From Local Bakesales to IGOsAn
In America, a youg girl with a brother in the Air Force stationed overseas can hear of a needy school in Myanmar and find a network of family and friends to organize & execute a bakesale complete with profits delivered to the personally known needy. According to the 2021 World Population Report, Americans are the most generous givers in the world with 50% of donating an average of $800 a year to charity. Then why does the United Nations have such a bad reputation with Americans?
Elitism springs to mind. Americans consider themselves to be homespun down-to-earth. A gathering og global elites goes against the grain. Diplomats and their immunity from foreign prosecution feeds that resentment. Finally, the sheer level of bureaucracy involved in UN global operations is staggering and wide open for abuse.
Many Americans are surprised to hear, if they ever do, that the UN is a nonprofit organization. It is the larst inter-governmental organization in the world. Near-200 countries are members taking part in the UN forum for world betterment. Under this umbrella are scads of smaller organizations who can take part in the UN’s work. The Internation Olympic Committe, for example is a privately funded global group that now can take part in UN Genertal Assembly sessions to promote sport worldwide.
Organizatiions provide an avenue for being useful and the range of options are staggering. In addition to corporate and private philanthropies, charities numbering in the hundreds of thousands can be nonproft, for profit or not-for-profit. Tax codes spell the difference. Further, national organization can be either independent or associated with their governments. If government linked, complications mushroom if regional organizations are to be accessed. In simple terms, it seems that aid is available but the devil in the detail is getting aid to the people who need it. That involves not only politics but logistics and communication.
Communicating in a Global World
Self-expression is a critical avenue for a person to connect with the outside world. While the mechnaism is the same, the skill of communication is geared toward a completely different result. The distinction determines the course of the process.
Ambling about is its own reward. It feels good. Walking to the supermarket has a purpose. Success comes when groceries are home. In the digital age, the two forms of connecting inner and outer worlds seem fused, The confusion is the global wild west that needs taming.
Communication is the process of conveying a message. In-person delivery involves a seemingly infinite number of boosters, from facial expression to body language, vocal tone, even scent and environment. All five senses are active in the exchange. They help to modulate expression. As the senses drop out, memory, imagination and emotions take over.
Information is the moderator in the exchange between the inner and outer worlds. It consists of data that is processed, organized and structured. It provides context and allows for making decisions. It resolves uncertainty. The same applies to misinformation and disinformation, two harmful effects of the information highway that are ultimately resolved by the receiver of the information, the person who processes the data delivered by the message.
The global world is privileged to have the aid of technology to face sweeping challenges. To name just a few at the tip of the iceberg, those include climate change, migration and dfferences about forms of government; wealth and income disparities, racial biases and gender assignments. transportation, supply chains and disease control also top the list. All are part and parcel of geopolitical shifts. Data about those issues will not reach any individual, but they affect daily life in the form of grocery bills, product availabllity and gas prices. However minimally, a person with the privilege of technology has the responsibility to process available data to make the best possible decisions about issues that affect then and the surrounding community to however wide and extent it is explored.
In a world of near-200 countries with thousands of cultures, subcultures, languages and dialects, the opportunities for mis-dis and fake communication are endless in a digital world. That’s where history and institutional memory provide a guiding foundation.
Those who navigated the enormous changes between traditional and digital forms of communication know the value of expressing a private thought when aimed at the outside world. In the days of physical cut-and-paste, the thought incubated until ready to sprout because change after expression was arduous. In the age of social media, the thought is a throw-away to be tossed out as bait for the most number of anonymous fish to bite.
Trolling for random expressions of judgment about a fleeting emotional purge leaves out the element of communication once filled by the five senses. At its best, such interaction will spur mutual recipients of the message to go out and make human contact.
Taking such action can be difficult in a world of TMI, or too much information. A billion Google listings on a subject like cryptocurrency is daunting. That much information could never be processed. The first two listings pages are repeat listings. Boredom sets in. Communication is dead before it begins.
Communication in a globql world is a superhighway with a daisy hub interchange directing travelers toward their destinations. The burgeoning system has gaps to fill, such as the byways needed for mud roads to join th etraffic.
In the realm of human affairs in the internet age, huge gaps need filling between thought, expression and response. Speed leaves no time for processing, sorting, categorizing and most regretfully, the configuration of the thought into a comcrete format.
Whatever the future holds, the world at present is a concrete entity. Staying grounded in that reality is key to making the transition into the global digital age. Fact checking with established sources deflates the baseless ideations planted by would-be global demagogues. Also helpful is a long view of communication throughout human history.
Writers, thinkers and philosophers have guided civilization through the ages from biblical scholars through Plato, Lincoln and FDR. Along the way were Dante, Tolstoy, James Joyce and Ernest Hemingway. Confucius, Lao Tsu and Khalil Gibran left words to humanity that speak long after their deaths. Millions of great thinkers in betwen made their mark to create a global world with a great future as long as it doens’t drown in info glut.