We are a part of a generation with ubiquitous connectivity. We have grown up through this revolution and technology, and certainly become accustomed to a global neighbourhood. This integration has broken down traditional borders as cultures, religions and traditions of peoples have merged to accommodate an ever expanding international community.
Marshall McLuhan, a communication theorist devised the metaphor of the Global Village. This Village describes the accelerating media trend of easy information sharing. This idealised view of the apparent equality of the people in this village, which has blurred the identities and religious differences into one convenient cultural parcel.
A more realist approach to understanding and describing this ‘Global Village’ we find ourselves to be a member of, is a term coined by Benedict Anderson, ‘imagined community’. An imagined community revolves around nationalism: something that is very closely associated with the media. So people who are, in reality, separate feel a connection with people in their nation because you might read about them in a newspaper. However this is also changing to non-national, as for example Facebook, the most popular social media outlet has come to replace the newspaper.
The internet allows people to explore the world and exposes them to different cultures, particularly in the English language which might seem to be becoming the dominant world-wide technological ´sacred language´.But at the same time as the internet seems to be erasing national boundaries, it is also bringing ´national´ diasporas closer together. It may be said that due to the loss of physical contact the imagined communities of diasporas over the internet are even stronger, more visual and clearly imagined.
Still, with such multidirectional media flows, the values of our cultural traditions, languages, religions and sense of self is constantly challenged and redefined. This has changed our economics, our politics, our general brand awareness and dependence on foreign imports.
With our sense of self and belonging constantly reshaping, the TED talk by Pico Iyer, “Where is Home”, had such resonance in my reflecting for this week. He explained that in a world full of constant movement, whether through temporary travel or living in a different country to where you were born, that home and identity is found in the stillness of just being. Home is the ‘place which goes deepest inside YOU…a work in progress’.
Pico offers solace in this confusing, culturally linked world, ever shrinking world, that the personal journey we are all travelling allows us to experience and discover where we are going, is what gives us identity and therefore our meaningfulness. Even when movement of people is not because of their choice, the people they are closest to and their own heart give sanctuary in times of distress.
It is paramount, that members of Gen Global accept the global person as constantly evolving and changing their identity and to deal with this they must come ‘home’ within themselves. This is the only way to survive such a tumultuous global community we live in.