Cyberspace and the Open-Mind
By Apolinario Villalobos
The civilized world has so much to thank the guys who opened the gates of cyberspace. It is now considered as the arena where even those lacking in hi-tech gadgets can showcase their ideas. Browsing the internet, I have read stories about struggling inventors, writers, application developers who became famous and rich after posting their wares in the internet. It is also the cheapest means of communication that link peoples from anywhere in the world. I have viewed stories about families reuniting after several decades because of facebook, of lost pets found by their owners after long years of desperate search, of struggling amateur singers from never heard communities in third world countries who got recognized through the youtube, and of course, political advocacies that created waves across the globe through the likes and following of viewers.
Unfortunately, there are some selfish people who look at the cyberspace as a threat to their person. I am referring to politicians who tremble at the sight of computers because they are afraid that exposes about their misdeeds will get viral once these are posted in any social network. But some regard the space as a savior for their causes that got the attention of benefactors who happened to view their stories, making the latter unzip their purses.
There is just one important thing that a cyberspace user should be reminded about – to make his mind open once the screen of the gadget has lighted up. The viewer must maintain an open mind every time he taps the keyboard to display posted photos and written views on screen. He must shed off his nationality, his affiliation to any school of thought, his usual own kind of behavior , hence, avoiding any unnecessary comparison. Personally, I treat the cyberspace as a wide space for interaction, for sharing, and not a hi-tech bashing tool .
In a site for exotic foods, I viewed comments such as “yuck”, “yucky”, “do they eat that and still survive?”, etc. The intention of the author for posting his material was just to share a fragment of their culinary culture for viewers to have a glimpse of how they live, and for his effort he was ridiculed. The serious viewers in this area are expected to pick up ideas. Some people may not know perhaps, that in some countries, pig’s blood is cooked into a delicacy called “black pudding”, a paste made from Milo powder is made as a sandwich filling, and also are thin slices of cucumber, tomatoes, mashed potato, red beans, mashed spinach, grilled grubs, black snails, worms. Viewers may squirm at posts on live scorpions being eaten, blood of cobra mixed in liquors, juice of freshly eaten grass made into a sauce as one of the recipes for butchered goats, wines made from chewed roots complete with saliva of the maker, and many more. Postings of this kind are made to be shared so that peoples around the globe who have an access to facilities of advanced technology will understand each other.
In a news site, I viewed a beautifully written political commentary about a certain subject but noticed some misspelled words which I disregarded. Unfortunately, a viewer focused on those misspells and commented, “go back to your school and improve your spelling”. The viewer deviated from the real intent of the post and with the sole selfish motive of just writing something, the viewer gleefully tapped those comments. The question is, can that basher write similar lengthy commentary?
In a literary site, I viewed poems nicely written by self-made poets though with the same unintended flaw – misspells, due perhaps, to hasty and direct posting, instead of copying from their edited and filed copies and pasting them on the webpage. Some viewers are still boxed in by textbook rules in writing poetry. They are not aware that there is a practice now in which writers are no longer bound by the “proper” use of quotation marks , that many English words are intentionally spelled colloquially to suit the emotion being expressed, that some symbols can already take the place of words, such as “heart” for like or love, series of symbols can stand for profanity, series of dots as an “opportunity” given to the viewer for his own conclusion, etc. The product of this popular practice is called “modern poetry”, which practically disregards rhyme. Some even just vertically enumerate words to express their emotion.
Even the Pope Francis, himself, has come to acknowledge the benefit of the cyberspace as a tool in reaching out to the flocks of the Roman Catholic Church, by wholeheartedly immersing himself in waves of selfie opportunities. By doing so, he stood higher than the rest of the papas before him. One of the most respected presidents in the world, Mr. Obama, did not hesitate to show that there is nothing wrong with being a cyber enthusiast, by having selfies with other prominent figures during international gatherings.
As an encouragement to those who would like to bring out their ideas and throw them into the hi-tech global arena called cyberspace, go ahead, tap the keyboard of your cellphones or computers. Never mind the red, blue, or green that may underscore the words you use. Be glad about those colors as they break the monotony of the black texts displayed on the screen. Bring out those words for poems you dreamed to write, forget the rhyme. For the viewers, my counsel….have an open mind, respect the unwritten purpose of the cyberspace which is POSITIVE interaction.