Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Enforced Proximity

Watch this video before you read what I have written. If you don't mind, post your immediate response(s) as a comment to this blog.

Ok. My friend Emily sent this video to me a couple of days ago. Although it contains numbers and information from 2008, it is still relevant. The clip has a unique tone that reflects how much of the world is reacting to, or anticipating, the increased interdependencies and changes from globalization. I'd consider myself an open-minded cosmopolitan (not in the snooty, jetsetting sort of way, but in the "I know what's going on beyond the border of my country" sort of way), but this video scared me. Maybe it was the intense music or the intermittent "did you know?" text beaming at me every few seconds, skeptically questioning my knowledge. It could be that it started off by giving facts about China - we all know it's going to eat us alive. I'm not sure. I am sure that the information is pretty intense and probably doesn't need an orchestra behind it to give the average viewer a chill. A week's worth of information in the New York Times was more info than the average person would come across in a lifetime in the 18th Century?!? This blew my mind and it surprises me that more of our minds haven't completely blown up with the constant influx of information we receive. My question is, have our minds and bodies adapted quickly enough to handle all of this? Do you think it would make a difference if instead of presenting globalization as something that will take us over, we made a conscious effort to embrace it and steer it for good?

Most of us look to live in safe, peaceful neighborhoods that make us feel comfortable and relaxed. The internet and its virtual communities, television, sms, and personal cell phones are making the world our neighborhood. In the 18th century, one might have had to worry about their neighbor's horse shitting in their front yard. Now, we've got "neighbors" doing horrific things (genocide, environmental destruction, etc.) that we can't ignore. "When the neighborhood is the planet, moving to get away from bad neighbors is not an option" (Commission on Global Governance, 1995: 44). How do we create a neighborhood that will take us all into account? This is the question that came into my mind when at the end of video, the question is asked "So what does it mean?"


  1. The thing that hit me the most about the video was the same quote you underlined. I think the way we cope with so much information is by creating a diet life. We scratch the surface and scan the information instead of read and absorb it.

    How do I get my news? Through sites that take two page long articles and make them into a few sentences. If the little blurb interests me enough I may read the whole article, but it is less and less likely. For example google news, it is a distilled look at the world in a glance, "Pick what interests you, either way you are an informed individual because you at least glanced at the page"

    Less is more nowadays, just look at the trend of twitter. Blogs weren't short enough for our Robot Chicken attention spans, we needed a site that only allows us a forum of 140 characters.

  2. I think the video is meant to scare us and make us more aware but is this going to reach the people that really need to see these numbers? I feel so lucky to be able to sit at a desk with my laptop and blackberry by my side to be ready for any news to come to me in an instant, while there are many people out there that still share a single telephone in one village. Are people fighting in third world countries in conflict getting the global news at their fingertips at any given time? Probably not. Is it sometimes better that we didn't know what was going on? Makes us hate them more or less? Numbers increase exponentially for everything cause the population is growing at the same rate so in essense it's bound to happen and we're all pretty much screwed in the end no matter what we do. I agree with Scott. I'm guilty of skimming articles of stuff that just interests me and can careless about the other stuff but I am reading much more thanks to Google Reader. There's just not enough time in the day.

  3. Hey Brandy,

    Thanks for sharing the video! After presenting a lot of information out of context it poses the question I had been waiting for since the start ""What does it all mean?""

    Unfortunately, it does not answer it. I guess it is an invitation for us to do that. So I wonder. What does it all mean? Does it mean anything?

    Or is it perhaps a random collection of funny facts in a powerpoint spiced up with cool music...?

  4. hey brandi,

    this is an interesting video, i feel that the way it was designed and that it began with stats on china and india was intended to scare us. i didn't like that aspect of it at all, we have to embrace and understand these developments because they are inevitable. i also think that fear-mongering is counter-productive.

    that said, the facts presented were very interesting. i often struggle with the role of technology and the constant feed of information in my life. i do believe that as much as all these technologies enhance, control and dictate our lives, and as much as people are eager to join the new social network, get the new phone and learn new programming languages, people are also apt to turn away from these things as they overwhelm our lives with unnecessary access.

    i believe that good cam come of all these advances, but we must have a concentrated effort to resist the insular and individualistic patterns this technology creates... i do believe there has been a return to community and a return to personal connection, and i think that what all this means is different for each person, but as a whole we need to come together outside of this stuff, not for fear that technology will ruin us, but in preparation for generations to come... to remind us all that the most important thing is human connection.

    no computer or technology can take the place of that.

    then again, i might just be babbling... but that's my initial reaction to the video. :)