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Social Sci LibreTexts

12: Connectivity, Communications and Technology

  • Page ID
    11173
  • In the words of Rucker (1983, 108) ‘the human race is a single vast tapestry, linked by our shared food and air’. In this sense, it is correct that the entire human race is connected through the material world. It is wrong, however, to assume that such connections create any kind of unity. In international relations, when we think of humanity, we do not think of a single, homogenous, peaceful body, but of a number of distinct factions competing, coercing and cooperating to achieve their own end goals. These factions may be groupings such as ethnic, racial or religious divisions or they may be nation-states. They can also be anywhere on a scale from very large to very small. Importantly, however, none of these groupings exist independently of the individual humans within them. The individual is the basic unit at which humanity exists. In this way, individuals are symbiotic with the wider system, with each playing a role in shaping and influencing the other. Humanity consists not only of human bodies, but also of the ideas, the convictions, and the wills contained within human minds. Given this definition, what does it mean for humanity to be connected? In a physical sense, a disconnection has always been present. Each human mind is contained within a human body that exists separately from all others. It is, however, on the metaphysical plain – that of ideas, convictions, and wills – that humanity can be connected. The uniting of many individuals for a common cause, for example, represents a connection of minds leading to action. Such unity can of course arise by complete chance or through non-conscious actions. However, more powerful connections arise when the unity stems from conscious interaction. Central to the concept of connectivity, therefore, is the ability to communicate with others, which we do more and more today via digital means.