By M.V.Ramakrishnan

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Never-ending Expansion Of The Great Cyberian Ocean

The dawn of  a New Year is always an occasion for taking stock of at least some of our major concerns :  so let me take a critical look at the uneven progress made by Articulations Online during the past six years.

I launched this online column in September 2010 with the intention of taking a comprehensive look at the world as it was evolving in the first quarter of the 21st century, in scientific, technological, socio-economic and cultural terms  --  as compared with the scenarios prevailing  in the preceding three quarter-centuries (during which I had grown up as a schoolboy and college student, and evolved from a young civil servant and amateur journalist into a senior citizen, superannuated man, and semi-professional newspaperman, then U-turned to amateur journalism again).

Articulations Online : take-off and travails 

In September/October 2010, which I spent relaxing in my doctor-son Vimo's home in Northwest America -- precisely at the opposite end of the world away from my own home in Southeast India -- I outlined my perception of a century of scientific and technological progress in  the following substantial essays in this  column, hoping to follow them up with some detailed survey and analysis :-   

               Great Cyberian Ocean 

                             Marvels Of The Modern World

                                            Tempo Of Transformation
                                                           Transglobal Vision

                                                                          Psychology Of Turbulence

I even marked the last text above as 'to be continued'.  However, in the very next post I deferred further exploration of the formidable theme, with the following explanation :-

When I started writing this online column last month with an awesome vision of the Internet's apparently infinite dimensions, I knew I would find it necessary to follow it up with some reflections on the impact of modern science and technology on individuals and society.  And I now realize it will have to be a very long series of essays, because the theme is extremely complex and bristles with so many intricate aspects.   But rather than risking mental fatigue by considering the same issue week after week, let us spread out the core series a little, and take up some other lighter topics in the intervals!

Well, that's what I really hoped to do, relaxing in my son's hillside house, with all the leisure in the world for meditation and reflection ;  and I did make a good start with the following posts in Oct./Nov. 2010 :-

               Bravo, ISRO!  Bravo, NASA!

                         Ochi Chorniye!

                                   The Blue Danube Blues

And although I had taken up those topics merely at random, I felt tempted to explore the related fields (space conquest, folk music, environmental pollution) on a universal scale, in a historic/geographic/scientific perspective.  Actually, this was true of almost any context I could think of ;  and I soon discovered there were no such things as 'light topics' at all if one's aim was to obtain and project a wide-angled view of

Moreover, back in my native habitat in South India, I began to get bogged down in the local music circles, writing my column Musicscan in THE HINDU, which called for frequent concert-going and intense concentration.  And whenever I tried to resume my original theme in Articulations Online, I  found that the Great Cyberian Ocean was not only still expanding constantly in volume and force, but was being convulsed by successive tidal waves of ever-more-sophisticated and hazardous digital devices and applications.

It wasn't long before I realized that in my five initial essays in 2010 I had already projected a comprehensive preview of these turbulent trends, and I really had nothing more to add to those reflections.   

Meanwhile, I was alarmed to find that hundreds of significant articles I had written over a period of 50 years on a wide variety of topics were lying buried in bulky folders, and needed to be arranged in some orderly fashion if they were ever to be preserved as an interesting and useful collection --  and Articulations Online suddenly looked like the ideal medium for salvaging and circulating my past writing to a potentially world-wide set of new readers, with appropriate notes and annotations.

And that's how, after a couple of barren years, I completely re-oriented  Articulations Online in November 2012  --  by retrieving a significant article I had written 35 years earlier in the Evening News in New Delhi :   Spirit Of Adventure.

                         (to be continued)