The internet is a funny thing. It’s intimately entwined with globalisation. Wearing the economist’s hat from my day job, I see the negatives all too clearly. It facilitates the growth of global markets and multinational corporations, leaving the individual ever more powerless, and often, his or her government too. It multiplies the herd mentality of markets, dragging us into the malaise of global recessions. Globalisation erodes cultural differences, the diversity of human experience that makes the world such a fascinating place. And when these differences are defended, it frequently brings societies into violent conflict.
And yet, at the same time, it brings human beings together too, wherever they may be around the globe. My experience of blogging has brought this point home to me. Sometimes enthusiastically, often sporadically, I’ve kept this blog going for nearly four years now here on www.wordpress.com. I’ve had visitors from every single country in Europe, almost everywhere in the Americas (but never Venezuela or the Guianas, for some reason), much of Asia and some parts of Africa. I’ve made friends with creative people from the USA, Canada, Italy, Norway, Switzerland, Russia, Belarus and India, to name just a few.
Ultimately, the solutions to our problems, the resolution of our conflicts and the custodianship of the planet, can only come from the citizens of the globe pulling together as one. Governments by themselves cannot achieve this and corporations generally have no interest in doing so. The internet enables us to encounter one another, to reach mutual understanding and discover the things we have in common. It makes a better future possible. In my little island, many people are afraid of this new world, wishing to retreat into some imagined past where we lived in isolation, free from foreign influence. I understand their fear but history is against them. The future lies in our common humanity, understanding our differences and embracing them. Here in Ipswich, the town has become increasingly global and I have gained friends from Germany, Portugal, Latvia, Slovakia, Hungary, Zimbabwe and Namibia, among other places.
Through the reach of the internet, I’ve even been introduced to the talented Colombian painter whom I’d love to illustrate the children’s books I’m threatening to write, if ever I get around to it… The stories originate in the long and complex novel that I’m constructing at present. And here’s a tiny extract:
The girl sat down on an oval shaped rock. It was black and perfectly smooth. Uluf lay at her feet. From the high ground they could see the southern tip of the island stretching out before them toward the sea. The morning sun glittered on the water, playing skipping stones on its surface with diamonds and sapphires. Although it was still early, the day was already really quite warm. Kriistiijaana imagined herself flying across the sea on the wings of a white screamer. The goats bleated away contentedly among the scrappy grass. The two companions sat there in silence for a while, contemplating the view.
‘What do you think lies beyond the sea?’ the girl asked at last.
‘Who can say, mistress?’ the wolf answered. ‘The sun, perhaps?’
‘I wonder if there are other islands like our own.’
‘Perhaps there is only sea.’
All text and images © PSR 2016