The Great Digital Face
"And Allah's is the east and the west; thus wherever you turn, there is the Face of Allah. Surely, Allah is Vast, Knowing." (2:115)
The Qur’an is the most mysterious, impossible declaration: a wave weaved into other waves, emerging still with all kinds of changes and movements. It’s unfathomable. The right attitude with which to approach it is humility. It’s not about intellect. It’s about coming bereft. It’s for you to be confused - moving from we to I to you and back again. That is why its language is woven so tightly: it encompasses both the seen and the unseen and you have to yield yourself to it. That’s why the Western intellectuals could never get it. If you want to “get” the Qur’an you will be confused. It will get you. — paraphrased from Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri
The notion that deepening awareness and expanding conscious skill or discpline leads to experiencing every moment in this world as perfect, as one spent witnessing the ever-present Face of God, has been around for a long time. The //Xam, and other tribes of the First People who wandered the Kalahari Desert and the Karroo, spoke of those harsh and beautiful landscapes as "The Great Face", which they were able to read for signs critical to their sustenance and survival. The Qur'an, as above, contains many ayat specifically devoted to this same metaphor which points at what is truly Real, what lasts and is not subject to the transient limitations of spacetime; shown also below:
"Everything upon it (the earth) perishes and the Face of your Lord remains, the Possessor of Might and Generosity." (55:26-27)
I have a sense that the internet can be seen as the Great Digital Face, and I have left some traces from my experience of witnessing it below for you to follow at your leisure. Of course, though my chosen metaphors differ, people like Doug Engelbart and Aaron Swartz knew this long ago. Doug, because he saw that the entire online system could be viewed holistically as a universal knowledge repository, with each site providing a different view over the same inherent data; and Aaron because, well, he was the Internet's own boy.