Where is Collective Wisdom in the 21st Century?

Communication Revolution, Revolution in Consciousness

Three decades ago, Teilhard De Charind predicted that a communication tool like the computer could help to wake us up in a true universal consciousness: “How can we fail to see the machine as playing a constructive part in the creation of a truly collective consciousness? …I am thinking, of course, in the first place of the extraordinary network of radio and television communications  which…already link us  all in a sort of “etherised”  universal consciousness.

Peter Russell as mentioned by Duane (1997) describes the unfolding of this universal brain:

“Billions of messages continually shuttle back and forth, in an ever growing web of communication, linking the billions of minds of humanity together into a single system.”

Undoubtedly today we are the generation who has been experiencing firsthand the rapid explosion of communications technology leading to the radical awakening in a global level due to the unlimited number of information disseminated over the electronic platform. The World Wide Web has given us an unlimited number of information to store as knowledge and henceforth could be use for real life situations (wisdom). However, most of the time, an ideal state of mind is not easy to make a reality.

The Internet as Manifestation of Our Collective Consciousness but Use for the Wrong Purpose

The Internet was first conceptualized in 1957 in the US with a mandate to further the research of the Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) program and help protect the US against a space-based nuclear attack (Albacea, 2009) .  First and foremost, it is good to note that the people who invented it had in mind the potential value of the Internet in sharing information in research and development in scientific and military fields. Today, in the twenty-first century, the Internet has become to be much like the electronic version of our world to where communities are being formed, individuals and groups meet, different cultures cross path, and hence almost every activity in the real world with the exception of physical activities became possible.

Surely with all of these initial values of the Internet to humans and even up to the current use, the central idea here is the innate desire in us to collectively share ideas in the most effective means and apply the most feasible ones to better the society in which we live. An island nation like the Philippines for an instance benefitted greatly in the Internet as the people and the government has started to communicate effectively, overcoming great geographic distances. Imagine this: in contrast with the effect of television in its first explosion to which people sit down and watch the current events passively, the Internet would possibly (in the future) let even the most remote and far away island in the country proactively participate in the state affairs.  Sadly, most of the time the Internet is being used for the wrong purpose, reason why there are family, groups, and society breakdowns.

Of course, we are now aware of both the positive and negative effects of traditional media (tv, radio, etc.) and electronic media added the fact that the control of them became in the hands of the few corporate elites. On the negative side are those online articles that usually distort reality, influencing the readers’ worldviews and behaviours with or without them know it. On a positive note, these online articles nowadays allow individual participation through comments or thru emailing them, thus any one could intervene whenever there is wrong information published.

Facebook: a Platform for Collective Knowing or Collective Madness?

Facebook was initially open to college students in its first launched in 2004. Nine years later, it is said that the influence of this giant social networking site is comparable to the effect of the television in the 1980s, (Marzouki, et al, 2013) because as we knew it, many of us now, if not all, are pretty much Facebook literate. These include our aunts, uncles, mom and dad, our teacher, and even the younger members of the family.  This is evident in the statement of Petro (2013) that Facebook is “a company, a platform, an ecosystem,.. a phenomenon, a veritable force of modern culture”.

The good news is that Facebook, being a social media platform provides counter-influence in that an ordinary people like you and me could participate in developing consciousness. Marzouki, et al  (2013) verified that “the incredible connectivity amongst people provided by [this] social media, combined with the speed at which information is exchanged and its potential global reach, have significantly empowered people.” As an example, Marzouki, et al mentioned that the popular social media “was the main channel that facilitated and accelerated the Tunisian revolution” or in other words, cyber activist used this as a tool and was successful in awakening the collective mind of the masses.

Further, the positive side is that social networking sites give us the opportunity to participate in current state of affairs in the government, in our work, in our family, in our community, and even beyond our borders. In addition to a sole one-way communication purpose, our sentiments have the possibility to be heard easily through this social networking site platform whomever we want them to be heard or sent directly to. However, to achieve the collective consciousness we must be also wary in our intake of every text we read or every video we watch in our news feed.  Kelley Harrell (2011) mentioned that it was reported at the end of 2010, 20 percent of divorce cases in the US cited Facebook as a catalyst in the relationship’s demise. We cannot simply mention here the many other negative effects.

I could not count how many times the giant social media has impacted me in some ways in my day-to-day living. A song, a poem, a status message, and a graphic are affecting my mind and behaviour knowingly or unknowingly. We must also be wise in our postings as every status update could possibly alter the world’s collective consciousness (Harrell, 2011).

References

Albacea, E.  (2009). Introduction to Information Technology. Quezon City: UP Open University.

Elgin, D. (1997). Collective Consciousness and Cultural Healing. San Anselmo: Fetzer Institute. Retrieved from http://duaneelgin.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/collective_consciousness.pdf

Harrell, K. (2011).  Facebook: A Spiritual Experience?. The HuffingtonPost. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kelley-harrell/facebook-sprititual_b_819605.html

Howe, W. (2012). A Brief History of the Internet. Retrieved from http://walthowe.com/navnet/history.html

Marzouki, Y and Olivier Oullier.  (2013). Revolutionizing Revolutions: Virtual Collective Consciousness and the Arab Spring. The HuffingtonPost. Retrieved fromhttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/yousri-marzouki/revolutionizing-revolutio_b_1679181.html

Petro, B. (2013). History of Facebook: The Social Network at Nine. Retrieved from http://billpetro.com/history-of-facebook

Advertisements