We are citizens of the world. The tragedy of our times is that we do not know this. — Woodrow Wilson
A few weeks ago I shared some thoughts about Digital (or Virtual Democracy), and was pleased to note some interest about the topic. Of course sharing a personal opinion is meant more of an awareness and food for thoughts, a tremendous job is awaiting the various sources and organisations who will have the task to define the foundation, thus the foundation of such new social and political paradigm.
Digital democracy can – at least for me – be only of one type, nations and territories, frontiers can no longer exist when it relates to such political format. Such democracies are built by Global Citizens (Call it Virtual Citizens as well) I am not a big fan of existing political views that exist in our world today, yet I respect each as I find each is in its growth process, changes will occur when times comes and when most elements in favour of such change are met. Digital / Global Citizenship is on its own path and its pace can be compared to the speed of a travelling comet! Not so sure any human force can stop it, eventually slow it somehow.
Virtual Citizenship is inevitable just looking at the trends of today’s virtual world: in some countries the ratio of intelligent devices is almost a 1 on 1 (952 smart devices per 1000 capita). If I translate it into my own language or comprehension, it means (to me) that people, need to brake their loneliness and connect to other people regardless of the barriers, frontiers and regulations to slow migrants to move from a place to another. People care to connect more than any other mean for a wellbeing when they are given the choice.
It is not uncommon to observe lots of criticism about the duality of real and virtual life. Still people claim these aren’t the same. They are right from a rhetorical and etymological point of view, the fact is more people connect every day on popular social networks and get friends with other people whom they would never imagine meeting in real life. These persons can be considered as the first generation of virtual citizens, I may say Global Citizen.
If you are member of one of these networks just look at how many people you got in touch with, numbers add up so rapidly. As a matter of fact I did that “human” inventory of the acquaintances and friend and business contacts I have made for the last 12 years, figures are overwhelming! One of the interesting thing is that I spoke to each of them not less than a couple of times, some occasionally but many on a regular basis. If I had to spend time in real life that would took me most of my life to reach half or even less people to speak or just say hello.
That brings me to share more thoughts about the title of my paper. Is Global Citizenship at risk? I guess it will be if we as citizens of this world do not first consider ourselves as ones who are part of this planet, and second if we do not care about who and what will provide what every community requires to ensure a better life in this virtual realm.
Digital Democracy is something new to most political systems, Global Citizenship is newer than ever. As most countries and their organisations are still limited with goals that speak of nation, borders, identity, ethnicity, and more of what defines a nation rather than a group of nations.
Imagine for example that each government decides to create the virtual or digital version for his citizens, what would have changed? Nothing much I guess! For believers that it is a viable mean to expand ourselves into a digital realm, keep in mind that if it happens it will inevitably come with all of the drawbacks that our reality is carrying and enduring since ages.
Global Citizenship requires a new social contract, a new paradigm as it will affect the entire planet. Education, communication, trading, and even human relationships. I am not trying to speak from an idealistic approach, on the contrary, let us think of what has changed so far in our day to day activities. Banking, purchasing, official communication with our governments, ordering food, learning, virtual visits to places we would never think of, and more to come. Under which system will this Global Citizenship be regulated? Who will be eligible to be recognized as such, will there be segregations, shall we admit and tolerate illiteracy in our own places of living not to say the rest of the world? Will the news channels dare to interpretation of critical events and serve these as our daily meals three times a day?
Global citizenship can start from home and our neighbourhood, our communities, just spreading good ideas, discussing, sharing our opinions, regaining the ownership of our decisions and freedom of choice.
I am not against laws and order, they are meant to keep a nation in order how about our planet, but it takes free minds to ensure the very existence of a true democracy!
Until our next chat,
Michel – August 6, 2015
The picture of this paper is from: Global Citizen Daily