BENFII – Benjamin Franklin Invented the Internet

If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.

– Sir Isaac Newton

I am writing this extremely short blurb in a hurry. It will be a series of posts here on 

This short write up is to explain the premise of a much larger writing project I hope to play with and present to entertain you dear reader (whomever you may be).

It is about a theory -an expansive theory – about the invention of the internet. 

Namely that (to borrow from the language of Bernard of Chartres), the internet was built by “dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants.” 

In 1675, Sir Isaac Newton wrote the words quoted above: “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.”

I propose, as my theory, that the internet was created by standing on the shoulder of a giant, and that giant is Benjamin Franklin. 

“Absurd,” is likely the word (or something like it) on the mind and tongue of anyone reading that. 

And maybe it is absurd. 

But by the time I have added a little meat (some meaty posts) to this article series I hope that you might not only agree but see (as I see) that there can hardly be any doubt about it. (Also I’m not the only one to make such absurd propositions)

If Benjamin Franklin were to pop out of the grave today and you directed him to the internet he likely would not be surprised by it or nearly any of our modern society. (Pretty astounding for a guy who died over 230 years ago.)

For now, just the skinniest skinny of my supporting facts (many easily found in Ben Franlin’s Autobiography):

The InternetBen Franklin
publication and distribution of informationan innovator in publishing
built on open sourceproponent of freely sharing ideas (ex: franklin stove)
fosters communication via email and other messagingfounder of the U.S. postal system
an international library of informationfounder of one of first lending libraries
bastion of commerceone of the first franchisers; constitution established the patent system
built by DARPA scientistsfounded the American Philosophical Society
runs on electricitykite and key

While the history of how Benjamin Franklin invented the internet is interesting and enlightening, even more important are the lessons on self-organization that we can learn from him and the path he forged that lead to his achievements.

I hope to take you along on an exploration of those paths on this website.

Thank you for reading!

I hope you’ll enjoy the Benjamin Franklin Invented the Internet series!