Howcan we meet the challenges of community and human interactions in theInternet Age?
Globalizationis happening fast occasioned by a rate of exchange of information.Several platforms have also emerged, with the internet being probablythe best thing to happen in the history of humankind. The Internet aspopularly said has made the world a global village. Information canbe accessed within a touch of a button. Businesses are conducted atrates that no one could have imagined before. Community and humaninteractions have been elevated to a whole new level. However, thehigh level of interactions has brought in new challenges that theworld communities have to learn to cope with and manage. This paperexamines the works of Anthony Appiah and Marshall Poe, in theirrelevance to the challenges of community and human interactions inthe internet age. In the discussion, it will be discovered that wecan meet the challenges of community and human interactions byacknowledging and appreciating our cultural differences. We can alsomeet the challenges through deliberate communication efforts so thatwe understand why others conduct their affairs differently. The paperalso aims to discuss if we can meet the challenges of communities andhuman interactions by changing our attitudes so that we accommodatedifferences within us.
Cosmopolitanism and societal integration can help overcome thechallenges of human and community interactions by comprehensivelyaddressing the question of culture. It would be impossible to achievethat if the world does not know what culture is. Culture is a set ofbeliefs, values, customs, and practices of other aspects of life,which bind communities together (Appiah28). Each community,therefore, is defined by its culture and, therefore, has a lot ofinfluence on the attitudes of individuals. In the internet era,community and human interactions have been greatly enhanced. Theeffect of this is that various cultures from around the world caninteract at higher rates than ever before. With the vast diversitiesof cultures from around the world, the internet has provided aplatform where all cultures have a chance to express themselves. Tocope with the increased interaction in the global arena, the worldcommunities should admit they all have cultural backgrounds that aredifferent.
Peoplehave been socialized in different cultural contexts, and so there aredifferent beliefs. This calls for tolerance and understanding as thefirst point towards achieving human interactions at such levels wouldbe to ensure harmony "Yes, which means that if the communitychanges its mind and decides that two plus two equals five, then twoplus two equals five" (Poe 275). It is important to accept thateveryone is different with tastes and preferences that may not besimilar with those of the other. By uniting cultures throughtolerance as cosmopolitan societies, the human communities wouldempower themselves to tackle other common challenges. The worldcommunities could interact with mutual understanding by adopting theappropriate attitudes that advocate for tolerance and understandingof other cultures. The world communities should accept the fact thatthings are done differently in other parts of the world and thateveryone needs some respect. That would inform the need to respectone another so all can co-exist and interact well to advance theaspirations of all. Appiah emphasizes that "So two strandsintertwine in the notion of cosmopolitanism. One is the idea that wehave obligations that stretch beyond those to whom we are related bythe ties of kith and kin, or even the more formal ties of sharedcitizenship. The other is that we take seriously the value not justof human life but of particular human lives, which means taking aninterest in the practices and beliefs that lend them significance"(59)
Wecan also meet the challenges of community and human interactions inthe internet era by encouraging education and increase of literacyrates among all people in the world. This is because of the specialrole that education plays in enlightening and instilling aspectsconsidered appropriate for embracing of new attitudes and cultures(Appiah56). Education increases the level of understanding of theindividuals. Such individuals are the more accommodating and toleranttowards other cultures. The education platform enables individualsfrom different backgrounds to appreciate each other at least duringthe schooling period. Education opens up the minds to new anddifferent ways of doing things. It, therefore, becomes one of thebiggest tools for social change and could, therefore, play asignificant role in enabling communities to overcome interactionchallenges in the internet era.
AsCommunities of the world indulge in communications and engagements,it marks the starting point of understanding each other. Appiah says,"In much of Europe and North America, in places where ageneration ago homosexuals were social outcasts and homosexual actswere illegal, lesbian and gay couples are increasingly beingrecognized by families, by society, and by the law" (67).Through availing ourselves and being willing to listen to each other,we would be in good positions to understand each other. That wouldbreak any other barriers to communication and in itself is a way oftolerance (Appiah 78). Through communication, we would be able toenlighten each other on our different cultures and beliefs. This isgeared at promoting acceptance among human beings as they engage inconversations for the better understanding of each other.
Practices,art, and music, communicate the way of life of the people. It is,therefore, a vital tool to enlighten others about people`sbackgrounds. It unites the people who enhance interaction ofindividuals with diverse backgrounds (Appiah 91). Music particularlyhas a general ability to unite the people and influence changes ofattitudes so that people can overcome other challenges informed byinteractions in the internet era.
Thepredicament encountered by the people in the internet age could alsobe overcome by encouraging and allowing interactions betweendifferent communities in sports. Sports are powerful tools that bringpeople of diverse backgrounds together as they endeavor to excel intheir respective disciplines. They are provided with a forum toconverse and exchange ideas which promote better understanding amongthe players and in extension among members of communities.
Inconclusion, we can meet the challenges of communities and humaninteractions in the internet era by exploring ways and means ofbringing communities together. All efforts that unite people for acommon goal should be encouraged. It encourages understanding andtolerance. This informs change of attitudes and hence strengthensinteractions between communities irrespective of their social,economic status or other social differences.
Appiah,Anthony. Cosmopolitanism:Ethics in a World of Strangers.New York: W.W. Norton & Co, 2006. Print.
Poe,Marshall. "TheHive – Can Thousands of Wikipedians Be Wrong?How an Attempt to Build an Online Encyclopedia Touched Off History`sBiggest Experiment in Collaborative Knowledge." TheAtlantic Monthly.(2006): 86. Print.