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Posts tagged ‘connection’

Traveling Music

musicians instrument cross country ski mountain white

Just as music speaks to every corner of the human soul, it compels us to seek new forms of expression and connection to share to the world. We dance and sing, clap and play, laugh and cry to music. We seek companionship or solitude, we seek the merriment of food and drink, we seek inspiration from the mysterious methods of music that keep us alive. Music combines with all our arts and thoughts to create the very fabric of creativity.

Throughout history, there has been a worldwide trend of those who seek to share their music with the world. In feudal Japan, monks known as komuso traveled throughout the country, playing long bamboo flutes called shakuhachi to help bring enlightenment and protection to themselves and the villages they visited. They wore baskets on their heads that covered their entire faces, to represent their lack of ego and identity: the focus would not be on the person himself, but on what he did and how he did it. By hiding their faces and sitting in street corners they gave a focus to their music that separated it from the identity of a single person, instead reflecting the universality of the music. In West African countries such as Ghana, a caste of people called the djeli have performed similar tasks for centuries: they travel for miles, reciting poetry, commenting on social structures of their day, singing and playing instruments, telling stories of both history and myth. They possessed great wisdom and knowledge, tempered by experience and the promise of open road ahead of them.

These traits – these people, who encompass so many facets of human existence, are similar to the bards of England, the skalds of Scandinavia, and the ashik of Eastern Europe.  They were also rhapsodes and philosophers of Ancient Greece, the azmari of Ethiopia, the medicine men of many Native American tribes. People have always looked to them as teachers, scholars, friends, advisers, family. By traveling and sharing their music, art, and thought, they revealed to communities the world over news from far-off lands, guidance to the soul, and the connection of past to future, place to place, with music acting as the universal bridge for all connection and culture to flourish. Our very own Austin, Texas could easily be seen as a modern equivalent of the sheer depth of cultural connection that music can bring from people to place.

Through our music and stories and history and art and culture, humanity has defined itself in ways that seem opposite but could not fit better together. We express ourselves individually, yet those expressions form our culture – and our culture informs our expression. We function as ourselves within our collective root, and our collective communities tell us who we are. Though our society has long passed the need for individuals to travel the world telling stories and singing songs, the spirit of these traveling musicians lives on in our capacity to share culture with one another through platforms such as OurPangea. We can share our lives, passions, hopes, and dreams from one community to the next, “traveling” through frontiers of cyberspace for one another – as teachers, scholars, friends, advisers, and family. We have combined the possibilities of the future with the unbound spirit of discovery from the past, and the wisdom of yesterday into the culture of tomorrow, all for a better today.

So here at OurPangea, we’re packing our bags and headed for the airport (not literally, of course!) of our next great frontier. We have taken inspiration from Austin’s modern bard scene and from the cultural connections it has brought and we know we can spread it through the world, with everyone starting to dance and sing, clap and play, laugh and cry to the music that we travel with.

We The Lonely People: Our History Exploration

“For most of history, man found his sense of community where he lived, with the people among whom he was born and with whom he died. For some that remains true today. But most of us in city and suburb live in one place, and find ‘community’ in another.”
-Ralph Keyes

Ralph Keyes, pop-culture author and community-proponent, speculated that modern marvels which have consistently pushed us forward as a technological society have simultaneously deteriorated our ability to form a sense of community.

Keyes wrote We The Lonely People, the article that the above excerpt comes from, in the 1970s and the technology he was specifically referring to were the household conveniences that diminished the habit of families gathering together as a household ‘community,’ but his perspectives are no less accurate or out of place in looking at modern advancements like the Internet and social media today.  In the short history of these broad technologies, we’ve been given the ability to instantly ‘connect,’ been granted tools to play words with friends across the nation, and now have the power to pinpoint our exact location anywhere in the world in mere seconds.

Over the past two months, right here on our blog we’ve been exploring how our communities have evolved, been shaped, and improved as they’ve grown throughout history. We wanted to look at various events, people, and trends from history to elucidate the power and importance of being able to understand our history. Even more so, we hoped to imagine the possibilities of a world where we’re able to harness the power of our collective past and use that focus to encourage our communities to become stronger and stronger as we move forward into the future.

Want another look?  Here’s a full list of all of our history themed posts!

