Can Internet be compared to Ring of Gyges, that was mentioned in Plato’s Republic (Book II)?
The legend goes, says Glaucion in Republic, that Gyges was shepherd, who found ring which made him invisible. He used it to seduce the queen, and then conspired against the king, slew him and took the kingdom. Glaucion argues that no man, given such power of invisibility, can be imagined to be of such an iron nature that he would stand fast in justice. And if someone stood fast, he would be thought by the lookers-on to be a most wretched idiot, although they would praise him to one another’s faces, and keep up appearances with one another from a fear that they too might suffer injustice.
While not giving that kind of power, Internet provides invisibility of browsing Internet content and allows people to take alter-identities free from social constrains in internet chat rooms. And what lot of people do given this invisibility cloak?
I think one can get a nice picture of that, reading about researches of search words on web search engines.
The post at Google Watch says:
Nearly one in five of Google wireless searches are for words associated with adult entertainment, according to a study of a million Google mobile phone queries.
The text also says, that this rate is twice of what Google encounters from its regular web users, so that would mean that 10% of searches are connected to porn, and that this is lower number then in the past.
When mass market U.S. cell phones began accessing the Internet in the mid-1990s, the predominant thing people did was search for pornography.
Which brings us to the second question:Is invisibility cloak “tempting” just at first, and that then the morality of the people prevail? Does this data shows that?
When I mentioned to a friend, as a interesting thing, that reports show that searches for porn related words were going down on Internet, he said – “Of course, people go directly to porn sites now”. And, his intuition seems to hit the spot, because after searching on net, I found article from March this year on USA Today saying:
Online porn sites get about three times more visits than the top Web search engines, including market leader Google, a research firm said Thursday.
Those numbers are very bad, and seems that Glaucion was partly right – (lot of) people are too weak to struggle against the temptations. And I guess, that’s why the prayer goes: Lead us not into temptation. But the invisibility cloak seems to be here. I don’t like this situation, temptations being pushed under people noses, but is there something we can do?