I am probably not saying anything new here – but it feels that way to me. We have been ignoring the most important fact in contemporary life. Without being aware of it, we have developed a global awareness that is not in our best interest. A new global Self that is not good for us.
Let me put this another way – we have developed a split personality on a global scale. But still think of ourselves as individuals. Which means we have no way of understanding what is going on.
We have never been individuals, but this was a useful assumption for awhile, when we were building a Industrial economy. Now it is no longer useful – and hasn’t been for over a hundred years.
We have to get used to the idea that we are social animals – very social, and have always thought of ourselves as members of a group (a tribe, for example) or even a number of overlapping groups at the same time. These groups may peacefully coexist for centuries – but then erupt in violent warfare.
Americans cannot understand the situation in Syria – that is divided into many competing groups, in overlapping areas. This is difficult for a Syrian on the ground – but not too difficult, because he can change his identity quickly, to suit the circumstances. One moment he belongs to one group – the next, another. He is not being devious, just sensible. Americans want to classify him – make him the member of one group or another. When, in fact – he belongs to many groups, at the same time, with flexible priorities assigned to each.
This is even true in America – where Americans are divided into many groups – without trying to know what they are – or even that these groups exist. Trump showed up out of nowhere, because the people behind him didn’t exist in the minds of many Americans. They existed, alright – and they could vote!