Wisdom Wednesday – The Emphatic Civilisation

This great video makes the case that we haven’t evolved to compete with each other but to empathize with one another.

I especially like how it builds the case of how our strongest connections grew from family relationships to tribes to religion-as-extended-family to nation-states-as-extended-family to the natural next step to a worldwide unity of purpose, facilitated by technology, as we drop away our artificial ties of religion and state.

Comments 4

  1. John wrote:

    This is very cool Jason, but you said …

    “natural next step to a worldwide unity of purpose, facilitated by technology, as we drop away our artificial ties of religion and state”

    Wait a minute. Technology is natural, and religion and state is artificial? Very strange.

    What if religion and state are different kinds of technology?

    Posted 04 Aug 2011 at 10:42 am
  2. HeadTale wrote:

    I wasn’t referring to techology as “natural” – I was referring to the next step in humanity’s development as being a natural evolution from family to tribe to religion to nation-states to worldwide commonality. (Maybe “inevitable” would’ve been a better word?)

    The reference to technology was that it could be a facilitator of this shift, perhaps impossible before the Internet and sites like Twitter (as referenced in the clip) as well as Facebook, YouTube, Kiva, and a bazillion others that help shrink the world so people stop thinking in terms of “I’m a Christian and you’re a Muslim so I hate you” or “I’m a Canadian and you’re an American so I’m superior to you”.

    (I fall into that last trap myself – maybe it’s like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and we’re all at different points on the graph in terms of our own progress?)

    Religion, the state and technology are all a mixture of real (though not “natural”) and artificial (we’re communicating through cyberspace after all).

    Technology hasn’t yet achieved a level of ubiqutiousness that religion and the state have but I think it’s heading that way. (See my post about “Google as God”)

    Finally, even if religion and state are different kinds of technology I think this clip is making the argument that religion is like a horse & buggy, the state is like a car and technology is like a jet in terms of how they can connect people and how they are natural evolutions from one to the next.

    Hope that clarifies my meaning. (But because I can’t help rambling I’m not sure that it does! )

    Posted 04 Aug 2011 at 11:02 am
  3. John wrote:

    It does, thanks, though I don’t think there’s a progression from religion to state to digital technology. Layers maybe.

    Thanks for posting the video. The mirror neurons concept is important, as is digital technology and social media in facilitating empathy.

    Posted 04 Aug 2011 at 1:17 pm
  4. HeadTale wrote:

    In terms of the progression from religion to state to technology, I agree that it’s not a case where one has all but replaced the one that came before it like LP’s -> cassettes -> CD’s

    I think there is a co-existence that’s more like radio -> TV -> Internet where the previous preeminent mode of human alignment still exists but is gradually shrinking as the newer mode grow in importance.

    Religion has been around for probably tens of thousands of years and states for thousands.
    We’re so early into the “age of technology” (one hundred years? Fifty? Thirty? Depends on what you see as the starting point) that it’s hard to predict how it may impact religion and the state.

    But I think technology has already clearly changed how people (who use it – this doesn’t apply to everyone) think about their relationship with others on this planet.

    Posted 06 Aug 2011 at 10:09 am
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