Wednesday, February 08, 2006
The observation that the world is shrinking has lost its impact but a quick reflection on what we see in the world around us should make us realize that it is time to rethink the consequences of instant communication. Columnist Thomas Friedman notes: "To all those who say that this era of globalization is no different from the previous one, I would simply ask: Was your great-grandmother playing bridge with Frenchmen on the Internet in 1900? I don't think so. There are some things about this era of globalization that we've seen before, and some things that we've never seen before and some things that are so new we don't even understand them yet. For all these reasons, I would, sum up the differences between the two eras of globalization this way: If the first era of globalization shrank the world from a size "large" to a size "medium," this era of globalization is shrinking the world from a size "medium" to a size 'small'."
When a politician is getting a little on the side or when an Imam farts in Bahgdad, or some lunatic blows him or herself up in the hope of an early ticket to paradise, we know about it instantly. This new "telecloseness" to coin a phrase makes us all neighbors in a new way. Jesus' claim that we are our brothers' keeper takes on new urgency when your brothers are out to lunch. What do you do when your global neighbors are psychotic? Islam might be characterized as a psychotic religion based on the following accepted definition of psychosis:
"Psychosis is a generic psychiatric term for mental states in which the components of rational thought and perception are severely impaired. Persons experiencing a psychosis may experience hallucinations, hold delusional beliefs (e.g., paranoid delusions), demonstrate personality changes and exhibit disorganized thinking (see thought disorder). This is often accompanied by lack of insight into the unusual or bizarre nature of such behavior, difficulties with social interaction and impairments in carrying out the activities of daily living. A psychotic episode is often described as involving a 'loss of contact with reality'."
Clearly anyone who believes that they will be greeted in paradise by alabaster virgins for blowing themselves and innocents up are candidates for collective psychosis. If your neighbors are nuts what can you do about it in this new age of telecloseness? More on this on the next Connecting the Dots