Monday, December 19, 2011

Village Blinders

Throughout history man has been separated by a lack of technology. Villages and tribes, which eventually sprouted into regions and countries, evolved their own unique customs and cultures. The populations were more alike than not, based upon their shared histories and experiences. They were unified and cohesive, bonded by familiarity and loyalty.

Even as late as the 1800’s there was still a significant lack of technology. Then technology exploded. The telegraph. The locomotive. The automobile. The airplane. The telephone. The Radio. The television. Satellites.

The concept of a Global Village was born.

A Global Village is an optimistic outlook. If the world is a village then man is more alike than not. Man is more unified and cohesive. Man works towards the same relative objectives and shares the same relative philosophy based upon shared experiences and knowledge. A unified human race!

Take the United States, for example. With its large land area there were regions and states separated by distance. Unique and separate cultures formed. The South. New England. The Midwest. California. The United States was more a collection of “villages.” In the mid-20th century the United States evolved into a “global village,” bonded by the struggle of the Great Depression and the challenge of World War II. A microcosm of what the world could accomplish if it were indeed a global village.

But then technology continued its advance. The interstate highway system greatly increased travel. Individuals began to seek out others they felt were more like themselves. The 60’s was born. There was the proliferation of cable television with its myriad of choices. The internet. Cell phones. Smart phones.

The United States has long since peaked as a village, and so the world itself has long since peaked as a global village. Individuals are not interested in being unified and cohesive; that would mean accepting change and compromise.  Individuals seek out those who are more like themselves, not those who challenge and promote thought, reflection, and growth, but instead those who validate our narrow view of the world.

We watch only those programs on TV that increase our comfort. We listen to talk radio and talking heads who push agendas that are good for us, or bad for those we don’t care about. With our headsets and earbuds we customize our music. We visit websites and chat rooms that confirm our previously held opinions. Technology allows us to easily interact with only those who are like ourselves.

We go through life with blinders on; each of us in our own cocoons, ignoring what is happening around us. We are less accommodating, more demanding, less tolerant, and more partisan. The way we use technology is separating and fragmenting societies and cultures, stunting the growth and development of human race.

No comments:

Post a Comment