said, "I'm not much of cyber socialist". Come to think of it, perhaps I may be a bit of a socialist in the political sense, but in the fraternal sense a cyber socialist I am not. I signed up for Facebook and Linkedin, and Twitter just to see what the fuss was all about but to be honest with you, beyond the novelty of trying something new and different I really don't understand the urge behind what is making people flock to social networking in greater and greater numbers. The problem with social networking is that it doesn't connect worldlines.
I have written about worldlines before. Albert Einstein had an interest in them in regard to his study of physics. A world line is the sequential path of a human through time and space that marks the history of a person, starting at the time and place of one's birth until their death. When we are born, our world line branches off from our mother's world line. When we die, the world lines of the atoms that make up our body disperse and move on. If you could actually see a world line it would look like a twisting meandering path with both tiny ringlets and big sweeping curves and with various zigzags and ups and downs in between. Imagine a child being born and the beginning of his or her world line. The path that the nurse takes as she carries the child from the delivery room to the nursery begins the world line but the earth is also rotating at the same time and so both of these movements are recorded. While the earth is rotating it is also moving around the sun and the sun is moving around the center of the Milky Way galaxy which is also moving through time and space and all of these movements become part of the child’s world line. No two world lines are alike except, perhaps, for Siamese twins. Everyone (and every thing) else has its own unique world line.
Whenever we touch somebody our world lines intersect. Take for example two people shaking hands. In the three seconds it takes for a one pump handshake the Earth rotates about six or seven miles on its axis and moves almost sixty miles in its orbit around the sun which moves about four hundred and fifty miles in its orbit around the Milky Way Galaxy while the galaxy itself moves over five hundred miles towards an area in space known as "The Great Attractor"...which I like to think of as God Himself. While the two people are holding hands during this long, yet rapid journey through time and space the handshaking event is marked by the intersection of their world lines. In this day and age of computers and gigabytes and nanoseconds you could transmit a great deal of information in those three seconds. This thought led to my realization that if you had a computer big enough, and fast enough, and a cosmic positioning system like out modern Global Positioning System (GPS), you could keep track of everything in the Universe. It seems to me that perhaps this is how God keeps track of everything and since we were created in His image and likeness we will probably all become very computer savvy someday.
There is just no substitute for personal contact or for being in the same place at the same time whether you are having dinner with someone or sharing the atmosphere with an entire crowd of people. Somehow you need to be within eyesight or earshot to register a worldline connection. I have an idea though. I remember reading "Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley many years ago. In this book he described the movie theaters of the future which he named "The Feelies". The seats in the Feelies will supposedly recline way back and the movie will be projected onto the ceiling. On each side of the seat there will be a brass knob and you will place your hands on these brass knobs and when the hero kisses the heroine you will be able to feel the kiss on your own lips. Now there is an interesting thought. Perhaps Mark Zuckerberg could incorporate that idea to make Facebook more socially interactive. It might actually cure one real problem with worldlines. When I was in high school at a Catholic high school for boys, the Vincentian Fathers always reminded us that the the human mouth is connected to the anus via a long tube consisting of the esophagus, stomach, intestines, and bowels, and that every time we kissed a girl we were in reality sucking on a thirty foot tube half filled with fecal matter. So, you see? It just follows that cyber kisses would be much more sanitary.
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