Specifically, there are two forms of one global consciousness:
- A short-term awareness of global interconnection and interdependence resulting in an affective state of temporal heightened sensitivity. It must be sensitive to short-term emotion-based primes: that is, situational cues that influence behavior.
- A long-term awareness of global interconnection and interdependence, informing durable structures of thoughts and knowledge. There defines and is defined within the parameters of morality, globalization and identity in the sum of human experiences. The article subjects these three components of global consciousness to scientific, philosophic and empiric scrutiny in relation to the ‘evolving media’ to better conceptualize the dynamism and characteristics of their interrelationship.
A ‘globally conscious’ individual is aware of both the interconnectedness and difference of mankind, and is willing to take moral actions on its behalf in a reflexive manner.
Global consciousness as thus formulated is normative and situational.
The question is: How can we affect global media for the betterment global consciousness?
Through the gateway of awareness is experience. From the impaired awareness emerges distorted experiences. Yet awareness has become a scarce commodity, the individual’s awareness is and has been exploited without end. Extracted, rebranded, then fed back to him. He is cattle in a farm, deeply unfulfilled, in wanting of stronger, higher connections.
But how to break free from placidity? Inertia is a force too great for a mind too fragmented.
To really think about something is quite hard, to make reasonable metaphysical self-reflection is even harder. The mass of digital information exists in excess, same for our identities, it has peaked and become saturated. The awareness of the individual feeds into the awareness of the mass, if we are attentive we can sense the degeneration of the entire thing in spite of exclamations of supposed ‘progress’.
News has become beautifully untrue.
Entertainment industries predicates on the golden ratio of skin to clothes.
A passage out of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 comes to mind:
Luckily, queer ones like her don’t happen often. We know how to nip most of them in the bud, early. You can’t build a house without nails and wood. If you don’t want a house built, hide the nails and wood. If you don’t want a man unhappy politically, don’t give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none. Let him forget there is such a thing as war. If the government is inefficient, top-heavy, and tax-mad, better it be all those than that people worry over it. Peace, Montag. Give the people contests they win by remembering the words to more popular songs or the names of state capitals or how much corn Iowa grew last year. Cram them full of noncombustible data, chock them so damned full of ‘facts’ they feel stuffed, but absolutely ‘brilliant’ with information. Then they’ll feel they’re thinking, they’ll get a sense of motion without moving. And they’ll be happy, because facts of that sort don’t change. Don’t give them any slippery stuff like philosophy or sociology to tie things up with. That way lies melancholy. Any man who can take a TV wall apart and put it back together again, and most men can, nowadays, is happier than any man who tries to slide rule, measure, and equate the universe, which just won’t be measured or equated without making man feel bestial and lonely. I know, I’ve tried it; to hell with it. So bring on your clubs and parties, your acrobats and magicians, your daredevils, jet cars, motorcycle helicopters, your sex and heroin, more of everything to do with automatic reflex. If the drama is bad, if the film says nothing, if the play is hollow, sting me with the Theremin, loudly. I’ll think I’m responding to the play, when it’s only a tactile reaction to vibration. But I don’t care. I just like solid entertainment.
Over time, excess of media networks substantiating superficial channels of addictive content exacerbates the ever-decreasing capacity of human awareness. In other words, the shortening of the attention span, leads to culmination of warped conceptions of morality and categorically fragments global consciousness.
It is ‘mindless consumption’ -contemporary social and cultural phenomenons sensationalized and circulated via the medium of mass media for the purpose of enticing & retaining viewership generates little genuine discourse but is found in excess.
Thus on the one hand, acting as the most important means of forming global consciousness, the mass media, on the other hand, likens the “nervous system” of an individual as the “crowd” to be targeted. Entrepreneur Elon Musk regards ‘the internet” as the world “acquiring a collective nervous system”. In this way, the defining feature of concurrent “global consciousness,” is that of the schizoid-consciousness.
We may take the public reaction to the 11 September 2001 terrorist acts. In the aftermath the subject of terrorism has hitherto been brought out and remains at the forefront of discourse. The issues of the death penalty, euthanasia, abortion legislation, cloning, and genetic engineering as a whole become subjects of popular discussion in mass media. In this instant, the degree of change in global consciousness was substantial, with fear and insecurity permeating the emotional climates of American citizens and affecting the widespread empathy of other nations.
To capture effectively situations which embodies global consciousness, one must consider how national public spheres are penetrated by issues and information from areas outside it, and how issues and information in national public spheres ‘migrate’ and ends up influencing other nations in context as global events. The two are a pair, entwined by logic. One cannot exist without the other. Global consciousness is open in all direction, any and all phenomenon of isolation exists as an impossibility.
The effects of global consciousness are larger if the level of emotional involvement is high. We see stronger effects when events embody or evoke deep feelings of compassion, but smaller effects when the level of fear is high. Compassion is an interpersonal, connecting emotion, while fear drives us toward personal survival; it separates us.
So while globalization may serve to fragmentize the individual consciousness into sub-categories based on cultural values, global consciousness can nonetheless conform to such a climate as its measurement is based on the total human emotional experience rather than the concepts forming individual identities, this is due to ambiguity which global consciousness necessitates in demand of a reflexive and dialogic type of ethics that is able to respect and incorporate a variety of moral perspectives across a variety of situations. Hence global consciousness must entail a sense of global moral interdependence capable of navigating between the sacred values of disparate groups despite the multiplicity of perspectives which globalization emanates.
We ought to have some sense of universal obligation towards others, such universal obligations may take the form of civic duties, virtues and relational; human-heartedness, benevolence in hierarchies, or empathy and love. We ought to remind ourselves about how we are part of a shared and global fate community. This leads to a stark realization: Our salvation as individuals is contingent on the awakening of the whole, and vice versa. The individual must make a practice of morality, as morality is the bedrock of humanity, it is the root cause for all predicaments or prosperity. When the individual sets moral standards for his character and conduct, so too will media ethics.
To realize a truly connected world, the media must takes the first step to becoming sustainable to play as role model to effect widespread practice of morality and compassion.
The concept of global consciousness as the marriage of empirical science with moral interdependence articulated here is an invitation to go beyond the monological roots of sociology to a realm of infinite possibilities.
By Gray L.