A Global Village

A Canadian media scientist named Marshall McLuhan once predicted – a full 30 years before the World Wide Web was invented – that we would all one day become a global village, the whole world interconnected by a single electronic nervous system. We would be able to instantaneously spread ideas and images, greetings and gossip all around the globe as easily as saying Hi! to a neighbor.

It has happened. The world has shrunk to a village by McLuhan’s definition… and it seems to be both good and bad.

A chat with your friend in New Zealand is now as easy as handing your neighbor a Christmas card over the back fence. On the other hand, peeping Toms can now lurk in your computer as easily as at your back window.

Our global village is both as safe and as dangerous as any village ever was. Our hope for a happy, fairy tale village of unity, tranquility and uniformity still needs some work. Even Mother Teresa once said, “I want you to be concerned about your next door neighbor. Do you know your next-door neighbor?” Her concern suggested both a wise concern for their needs and wellbeing as well as a wary concern for danger.

As a matter of fact, McLuhan predicted the global village would ensure maximal dis-agreement. Even the most obnoxious village idiot and the most dangerous dictator in the farthest country is now sitting right on your front stoop with his finger on your doorbell.

There is an old saying that God made the village and people made the city…where people hardly know each other. It seems God knows people are better connected than separated… So, if we do it right, if we really come together as people, maybe we can have the village life we want.

This week the Jamestown Gazette invites all of our readers to visit the open doors all around our community. Open Doors Jamestown is a great chance to connect.

When people can meet face-to-face, share a smile, shake a hand, and come to appreciate the value of each other’s best work, the distance between them can disappear. Connections like that can shrink a city back to a village.
Marla Gibbs, who played George Jefferson’s outspoken maid in Moving on Up, the sitcom for which she won a Primetime Emmy, reflected on what can happen between neighbors, especially the comical neighborly fireworks between George and All in the Family’s bombastic Archy Bunker.

“I truly believe, Marla said, “that everything that we do and everyone that we meet is put in our path for a purpose. There are no accidents; we’re all teachers – if we’re willing to pay attention to the lessons we learn, trust our positive instincts and not be afraid to take risks or wait for some miracle to come knocking at our door.”

Doors Open Jamestown might not quite qualify for a Marla Gibbs miracle, but it always opens doors to wonderful experiences, meeting old and making new friends, and re-experiencing the city on a person-to-person basis – the very best a good village has to offer.

Enjoy the day, and as always, enjoy the read.

Walt Pickut