Wednesday, December 5, 2007
A Final Question
I had the thought recently that our collective imagining, longing for, and fantasies of the universal - the Borg in Star Trek, or the Matrix, or even 1984 - are a modern phenomenon. I couldn't think of any imaginings of the global from before the modern epoch. But as I widened the scope of what I considered, I decided that the Christian and Islamic empires of the past centuries, and particularly the religious ideologies they created around an ideal world, the afterlife, and judgment day, may as well be Luddite versions of the Borg - a collection of unthinking, unindivduated, enthralled humanoids united by a single consciousness. This refutes my previous conceptions that the conflict between the global and the local, the universal and the specific, was a recent consequence of an increasingly inter-connected world. Does the desire and fear of the universal, the unresolvable tension between the global and the local, stem from something more existential, something inherent to the human condition? Or can it be traced to more modern developments, the perceived increasing "sameness" of the world, and the growing conception that we are all one species sharing a small planet?