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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

None of us are as cruel as all of us

A few years ago a grand thought occurred to me. I realized that my generation and I exist at this historical nexus of technology, global inter-connectivity, and violent tension that is unprecedented in all of humanity. Never has Man had simultaneously the wealth, technology, and infrastructure that we do today; anyone can essentially talk to anyone instantaneously no matter what part of the globe either individual is located. Ideas and creative expression and images and news can be transmitted and processed in real time with none of the lag-time in propagation that earlier generations even thirty years ago had to deal with.*

In the past people were divided by the very real physical boundaries of space, and distance, and language but today the only divisions that exist are conceptual ones (i.e. religion, politics, lifestyle). To make this period in history even more unique the percentage of the global population under the age of 35 is nearly half of the total population, which means this demographic could have an enormous influence on global politics, wealth distribution, propagation of violence, etc.

So this begs the question: With all of this global influence, wealth, ability to communicate real-time with one another, and with language no longer a viable barrier to communication, what would happen if every person on the planet under the age of 35 were to agree to certain terms in regards to the aforementioned oft-debated topics? For example if such a large group were to, say, agree to never, in their lifetime, no matter what happened, fight physically with one another, would not the massive influence of 50% of the world’s population exert such enormous pressure on the other 50%** that the political and economic forces that drive war would cease to exist?***

It is an enormously idealistic thought, but one that raises my spirits about the possibilities for my generation. We are so often told that everything’s already been done and that there is little to nothing left for us to do, and yet here is something that could be done, some positive mark that we could leave on the world; something that could never have been done before this exact time in history. The one resource our generation has in spades is sheer numbers and if those numbers were used for the benefit of humanity there is literally nothing we couldn’t do.

Numbers, that is the key. Large numbers of people getting together to effect change.


And then I read these:

Bitch Magazine

Nine MSN

Numbers. None of us are as cruel as all of us.

*Take the recent Iranian elections as example; no matter how hard the government tried to crack down lots and lots of images and news was leaked out of the country via social networking websites like Twitter and Facebook and much of the world was able to practically witness the election and ensuing fallout first hand.
**Assuming that the other 50% would not also be united.
***Sort of like the hypothetical question: if all of China was to jump in the air at the same time would they create a massive earthquake when they landed?