The Internet pretends to be objective and irreligious. At the same time, Google and Apple avail themselves of many religious myths.
The Internet is regarded today as the final triumph of enlightenment and irreligiosity. A virtual parallel universe has been created by human hands, in which there are no longer class distinctions, in which everyone have access to everything. It is a world in which there is no distinction between day and night, in which there are no seasons, no Sundays and no holidays. It is a realm without secrets, in which everything enjoys equal rights side by side: The artistic love poem stands next to the most appalling perversions, the stock prices next to the weather report — a random world of utter autonomy in which the individual revolves only around his or her own interests.
But the Web 2.0 user cannot live in a world of total anarchy of belief, and viewed psychologically, the present day use of the Internet shows pseudo-religious structures. For most, Google is the indispensable home page, the omnipotent God of the Internet. Only the Google daily quick prayer discloses the personal world. What Google doesn’t recognize and disclose is considered to be non-existent and non-discernable. Google has built a kind of Noah’s Ark in the nearly endless flood and broad expanse of the World Wide Web, where apparently each of his own kind in this world is categorized and placed in a heavenly ranking. Google also plays with these symbols of the godly in its branding. Since one is not supposed to make likenesses of God, Google presents itself as a reductionist white page. The Google logo appears like a godly eye, hovering above it all, seeing and registering everything.
Apple and the Messiah Steve Jobs likewise serve as religious myths. The logo — the bitten apple — refers to the tree of knowledge, of which one can taste with Apple. The happy message which is propagated with the new technological achievements every year is the dream of godliness. The son of God descended from Silicon Valley to bestow upon his disciples trendy net devices with which they can bring the world into their homes as fishers of data. He provides them a divine finger with which they can easily move pictures or open files. Sigmund Freud established 100 years ago that man has become a kind of prosthetic God, but since the iPad, he hardly feels his prosthesis any longer because the iPad has grown together organically with its user and can be easily operated. Even the martyrdom of Jobs’ illness currently substantiates his position as Messiah of the Internet world.
In a virtual world in which a God, a Messiah and his disciples emerge or are “produced,” the Holy Ghost of the community cannot be missing. He is currently being promoted above all by Facebook in flaming missionary zeal. On Facebook, the religious ideal of a global brother- and sisterhood is awakened. It is a community where all are friends and communicate with one another, where daily messages of pleasure and faith are exchanged in letters in which details and minor sins are confessed. It is a community in which not the individual, but rather the collective “shimmers” and together strikes up the ode to the joys of the Internet.