We live in perplexing times. We are more interconnected than ever before. World economies are tied together and utterly dependant on each other. Yet the very thing that fuels our globalization is also the very thing that fuels our destruction. Climate change and oil spills that have devastating environmental impacts are showing the price of our global trade.
While we give lip service to things such as free trade and global human rights, the sovereignty of nations remains unquestioned. However, in a world bound together by environment and social networks, we must be ready to re-imagine what it means to be both a global citizen and local community member.
The political trend towards isolationism and self-interest is as strong as ever, even while the problems facing the world today are global in nature. But the thought of foregoing nationalistic pride is scoffed at in the name of self-interest. What if the most self-interested decision we could make would be a greater move towards global cooperation? In a world connected by social networks, this has never been more possible.
Imagine for a moment a world without borders. A world where people freely travel and move about. In this world, the only obstacle to seeing the great wonders of human civilization would be the cost of transportation. Imagine a world where transportation does not come at the cost of environmental degradation. A world where visas and passports are no longer necessary and we would be free to travel and work anywhere and everywhere we wanted. Is this a dream worth fighting for? Is this a world worth sacrificing for?
The first response for many is that this is an unrealizable pipe dream, and not even a positive one. A borderless world—for all its promises of freedom and harmony—is fraught with all kinds of problems as well. I would wager that the most common possible problem in the reader’s mind is a fear of security. A borderless world likely conveys fears of terrorists moving about at will with their threats and acts of violence on a defenseless people.
There are some who might argue that a borderless world would be a cultureless world. That without distinct national, sovereign boundaries, our world would descend into a single homogenous corporate Amero-culture. My first response is, what does that say about the culture each of us helps create and define each day? Our great fear is that the culture we have created would be a plague on the world. If not completely unsettling, what that indicates about who we’ve become is at least a little tragic.
However, maybe this is not how a borderless world would have to be. What if we could live in a safe and free world that did not cling desperately to culture in the face of overwhelming capitalistic domination? What if culture the world over thrived and blossomed—not in spite of a borderless world, but because of it? Could this really be so?
Why do nations exist? Why did states come to be? Well, in a world before flight and worldwide transportation, resources had to be protected. In a finite world of limited resources, this was the single greatest reason for war. Someone else wanted what you had and the easiest way to get it was by force. National boundaries were established in an attempt to end the constant battle for resources. It was a pragmatic solution to the constant bloodshed that plagued the world. And it worked—at least some of the time.
That was before international trade. That was before oil. That was before avocados in February. That was before UPS overnight shipping from Seattle to Shanghai. We now live in a global world that must manage resources globally, not locally.
Socially and politically we must think globally. We must find a way to look past our nationalistic tendencies as they have now outlived their usefulness. Just as record labels have lost their power to be the sole distributor of media, so too have the great power brokers of the twentieth century. Now, information is power, and in this new global world, we have access to all the information we need to obtain all the power we want. The power to form and shape our world is in our hands like never before. We are increasingly in control of our world and we are the ones who will shape it if we reach out and connect with those around us. Borders have limited usefulness and increasingly less meaning.
What then about culture and security? These two things tend to flow together. While a global world would be free to manage resources globally, culture would thrive locally. We would have to give up avocados in February because the way in which we ship them across the world is no longer sustainable. Communities would become locally sustainable. While the internet would give us the power to connect to the entire world for information and communication, we would need to give up some of the things we have gotten used to. Farmland and water resources at the local level would have to be protected. Las Vegas is not a twenty-first century city. Our resources are extremely finite and we can no longer act like they will go forever. Soon, only the self-sufficient will survive, which will relight the flame of community that we have lost in the independence of the twentieth century. As communities depend on themselves alone for sustainability, we could see organization and community at the micro level explode just as it has at the macro-level.
And what about security? In a world where communities are free to develop their own cultures once again, as information and education and knowledge flows freely, in a world where everyone has opportunity and hope, the flame that fuels radicalism and terror would be extinguished.
Is this a world worth dreaming about? Is this a world worth sacrificing for? Is this a world worth fighting for? In this world, people would again hold the power that democracy once promised. Corporate elites are losing their stranglehold on the flow of information and it is up to us to pick up and carry that torch. Reach out and connect to the world around you. Let us continue down the path that erodes nationalistic self-interest and promotes the self-interest of humanity. Together we can build a bold new future. But it will take vision and sacrifice. The road ahead will not be easy, but anything and everything worth having never is.
...My world. My world is a series of strung memories, slow songs, copper streetlights dancing over my skin during long car rides, first kisses yet to be shared, poems yet to be read, apologies I was too afraid to make, mistakes I don’t know how to undo, pulse punching through me every moment I write, and the laughs that I have yet to enjoy. My world is not only my world; it is your world, her world, his world, our world. The lines of my world are not defined. I have not found my world, but am creating it. My world is a glorious accident, a turbulent land. My world cannot fit into four pages. My world is experienced in a life so minuscule, so short, yet so colossal. My world is the only place where I, a creation, have the power to also be a creator. I want to tell you about the experiences, the words, the opaque tears, the translucent smiles, the wrinkles on my hands. But I can’t. I want to take all my deepest fears and struggles and pour them onto this page. But I can’t. You cannot clarify your world through undressing yourself with words. You can only make another soul understand your home through sprinkling insight with letters, with honesty that pours down one’s throat like honey. And I am going to create a door into a piece of my world, allowing...