How the Internet Creates Relational/Ecological Forms of Awareness
Excerpted from Kingsley Dennis:
“We are transitioning from the modern mind of the industrial-globalization “modernity project” of the last two centuries into a life-sustaining world, an ecological-cosmological new world mind. We are fostering values that will be inherited by the world to come and thus have an obligation to rewire ourselves to a more integral, empathic world. Part of the role of our global communications has been to rewire our minds into functioning across linear relations; to become accustomed to dealing with multiple connections rather than single ones; and to become immersed in varied and diverse relations and not just local families and communities.
We are now beginning to embody a myriad of viewpoints, beliefs, and identities. As a species we are beginning to fuse; although we are still fragmented and rife with cracks and schisms. The initiation from our species infancy into adolescence will require a moral and ethical growth. We are called to respond differently to the world around us — not in fear or with anxiety, with trepidation or apprehension; but with robustness, energy, flexibility creativity, and positive intentions. The world in which we live is an ecology of which we are a part — we must learn to respect this, to feel it, and to develop our lives around it. The world we are moving into requires of us that we both inspire and be inspired. What we are witnessing, now for the first time as a planetary species, is a transition between world ages, from one mode of psychic reality to the next. Our scope for shared collective consciousness and intention will continue to have a greater capacity to affect our environment and our potential futures. Just as the use of electricity has altered our industrial skylines, so we can learn to use the energy of our collective psyche to transform our world into the community skylines we wish to see for the future.
Like never before our connective and communicative environments are becoming embedded with our bio-psycho-social influences. We are establishing what psychologist Daniel Siegel terms as “interpersonal neurobiology” — how our social relationships influence and affect our nervous system. We are unable to separate the neurological functioning of the human being from the environment. Our various social and cultural impacts, influences and experiences are rewiring our neural circuitry. It is thus imperative that we have positive and constructive external stimuli in which to foster and support conscious development. The scale of adjustment to live differently may be enormous, or will be to those without adequate preparation.
Information is our current global energy and each new energy revolution stimulates also a revolution in human communications. This in turn catalyzes new patterns and organization within the human psyche. Examples of this process include the introduction of cuneiform tablets at Sumer that ushered in early city organization, and Gutenberg’s printing press that helped to democratize Europe and encourage distributed information sharing. The Gutenberg printing press was a dramatic revolution in that it made information more available within the public domain. And this in turn affected the physical and physiological condition of those exposed to printed information. Not only did the general masses take up reading on a large scale but also the very act of reading (which for Latinized Western cultures was left-to-right) stimulated parts of the human brain hitherto underused. Furthermore, the sudden increase in a reading public put emphasis upon the need for greater social organization as the written word became responsible for promoting increased individualism and instances of opposition to ruling structures (as is very much the case today).
And so today our distributed digital networks of communication are rewiring and re-patterning human consciousness through their diverse and pervasive interconnections. Such international connections breach cultural and national borders and force us to self-reflect on our identity, values, and ethics. With more and more people accessing connections outside of the heavily corporate controlled mainstream media, gaining information from a social media that is more distributed, independent, and alternative, more people are being exposed to a wide range of viewpoints, beliefs, and narratives. This exposure to new patterns of information helps us to break out from rigid, narrow and myopic scenarios.
A re-patterning of the self can lead to new priorities in our lives, to be more in balance with our needs rather than swamped by our wants. Perhaps we will be compelled to orientate ourselves toward needs rather than wants in order to have a more focused path upon which to drive forward. This re-patterning and re-structuring of social relations incorporates new styles and modes of interpersonal connections and communications. It heralds a new set of shared values, understanding, empathy, and respect. As a global family we have already suffered enough from egocentric systems and a world driven by power, greed, and control. These institutions are now archaic and destructive to our continued survival. They are the dregs of an old mode of existence, one that is unsuitable for a world to come. The ideal set of relations would be that which honours the “Golden Rule”: social exchanges on mutual trust and respect. We may be a long way from this, yet the seeds have been planted, and are growing in firm soil around the world — in projects, communities, social networks and organizations.
The world systems for a new era will not emerge from the centre, like the Renaissance that sprung up in Medici-funded Florence in the Late Middle Ages. The new “renaissance” will come from the periphery or from the bottom-up, a distributed and networked emergence of conscious individuals and groupings. Like ink dots on blotting paper, these conscious and creative centres will spread their influence through decentralized channels and processes until a time will come when the ink dots begin to fill the blotting paper.” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kingsley-dennis-phd/technology-spirituality_b_854757.html)