50% of the world lives on $2.00 a day and a good portion of those not even that (general One-Worlder figure per Jimmy Carter on NPR the other day). Many of these people think the whole notion of a western world is a big myth. People living in tribes in parts of Africa, South America, and Western China would laugh if you were to tell them there are cities with more than a million people in them – they have automatic vehicles for transport – some even fly -, they communicate electronically, wash and cook using machines etc. That’s RIGHT HERE ON THIS PLANET. Should we go tell them about us? This concept right away illustrates some illusions about our (Western Worlders’) presence in the world.
John can you say more regarding this phenomenon and how future societies (might) handle the new frontiers of technology in our world?
About 4 or 5 years ago Art Bell had on a guest involved in researching feral humans. He told of a remote Venezuelan tribe that refused to believe there was a city such as Caracas. HE described how the senior tribesman tried to relate to the notion that there was such a type of civilization anywhere near them.
A couple of years before that I had some adventures here in the US. I began traveling around the country staying at Youth Hostels and working where I could. I found myself riding freight trains in the Pacific Northwest and had a last minute rider in my car. He threw his stuff in, climbed aboard and we had quite a few hours of conversation. He was a migrant worker who was starting the Apple Orchard season. (A not uncommon occupation for unskilled labor both foreign and domestic in the Northwest -though most non-immigrant workers will head out on the fishing boats for good/hard-earned money).
HE told me about leaving his little village in Oaxaca many years ago. When he left he was convinced that the jungle surrounding his village just continued on forever and was really surprised when he found other landscapes- cities-cultures. HE spent quite a few years listening to talk radio shows on his little walkmans, working and travelling. I was really surprised about how much he knew of history, politics, science and even overseas cultures.
I also have to say that, what I saw of Freight Train Riders, during this period. represented a fairly evolved subculture, and one not very involved in what we would consider the NORMAL world.
PBS ran the Jazz series a few weeks ago. When Louis Armstrong finally made the leap out of New Orleans and Kansas City to travel to New York to play with “King” Oliver’s band he was FOB (fresh off the boat), in a way. Dressed funny, and gawking at all the huge buildings of which was convinced were all Universities – huge Towers of Learning.
My father grew up in a little! town in the hills of western Pennsylvania. His parents were not the most educated tools in the shed. He has told me since that often when he was little he wondered whether all the stories about places like France, Germany etc. were just made up tales that got passed around on the radio and in print. Of course that could have been just him
Just some examples, to me at least, about how little we know of the world … of which we think we know so much.