"...Life is not just a succession of events or experiences: it is a search for the true, the good and the beautiful. It is to this end that we make our choices; it is for this that we exercise our freedom; it is in this - in truth, in goodness, and in beauty - that we find happiness and joy. We must not allow ourselves to be deceived by those who see us merely as consumers in a market of undifferentiated possibilities, where choice itself becomes the good, novelty usurps beauty, and subjective experience displaces truth..."
The same concepts expressed in the paragraph dedicated to dialogue in cyberspace
should be applied to the dimension of truth in our “living online”. Life in cyberspace cannot be simply a agglomeration of experiences and facts, even if they are lived from a rational and dialogued perspective. Instead it should always be guided toward the search for the truth, for good and for what is beautiful. This search, according to the Pope’s words, should be something that is very concrete, founded on our responsible choices in the use of new technologies. This use should not let us fool ourselves with a logic that is somehow “internal” to the democratic concept of the net, whereby we are simply consumers in the undifferentiated supermarket that is the net; consumers in search of subjective good and truth, that satisfies today our needs. If we allow ourselves to beaten by this temptation, we Christians risk being gobbled up and almost subjected to the net and not, on the contrary, builders of the net as a space for liberty, friendship, and true relationships.
The text of the Message highlights the sharing of experiences and facts online as a vehicle for specific truths and as a “method” through which the very concept of truth itself is carried.
Method and content are not separable online, and this is surely a concept that we should be highly aware of. In fact the knowledge that is built online, and the very truth on which our knowledge is founded risk being confused with the “method” with which the concepts themselves are researched. When we look for information in of a search engine, for example, innumerable results appear, not always truthful, and even revealed not through logic of truth. Therefore what we find online will not be the truth, but rather a more or less large collection of information. It would be an error to consider this collection the truth. This is surely a danger hidden inside the new communication technologies. And we encounter this danger every time we use the internet, whether it be to simply look for information, or in the moment in which we form ourselves, through conversation with others, our ideas and our opinions.
But there are also some particular tools that disclose the dimension of “building” the truth inherent to the internet and some of its specific uses made by users.
The experience that most clearly shows how the internet builds and articulates truth and knowledge is the “free encyclopedia WIKIPEDIA”.