Industrialization as the Catalyst for the Digital World
The modern digital world, while bearing strong influences from Victorian and Modernist thought, ultimately originates from neither, but is rather a product of advancing technology. Although the diagrammatic ideas of information organization that surfaced in the Victorian age have served, along with Modernist imagery, to lend a definite structure to the digital world, these ideas were not the catalysts for new developments in technology. It was rather the rapid industrialization in Europe and, to a lesser extent, elsewhere in the world, that led to the sciences gaining value as potential tools for production, which sciences in turn were shaped by the Victorian and Modernist ideas that were prevalent during the Industrial Revolution. At the risk of taking a Marxist viewpoint, the digital world of today is more a product of the desire for improved productivity that existed during the Victorian age than a product of any supposedly revolutionary ideas that were brought forth during that time period.
In order to determine the most proximate cause of the digital world that cannot be definitively traced back to a prior cause, to determine what most directly produced the digital world, it is necessary to determine what factor was most essential to its engenderment. One entity cannot be said to be the product of another in a historical framework if it is conceivable that the product could have been brought forth successfully without the ostensible source. In attempting to find that which produced the modern digital world, the search must have its focus in simple cause and effect. In the absence of a clear causality between the digital world and its supposed source, it is possible that the cause under consideration may be connected in some peripheral way, while possessing an importance that suggests that the digital world itself is its direct effect. This is the relationship that exists between Victorian and Modernist organizational ideas and the digital world.
It is an easy matter to disprove any direct relationship of producer and product between Victorian and Modernist thought and the modern digital world in its entirety. Those last three words are crucial to this argument, because although proving that the digital world in its entirety is not a product of Victorian and Modernist thought is a simple matter, it is equally simple to prove some relationship between the two. Indeed, because the Victorian era occurred long before the first digital processor, and because Modernist philosophy possesses a similar precedence to computer technology, it must be said that if there is a relationship between the aforementioned paradigms and the digital world, the former must possess the countenance of a cause, while the latter must possess that of a product, or effect (only if there is a relationship; similarities between two phenomena masquerading as a relationship between the two can cloud the...