Our brains are designed to continue learning and growing throughout our lives, but it's up to us to keep them stimulated. Now in the age of technology, though, we consume information more quickly and on a wider spectrum than ever before, and our brains catalog it all with the ease of, say, a computer. In this week's episode of "The Rabbit Hole" on The Chopra Well, Deepak Chopra takes us into the inner working of the global brain, shaped by social networks and technology.
Every time you learn something new online or connect with another part of the world via Facebook or Twitter, your brain paves fresh neural pathways. It restructures itself according to the information you accumulate, the habits you form and break, and the skills you utilize most regularly. On another level, though, our collective consciousness -- the "global brain," as Deepak calls it -- is also changing rapidly. Our global village coheres today in a way it probably never has before. Of course, there have been other eras of vast trade and communication: the Silk Road, the introduction of the printing press, colonization, to name a few. But today we can experience practically every corner of the globe with the click of a button. We can weigh in on any issue under the sun by commenting on news and blog sites, joining forums, and posting to our own social media outlets. Our loved ones are only as far away as our phones and Skype accounts, and many of our relationships exist entirely online, anyways.
What does this mean for the future of our global village? We are witnessing the era of Wikileaks, the Arab Spring, and social media-driven presidential campaigns. We can at least expect media and technology to maintain a powerful role in global politics and culture, and they will likely continue growing exponentially in the years to come. Culture influences social media, but the opposite is also true (if not more so). We may witness more and more of the latter: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and future platforms driving culture and social norms.
This may be a healthy evolution or a destructive one. If dictators and hate groups dominated media culture, we would be in grave danger of watching our global village fall down a path of decay. But hopefully this will not be the case. As Deepak urges, "The destiny of the whole planet depends on reaching beyond the narrow interests of rich nations and multinational corporations. A community of humanity needs to be formed." Why not make the conscious decision to use social media as a tool for spreading love, wisdom, and positive transformation? The power is in our hands.
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