Chapter Seven: The Internet

VIII. The Role of the Internet in the Delivery of Moral Conduct

Based on the analysis of human social behaviour set out in the Introduction, and amplified in the last section, we can make some assertions about the interplay between human behaviour and the Internet, roughly as follows:

1. Humans have a predisposition to affiliate;

2. Ingrained groupishness carries with it a set of unconscious behaviours which are reinforced by membership of multiple groups and are mostly beneficial in social terms;

3. The moral structure of society is defined and delivered largely through the agency of groups;

4. The human unconscious and consciousness are both involved in applying moral precepts to social behaviour;

5. Use of the Internet tends to increase the 'groupedness' of individuals and through their acceptance of the moral precepts that are implied by group membership, both at the unconscious and the conscious level, their social behaviour tends to improve rather than otherwise.

For it to follow that the Internet will be a force for good, socially speaking, it needs to be true that individuals will increasingly use the Internet for social interaction and to develop group memberships, and that the Internet itself will continue to develop its potential as a means of communication without too much interference from the State. Both of these conditions seem likely to be fulfilled.