We are now aware that the Web has contributed to the betterment of many aspects of life. We are also increasingly finding out that the Web has unfortunately fueled more fragmentation of our civilization.

The results of our search engine inquiries and the items that appear in our social media pages are pre-sorted according to our previous Internet browsing histories. As a result, we consume a one-sided view of the world that is further validated by the material that appears on our devices. Our opinions are narrowed. Any social interaction on the Web has become increasingly specialized and takes place mostly among like-minded people. We have been pigeon-holed. For the most part, we love it.

Increasingly, we are served information according to demographics and less often as a whole nation. We think of ourselves as members of specialized communities. Our communities include such groups as the tech community, the conservative community, the liberal community, the white nationalist community, the black community, the gaming community, and many, many more communities. News, and discussions arrive pre-digested for our easy consumption according to our interests and opinions.

While much of this sorting is helpful in some way, it has also crippled public discourse and has led to the shattering of the commonality of our nations. We are less like a unified nation and more like isolated nation-states. Even though this balkanization has become more obvious, many of us still have the desire to belong to the larger community of a nation and the overall community of humanity.

To get a better grasp of the term “community”, I looked up the etymology of the word:

“…late 14c., from Old French comunitĂ© ‘community’, commonness, everybody” (Modern French communautĂ©), from Latin communitatem (nominative communitas) ‘community, society, fellowship, friendly intercourse; courtesy, condescension, affability,’ from communis ‘common, public, general, shared by all or many,’….” The latin word communitatem meant fellowship or a community of relations, or feelings.

The nation still comes together as a community in the aftermath of a natural disaster like a hurricane or major earthquake. The feeling of national community is less common for positive events like Independence Day, which has become more about political factions than national solidarity.

To illustrate this factionalization, take the December holiday season. It has become a minefield where one must tread carefully to avoid offending certain social communities. People worry about the designs on disposable coffee cups and how we greet one another at this time of year. There is competition as to which particular December holiday will prevail over all the others.

The biggest problem with the divided nation is that it is more difficult to unite against intrusions by more focused outside powers. The outside agents come from unified adversary countries whose intelligence agencies use our divisiveness against us. If we cannot even agree whether or not an adversary is working for or against our national well-being, we are in great danger. We are being played by our traditional enemies.

Is it possible for some amount of balkanization to coexist with national and world interests? I wish I knew the answer. In the scope of human history, we are treading on new territory. Will our micro communities continue to struggle for supremacy or will we soon realize we all belong to the larger community of humanity? The path to community will continue to be littered with seductive, dangerous pitfalls, so we all must be mindful of the common good.

The Blue Jay of Happiness likes a statement by dramatist-poet Henrik Ibsen. “A community is like a ship; everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm.”

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in Controversy, Politics, religion and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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