It doesn’t always seem so true as it is today that everything’s connected: each event or person only a few steps away from establishing some form of relationship with almost anything else on the planet. All our choices effectively playing into this increasingly fast-moving web of global interrelatedness as our ideas, products, habits, intentions or emotions spill over to impact others in ways we might never imagine.
While, before, people and their activities were mainly interwoven with their more immediate surroundings – local community and the wider society into which that played its part – things are now so irrevocably broader in scope. Almost everything seems to rely on the cooperation of so many distant services, supply chains and individuals. This global community cutting across national boundaries in search of efficiencies.
Given how quickly we seem to adapt to any form of change, it’s hard to imagine us happily going back to the kinds of restrictions on choice or convenience that earlier model effectively offered. In the last half-century, so many relative luxuries have crept into our lives – fashions, trends and belongings in no way designed to last – that the idea of limited choice or maintaining what we’ve got is beginning to seem an alien concept.
Yet, in terms of awareness, our focus is also more expansive: all those international and systemic concerns as much on our radar as the deeply personal ways individuals are being affected by it all. This whole way of life, facilitated by technology, also being laid bare before us by the same means. As if technology is a double-edged sword, creating as many obvious benefits as it does invisible challenges.
Isn’t it that all our ways are being mapped out in this tangible form to be scrutinised? That, while we might hope to deny the ramifications, it’s all there to be seen: the inequalities; attempts at justification; and increasing difficulty of claiming we didn’t know what we were doing. This sense in which all the convenience or temptation technology offers is offset by us having to then live with the knowledge of what it all means.
Almost like technology is some fundamental test of our understanding – and, willingness to expand it. That, along with the valuable benefits this created for those earlier communities, we’re now simultaneously having to grasp the significance of all the change we’re bringing about across the planet. As if we’ve been asked to extend our minds to truly care for environments, people or situations far beyond our immediate awareness.
How are we to navigate that reality and grasp what all our choices truly “mean”? How can we cope with all that was hidden or unspoken being brought to the surface, where it can no longer be denied? All these ways in which our individual or local connections have been woven into this new global context with all its undeniable complexity and all of its consequences.
With all our connections dialled up and laid bare, what sense are we to make of it all?
Notes and References:
Connecting truthfully with life
How much do intentions matter?
Power and potential
Seeing where others are coming from
Does technology oversimplify things?
Nothing short of everything
Gaining clarity on the choices before us
Responsibility for the bigger picture
Pieces of the puzzle