From Xenophobes to Xenophiles- It's Time to Get Our Globe On

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Have you ever had an idea or a plan, and then soon after came to find that someone had already done it? I certainly have, and I'd guess that this is a pretty common experience. Perhaps it's through the noospherethat we're picking up on something already existent, or getting our pockets picked by others? Hard to say. Nevertheless, sometimes it can be a bummer (when you had that idea for ___ that was going to let you retire early), and sometimes it can be a blessing. Recently I experienced the latter.

In the comment section to a piece of mine facebook_conn_image_976x462called Joseph Campbell, Facebook, and the One and the Many, Bergen linked to this striking image of worldwide Facebook connections you see here on the right. In my response to him I said, "It's interesting to see what parts of the world are still largely offline. It might be a worthwhile project to see if we can't connect here at Beams with some of the folks who are online in places like China, Africa and that big dark spot on South America. See if we can't get some direct information about what's going on in those parts, start some kind of exchange".

Well what do ya know- someone's already done it!! And how. While listening to commentary regarding Social Media and the Tunisian Revolution, I came across the work of technologist Ethan Zuckerman and a globalvoiceslogoTED talk of his (which I've embedded below). Zuckerman and others created a website in 2004 called Global Voices, "an international network of bloggers and citizen journalists". This site has been a real gift during the recent events in the Middle East, with bloggers and collections of Tweets from right inside all the countries involved. Through hearing these local voices directly, unfiltered by the Western media and the many myths, projections and vested interests often found there, I've gotten to hear many intelligent, passionate, savvy folks that I personally resonate with. Through a site like Global Voices, the 'global village' shrinks and tightens in a rapid and palpable way.  

Zuckerman makes many important points in his TED talk. He points out that while we think the 'World Wide Web' has created this globally connected network of humanity, folks like Zuckerman who study these things have come to realize that most people still remain in "segregated conversations", employing "filter bubbles" that create an "imaginary cosmopolitanism". Zuckerman invites us to become "xenophiles" in our actions, creating a wider world-network of social connection through who (and what media) we interact with. To put this in integral terms, you might say that Zuckerman calls for the action driven cultivation of a truly global-centric worldview within our collective (lower-left quadrant) shared culture and values. I would add that this shared globalized worldview, truly embodied and developed into, could put considerable pressure on the modern world-system to also evolve in step with this global opinion and solidarity. I for one feel deeply compelled to connect to a wider world in this way, and will be putting much future energy in that direction here at Beams. Please let me know if you have any connections or links that further that project.

Before going into Zuckerman's TED talk, here's a passage from Sri Aurobindo's 1915 political text The Ideal of Human Unity that's worth mulling over in this context:

"The whole process of Nature depends on a balancing of and a constant tendency to harmony between two poles of life, the individual whom the whole or aggregate nourishes and the whole or aggregate which the individual helps to constitute...The perfect society will be that which most entirely favours the perfection of the individual; the perfection of the individual will be incomplete if it does not help towards the perfect state of the social aggregate to which [s]he belongs and eventually to that of the largest possible human aggregate, the whole of a united humanity".

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  • Comment Link Bonnitta Roy Thursday, 03 February 2011 19:45 posted by Bonnitta Roy

    Raul Quinones Rosado, is an integral scholar and author of Consciousness in Action. He is under-noticed and under-appreciated in integral circles, primarily due to (in my opinion) allergic reactions to social criticism and an anti-western-dominant-white-male narrative. He has written an excellent process thinking about gender oppression and privilege, on an integral level. See

    I don't know if he has time to also write for B&S, but you might want to ask him if you can cross-post some of his stuff.

    You can

  • Comment Link Trevor Malkinson Thursday, 03 February 2011 19:59 posted by Trevor Malkinson

    Fantastic Bonnitta, thanks so much, looks like an amazing resource. I see he also does workshops on Consciousness-In-Action too, which I'll definitely be on the look out for. I'll try and get in contact with him asap too. Brilliant, I'm very excited to just suddenly discover this fully developed body of work, cheers!

  • Comment Link Reid Higginson Saturday, 05 February 2011 03:06 posted by Reid Higginson

    Thanks for the post Trevor. I think you're bringing up some really interesting points, cause on one hand humanity is far more world-centric than it ever has been. Gen X, and in particular Gen Y, is the first Generation to grow up in world-centric conscious, which is particularly tangible now because of the spread of social media. Yet, at the same time, while we're world-centric there are still many parts of our selves that are far from it.

    Culturally (both inner and exterior) there so many ways in which the deep roots of nationalism still affect us. I think of myself as a world citiczen before I think of myself as an American, but all of practical ramifacitions of that, like where my attention lies, haven't changed.

    I have also been struck recently by how my own center of gravity as an individual is still so deeply rooted in my own personal interests and desires. While that is starting to fall away as a take spiritual practice more and more seriously, I can see how far there is to go to embrace a true world-centrism which would mean care for the whole of the world overtakes care for oneself, at least in the way I think about it.

    Thanks for writing. I love this blog.

  • Comment Link Trevor Malkinson Thursday, 10 February 2011 19:49 posted by Trevor Malkinson

    Reid, thanks for your searching reflections, I admire the honesty and attention you bring to the subtly of your own patterning.

    The work of Ethan Zuckerman really struck me on many levels. For one, at precisely the same time that humanity is becoming more world-centric as you say, North American (and Western) media over the past thirty years has reduced its international news coverage considerably. This doesn't bode well for the continued birth of a truly global awareness and widening circle of care. I for one find American culture absurdly myopic. I can't stand how much time we in North America, including so many Canadians who get sucked into the vortex, spend focusing on the day to day minutia of American politics and society. This is a situation, as I see it, where we need to, through our own actions, circumvent that tightening circle (which will inevitably only serve power interests) by reaching out to as many different peoples of the globe, listening and exchanging and finding the mutual ground on which to further secure the growth of global solidarity.

    Also, as Zuckerman mentions in his TED talk, the majority of the connectivity of the world- whether it's media, plane travel, capital and commodity exchange- still happens largely between the wealthy countries of the world. What we think is connectivity is really so far just a First World club. I'm interested, as it sounds you are, in becoming a truly global citizen and in global justice. But if I want that to happen, then I'll need to start at home and begin reaching out to all those parts of the globe that are unheard in the "western-white-male-narrative" that Bonnitta alluded to above.

    And that's why I was so excited to discover the website Global Voices!! Wow, what a collection of peoples from every corner of the world. We've been following some of the Egyptian story from bloggers and tweets right inside Egypt- which we got from Global Voices- and I've found it very moving and beautiful, voices that just pop the absurd fear based tales being told by the Glenn Beck's and much of the Western media. When those who are trying to divide us can no longer control the dominant narratives, then that Empire built on exclusion and greed will fall. And I hope I'm alive to dance as the pillars crumble, allowing the global culture in waiting to fully come alive.

    Thanks for the words Reid, nice to connect to others working to continue the global move in this new emergent (r)evolutionary direction.

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