The Global Village

Tehran Market 2013, Copyright Bryan Hogan

The terms ‘global’ and ‘village’ seem almost mutually exclusive. The former represents something vast, something expansive; whereas the later represents something local, something intimate. But perhaps the terms aren’t exclusive; perhaps the global village is a space in which we seek to understand, identify and share our common humanity and where ideas and ideals are shared and contested.

The global village is often referred to distant human communication enabled by technology. In that way we talk about technology reducing the effect of distance and consequently the isolation of groups and nations. Further, we talk about the way that technology has enabled us to understand disparate lives such as Iranian merchant, an Argentinian shoe shiner and a Burmese schoolgirl, and for them to understand ours. The global village also allows us to identify and understand that which is common amongst us, our shared values and our common humanity.

But the global village is more than just communication and understanding; it’s about interactivity, and about sharing non homogenous ideas and ideals both locally and globally. The true power of Facebook isn’t about our ability to post the ins and outs of our daily lives to friends around the world, it’s in the identification of the ideas and ideals which create our personal narrative and influence the way we engage with the world. The true power of WordPress is not in the ability of its users to generate and post content, it is in the ability for a variety of voices to share their ideas and ideals and contribute to the global discourse. The true power of global news networks isn’t in their ability to report about a citizen uprising, it’s in their ability to bring about that uprising by engaging with the ideas and ideals reflected by alternative societal constructs.

In this way, the global village not only allows us to engage and understand people from unique and disparate circumstances; it allows us to identify and share our common humanity and allows us to engage with new and different ideas, ideals. It is that understanding, common humanity and the sharing of ideas and ideals which makes the world a smaller place.