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Squatting In the Global Village: An Exercise in Post-Geographical Awareness
Some people complain about globalization, lamenting its ill effects on local economies and the diffusion of cultural differences. There are activists all over the world protesting and rallying against global inequality and exploitation.
While all of the above is a valid response to what’s going on, we tend to primarily observe external factors and overlook the change of awareness inherent in all these developments. (And no, I’m not gonna go all spirit-goo and patchouli insence on you, now.)
The term is a tough one. Awareness. What is it anyways? A byproduct of the brain’s chemical assembly line? Some kind of ether-like element surrounding us like air?
Put simply, awareness is what gives you the feeling of being you. It’s the simple sense of being.
The Global Village changes our „sense of being“. Regardless of external circumstances. Something inside is shifting. We’re not the same we were yesterday. Hence, what supported us then, is not necessary now.
Being able to take an airplane to distant countries that – only one hundred years ago could only be reached through highly perilous and possibly lethal journeys is one thing. It’s about bodies moving in „meatspace“, as it were.
The fact that you can communicate to people all over the world without moving an inch from your geographical position is a whole different kind of possibility!
One could argue that the Internet is both a manifestation of and a cause for this post-geographical awareness.
Nevertheless, it strongly affects our sense of being.
Do we become wiser by this? Not necessarily. More tolerant? Maybe.
There’s no need to praise the day before the evening, but there’s unmistakably a sense of hope.
Communication Creates Change
If engaged with in a spirit of openness and curiosity, great personal and social development can result from these sometimes seemingly random and scattered acts of communication that characterize our modern everyday reality.
The 60ies counter-culture believed that simply “sharing” everything would change the world. Well, they were right and wrong at the same time. Preaching to the choir won’t change nothing. Also holding peace conference after peace conference doesn’t seem to do the trick. Yet, engaging ( even diametrically opposed ) individuals in casual sharing by using digital communication technology is a great force still to be reckoned with.
We’re talking social change through independent, non-organized individual collaboration.
Communication is powerful. And specifically the effect it can have on prejudices or radical opinions, if played on a global scale, is worthwhile to look at.
As I wrote in my book A Mindful Guide to Online Living: replacing prejudices with actual experiences is a powerful driver in slowly shifting towards a less restricted, more peaceful future. Seems so simple, doesn’t it?
Of course this only works if at least one of the parties brings an open mind to the table. (If I’m unwilling to listen, you can still hear the story from my perspective. But if neither is willing to listen, this isn’t communication but parallel broadcasting.)
The more people will talk to each other in this way, it’ll be getting harder and harder for ideologic organisations or ideas of any way, shape or form to take a firm hold in the minds of individuals and wreak havoc in the world. Diminishing radicalism doesn’t automatically create freedom and peace, but at least it provides a free space for natural growth to occur.
Being willing to both initiate conversations to remote corners of the planet and to listen, is the kind of communication that creates change. Taking responsibility for it, is what I call Awareness Activism.
It is not up to governments and media alone to define global culture. In fact, it’s up to you and me!