if you read one thing today, you should probably make it the hyperlinked metaphysics of the web. there’s lots of good stuff, including:
“The stranger has been a fundamental touchstone of cultures at least since Abraham and Sarah invited
weary road travelers into their tent only to find out that they were angels in disguise. The Odyssey, too, is a meditation on strangers and hospitality: Odysseus experiences different ways of being a stranger on his way home while the suitors abuse every rule of hospitality in his own house. It’s easy to see why strangers are so important: a culture’s attitude towards them expresses its understanding of its position in the world of social groups. In our culture, we’re suspicious of strangers. They’re a threat. They lurk in shadows. On the Web, however, strangers are the source of everything worthwhile. Strangers and their utterances are the stuff of the Web. They are what give the Web its matter, its shape, its value. Rather than hiding in our tents and declaring our world to exist of the other tents near us – preferably with a nice tall wall around us – the Web explicitly is a world only because of the presence of so many strangers.”
i like that quote so much that i’m going to put it in the .rhetoric box.