I imagine that all of you who are reading this have heard of The Third Wave made so popular by Alvin Toffler. To continue with the theme of our crossing of boundaries as an on-going story of the Abraham epic, I would like to suggest that we are all crossing over from the third wave-information era into a post information world view
Welcome to the Fourth Wave- the Virtual age.
Western society has more or less dealt with the problem of material well being through mass production technologies and organizational skills and knowledge.
We are well into dealing with the issues of the production and distribution of information. The internet and the Web, as are all of the information technologies that relate to the all encompassing term –Cyberspace, are the breakthrough technologies that have given us our information age.
It is now possible to produce information from anywhere in the world and to distribute it to anywhere in the world- at any time and any place.
In the past we had a problem of information scarcity, now we have a problem of information overload. The information age is- the third wave- out and the post- information civilization is already here.
This Fourth Wave is ushering in a new Virtual Age.
The human mind is creating information and knowledge for its own sake. We are creating virtual worlds for the human mind to experience and dwell in.
The Web and the Web.2 and the Web.3 are externalizations of the human mind.
Part of this meeting of the human needs also deals with an increasing powerful quest for the spirit. There are perhaps more people on some spiritual journey and vision quest than ever in human history. This quest for meaning is part of the spiritual journey of all of humanity.
In a very real sense, Cyberspace is also a “spiritual project”.
One of the really significant problems we are all facing is that nearly all of our established institutions- government, education, religion, etc. – are not even thinking about this boundary crossing into virtual land. They are mostly preparing for that which is fast disappearing—the information age of yesteryear.
Abraham and all of humanity up until this generation- are part of geographic, land, territory based communities. So Abraham had to move his body and begin his physical journey – “Get Thee Out”.
Now, I imagine that at least some of you who are reading this are part of a virtual community. In such a community there is a group of people who can communicate and share with each other by means of a vast range of information carrying gadgets. We do not meet face-to-face and perhaps never will, and yet we create a community. It is not the same as the traditional community and it has limitations but also a huge amount of opportunities that simply were never available to any person in the past. The very nature of human interaction is being reworked.
Certainly, one of the themes that is emerging in these virtual communities is a RE-spiritualization of society. Huge numbers of people all over the planet want to get in touch with their inner selves. This is the connection of cyber space with inner space.