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May 31, 1999 10:49 PM
by M K Ramadoss

I saw a very fascinating TV program on Internet and the emerging
technology. Here are some of the bits of information that interested me.
Firstly, Internet technology, the speaker was reminding everyone that it is
just 5 years old and all of us are aware of its impact in various fields.
Just in a short time, even China now has 8 million users. It is still in
its infancy and is expected to grow for the next 20 years.

The underlying key factor is networking world that is being created. It is
fundamentally moving the power from *institutions* - business, government,
non-profit, spiritual, scientific =96 to the *individual*. Even here it is
still in its infancy.

What we can look for in the immediate future is *Evernet* =96 an interactive
*Internet* which is on-line all the time. Today a typical users is online
for one hour a day. (TV audience has shown a reducing trend, possibly due
to use of Internet.) The Evernet is also going to be using broadband and
wireless. Broadband will speed transmission which will make it possible for
bi-directional audio and video and other innovations to be available to the
common man/woman. A key characteristic of a network type of medium is that
as people use it, they tend to use more and more of it. Just look at the
telephone communication and how its use has exponentially grown over the

Looking at the last major leap in communication technology =96 TV, it is
still a one-way tool, much like the other tools such as written material.
On the other hand, network based tools =96 Internet, and Evernet =96 are two
way tools =96 coupled with the transfer of power from institutions to
individuals. So institutions which controlled communication and transfer of
information for whatever reason =96 scientific, spiritual, political,
national security etc. etc. is going to have a tough time to adjust to the
changing  global environment on which they will have no control. It will be
a lot of fun watching all the institutional leaders trying to grapple with
the new environment, especially when many of them having grown up in
pre-computer era.

What has all this have to deal with Theosophy and TS. Firstly,
Internet/Evernet is going to make access to all the written materials on
Ancient Wisdom readily accessible to anyone interested. And access will be
uncontrolled by institutional vested interests and gate-keepers, who may be
under the illusion that they are the custodians of Ancient Wisdom.
Secondly, it is going to provide global immediate person-to-person access
to help on a one on one basis again without any intermediary gate-keepers.
The latter will provide unlimited opportunities for anyone willing to spend
time and able to help in providing information.

TS has not seen growth either in the membership or branches. It looks like,
with the technology that was available in 1875, it was essential to start
branches where those interested in Ancient Wisdom can meet and discuss etc.
In today's and tomorrow's environment, it may be unnecessary or even not
helpful. So the structures as we know it may not be appropriate for the
fundamental function of helping to spread theosophy. So if we seen
theosophical organizations put on life support, may be they have outlived
their usefulness and we have to accept the facts and not cry over the
natural events.

We are all going to witness monumental changes in the world and I think it
is incumbent upon each one of us to use our own creativity and ingenuity to
find out ways and means of using the emerging technology to spread the
gospel of theosophy. Network technology with its inherent nature of
increased use as use increases, may be one day we will wake up to find some
of the theosophical doctrines common knowledge around the world.


(C) M K Ramadoss

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