The Internet Is Not as New as You Think

Justin E. H. Smith in Wired:

For one thing, it is not nearly as newfangled as we usually conceive of it. It does not represent a radical rupture with everything that came before, either in human history or in the vastly longer history of nature that precedes the first appearance of our species. It is, rather, only the most recent permutation of a complex of behaviors that is as deeply rooted in who we are as a species as anything else we do: our storytelling, our fashions, our friendships; our evolution as beings that inhabit a universe dense with symbols.

In order to convince you of this, it will help to zoom out for a while, far from the realm of human-made devices, away from the world of human beings altogether, to gain a suitably distanced and lucid view of the natural world that hosts us and everything we do. It will help, that is, to seek to understand the internet in its broad ecological context, against the background of the long history of life on earth.

More here.