The Real World Wide Web

I was watching Fight Club, again (I love that film, well worth watching if you haven’t seen it) and, during the scene where Tyler has the police chief on the floor of the lavatory with an elastic band around his balls and is wielding a knife in a threatening manner (if that doesn’t intrigue you to see it not much will), I realised how many people we all rely on every day of our lives. You see, Tyler is describing the sort of jobs the people in his underground organisation do: waiters, security guards, etc. It started me thinking about the number of people who help us all every single day. Think about it. I put petrol in my car (not so much while I’m working over here), so I rely on the person behind the counter, whoever runs the place, the guy in the truck that delivers the petrol, the people at the refinery that turned it from crude to petrol, the crew of the ship that brought the oil from foreign soil, the people who operate the plant that extracts the oil from the ground, the people who first did the drilling to reach the deposit, the surveryors who found it and countless people who financed it all, the officials who gave the permits to survey the land and countless people besides.

Now, think about the people who built the petrol station, all the pumps, all the vehicles and equipment that were used in it’s construction, all the people that built those, and those who made the tools that made the machines that were used to build the petrol station, and those people who extracted the raw materials needed to build the tools and machines. Now do the same for the truck that carried the petrol, all the equipment used in the refinery, the oil tanker, all the equipment used to extract the oil and all the tools used by the surveyors. Now think about all the people who were instrumental in teaching all of the people involved, who wrote and printed books for them to learn from, who supplied paper for them to write on, etc, etc. And not just teaching them, feeding them, healing them, supporting them. It’s exponential.

And that’s just one example. Now work that out for everyone in the chain for the food you buy at the supermarket, the trains you ride, the planes you fly in, the stationary you use, the water you drink, the electricity you consume. Work out how many people were involved in providing the things you rely on everyday, things you take completely for granted, and you’ll see that we are all connected by a really, really huge web of interdependence. Now figure out what happens when you can’t get one of the things that you rely on. Say your electricity goes, permanently. What would you do? What about the supermarket. What happens if there was no food on the shelves, how would you feed yourself? Now you’re beginning to understand how much we rely on one another. Maybe it’s time we all started to realise just how interconnected we all are.

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