Can’t quite put my finger on it but having worked on (in a weird sense) on both the atom and the net, there’s something mind-blowing in the following observation.
The atom is the icon of the 20th century. The atom whirls alone. It is the metaphor for individuality. But the atom is the past. The symbol for the next century is the net. The net has no center, no orbits, no certainty. It is an indefinite web of causes. The net is the archetype displayed to represent all circuits, all intelligence, all interdependence, all things economic, social, or ecological, all communications, all democracy, all families, all large systems, almost all that we find interesting and important. Whereas the atom represents clean simplicity, the net channels messy complexity.