Tuesday, February 17, 2004

A definition of globalism

Reading Mark Federman's document The Global Soul and the Global Village" (pdf), I attempt to extract a definition of the proposed concept of "globalism".

According to Mark who succeeds the work of Derrick de Kerckhove and Marshall McLuhan, globalism is different from the globalization of transnational enterprises. It is comforting to know that a global village is not anarchic but then one has to swallow its disturbing characteristic of non-uniformity, non-tranquility, discontinuity and division.

I find it interesting that the concept is an "-ism" and not "-ity". The "-ism" requires an action to be taken by the subject carrying that "-ism". Some common "-ism" I could recall of were "Buddhism, communism, nationalism". "-ity" seems to be a quality formed and perceived from an outside perspective, such as nationality which is given to you by the government or because you happen to be born in a certain geographical location.

This concept of globalism is described by Mark as a "a new modernity", a sort of post-postmodernism in which we are creating a new ground from the preceding ground of the postmodern that had shaken us from the even more conventional ground that was tied to geographic locale.

Mark refers to Pico Iyer's "Global Soul" and the challenge we face in forming this new identity. Here, I disagree with the perception that there is "no ground for cultural context or meaning". I think that the ground has simply shifted from nationalistic, border-confined ground to a larger more holistic ground of an Earth that is connected.

The most evoking symbol of this new ground would be the image of Earth seen as a precious, vulnerable, blue and white gem floating in space that was gifted to us through the camera lens of the Apollo astronauts. I think this new ground is one of teeming diversity, of a fully alive (and conscious?) bioshpere, where disunity, discontinuity and division can co-exist creatively as in an open complex living system where chaos is avoided through having entropy exported into the extra-dimensional scape of media, and entertainment or "play" of cyberspace.

This calls for an identification (or re-grounding) with a new cultural context that is acutally a larger geographical area. However, it is one that has more dimensional depth than just the physical, as well as one with emergent, ordered-chaotic diversity and non-unitary. I believe that once we have each personally experienced an understanding that no borders means proximity and realized that anything that affects you affects me immediately. This realization will flip Iyer's perception of "all rights and no responsibility" to one of self-chosen limited rights and voluntary undertaking of more responsibility than was ever expected at nationalistic level. This would have emerged from deep within a sense of self and identify that has experienced the world's connectivity and all its effects. This is the point where I agree with how Mark describes the nature of this new modernity as one in which we are experiencing as "experiential, as opposed to prescribed, pre-scripted and doctrinaire".


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