Sunday, August 08, 2010

THE WORLD IS NOT FLAT



The world is full of lumps.

I've got to admit that I have been skeptical of Tom Friedman's thesis that "The World is Flat". Often, it strikes me somehow as an information age manifesto of monculture. My thoughts are not well-developed about this but by instinct and intuition, as well by science, I know that the diversity and richness of both our social and natural world could not possibly be represented as flat. Variety, messiness and roughness offer a more fundamental view of the non-linear and non-flat elegance in which "bottomless wonders emerge from very simple rules repeated without end."

Ethan Zuckeman's brilliant and inspiring TED talk describes well the social lumps that are missed in the "World is Flat" perspective. Many voices are never heard in the flat terrain of the mainstream media where most cultural and natural roughness is ignored unless it is sensational or violent. Indeed, our world seems complex, too complex to understand. But, in simplicity, there can be found a deeper more tranquil beauty that binds us together. Our quest is to find it.


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