Monday, October 25, 2010

7 - Some Pitfalls of the Global Village

 strutting her (pretty) stuff
 in anticipation
 of a social network debut…  
Long gone are the times when it was possible to entertain a concept of splendid isolation, of whatever from if may have been. These thoughts come about, brought by the trifle question of the Albatross joining Facebook, after much prodding, nagging and shunning…
Time and again he heard, “Ah? You didn’t know (about this or that)? But I put it on Facebook! Sorry I didn’t realize (or know, or remember) that you haven’t join in, yet”. That “yet” was the killing word, the unavoidable fate beckoning.
The fact is, it is no longer possible for a person to get lost without a rescue team being sent to bring the strayer back to the flock, for a community to cut ties to the state without the police enforcing whatever laws may apply, for a tribe to be left alone in the jungle without being invaded by do-gooders and busybodies trying to “help”, for a nation like China to close its borders to foreigners again, or for the United States to turn their back on the folly of foreign wars.  
Today we all live in a global village. The news are full of cats flattened at the antipodes, nobodies arrested for drug offenses and confused minds discussing trivial activities or imaginary beliefs. This is served to us everywhere and at all times, mixed together with serious scientific, political, social and economic issues. Frequently, there is no discernible sense of importance or priority, everything seems to be treated like a reality show for the gullible. Barnum’s quote: “There's a sucker born every minute” may be falsely attributed but rings true, because we are all treated as such.
There is no longer a widespread respect for, a sense of, or even the understanding of, the need for privacy. Almost everybody publishes everything, everywhere, anytime, about themselves and the others. We are all becoming Japanese, in the quaint and possibly alarming sense discovered by a foreign teacher at one university in Tokyo, when a neighbourhood policeman knocked at his apartment door and asked: ”Your little daughter passes in front of our station every morning on her way to school. Today we didn’t see her. Is anything the matter?"
Then, the contents of all this advertising of little nothings and momentous events in the same nauseous cacophony, makes forever present the Eleanor Roosevelt’s (apparently true) quote: “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people”. We are all lost in oceans of people, rivers of facts and rare springs of ideas.
P.S. note for the critics engaging in the exegesis of the paragraphs above: there is actually a discussion of people and facts, but the ideas of freedom and privacy were supposed to inspire the text, although the absence of a great mind writing this may not have made it so obvious… 

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