Women’s Marches: Moment in the Emergence of Planetary Civilization?

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Photo: Barry Vacker, 2017.

Like many people, I was utterly inspired by the size, scale, and energy of the Women’s Marches on January 21, 2017. As I watched the events unfolding on the internet and various Google maps shared via social media, it dawned on me I was seeing a deeper pattern emerge. With 600 marches in 57 nations, perhaps we are seeing another moment in the earliest stages of an emergent planetary civilization made possible by: 1) global media technologies and the desire for universal human rights, 2) which are realized and protected only by secular society and the insights from art, science, and philosophy.

Never before in the history of our species could people unite from within countries around the world to protest the madness in one country. This reflects the utopian potential of the internet and social media to make a better world and connect up a planetary civilization. This is not a naive claim. As a long-term professor of media studies, I know media technologies more often tribalize society into narcissistic echo chambers.

The Women’s Marches showed what happens when people get out of their echo chambers and local-global tribes (at least for a while) and think in terms of the universal — the demand for universal human rights around the world. Of course, this needs to happen regarding madness and injustices in other nations, too. But, when we stay in intellectual and technological tribes (focused on narcissism, nationalism, theism, exploitation, domination, and marginalization of the other, etc.), then we are going backward and retreating from a planetary civilization.

When we use global media technologies to connect and unite via a “shared destiny” and universal narrative, then a “planetary civilization” will naturally emerge in the future. This is the civilization that must emerge if our species is to be a long-term success on our planet. There can be no going back to patriarchy, theocracy, and tyranny. We have to move beyond tribalisms (and ecological destruction).

Maybe more women leaders can help us get there. Men, too. I know I was inspired by the events. More importantly, the pattern gives me hope for the long-term future of our species. The technologies are there. We just need more of the universal philosophy and shared destinies.

Theorist of big spaces and big ideas. Writer and mixed-media artist. Existentialist w/o the angst. PhD: Univ of Texas at Austin.

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