The Importance of History
Common Unity
Remembering History and Using OurPangea to Address Global Trends
Ubuntu: I Am Who I Am Because of Who We All Are
A Conversation Over A Gyro
Making the World Spicy…Literally
Museums, Exhibits, And Galleries
The Rise of Cities
The World Goes Further Than What We See
How OurPangea Is Sharing and Creating History
The Big Support Networks of Education In Small Communities
What We All Share: A Sense of Community
OurPangea for Education
How Education Changes The World
How OurPangea Will Change The World

What topics do you want us to explore??

A New Perspective

The world is, in so many ways, connected. It is connected through worlds within worlds of its own. Worlds of art, worlds of culture, worlds of history and anthropology. Worlds of cities and skyscrapers, of forests and oceans, where all the known and unknown forces of the universe collide to create a force greater than life itself. It is connected through worlds of people, sharing themselves with one another and with all these worlds. This intangible connection is the greatest of them all.

new perspective frame ourpangea open-road

Through the course of human history, we have always sought to effectively communicate and connect with others on any meaningful level we could. It began with writing, the shared knowledge of the creative and philosophical arts, and has continued today to the marvels of the Internet and social networking. It is with great excitement, then, that I have joined the OurPangea team. OurPangea is an attempt to create these connections in bold new ways to improve how we interact, both online and in “real life”. Specifically, it is a new type of network – not a social network, but a Community Network. It will focus on recreating and improving our social model so that we can more easily share and connect with one another and create a better world for all of our communities.

In my personal opinion, I strongly believe that the mission behind OurPangea is something to strive for. With the help of communities everywhere from humble beginnings at the University of Texas to the entire world combined, it can become a revolution in the way we think, feel, and act as a world community, transcending the way we connect to one another and to our communities. Communities are made up of individuals, and individuals are a sum of their communities. This synergistic notion is the key aspect driving OurPangea forward. It is my belief that OurPangea’s mission will come to fruition when communities learn to interact with one another in an organic, collective way, and it is also my belief that this ideal is not very far off. From an idea to a tool to a website to a social movement, OurPangea represents the limitless potential of our communities and the individuals that populate them. It is my hope that this mission succeeds, because it is a mission that is desperately needed for the continued growth of humanity. I will do my absolute best to help this movement get off the ground because it is a cause I believe in, and more importantly it is a cause everyone can believe in. Together, we can combine all of our distant self-continents into one unified, collective (yet still individualistic) whole. We can create our own resurrection of Pangea.

An Introduction to OurPangea Part 2 of 4

What OurPangea Is Doing

panorama city globe villaConnection is great.  No one wants to be isolated. Through connection social networks have comforted us all against the idea that we’re alone in the world. However, being connected online doesn’t necessarily translate into a sense of connectedness. This connection doesn’t mean “having access to everyone in my network,” “interacting in a meaningful way,” or even “sharing with everyone.” Unfortunately, connection as utilized on social networks is all about numbers.  It’s a quantifiable measure of how many people you are “connected” to. There’s no way to define being connected via social networks besides the word connection.

OurPangea is introducing a new, community-centric approach to networking to make our connections more quality based by answering the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ behind our online connections. That is, how are we connected to these people and why is that important to us? OurPangea is making our connections more relevant to all of us by framing them around the interests we have and the locations of our groups and communities.

In the past weeks we have pointed out a number of disagreements with social networking, mainly:

  • Social networking is passive, which means it is not built to facilitate creating relationships outside of our existing circles (reactive networking model).
  • Relationships and connections are oversimplified and one-dimensional, which is not a true representation of how we interact with the people in our lives.
  • Popular social networking sites are beginning to value company growth and profitability over user-experience leading to a decrease in on-site engagement and an overall worse experience.

Because of this, we are collectively realizing that connection itself can only take us so far, and there’s no greater demonstration of this than the fact Facebook is larger and can connect more people than anything in history but that hasn’t made it better. In fact, people seem more willing than ever to leave the social networking site. So if connection doesn’t make our online experience better, what will?  And how do we get there? If today’s social networks connect us, the next step is gaining a sense of connectedness and community from our networks.

So we’re building a Community Network.  This type of network is proactive to make creating new relationships and engaging old ones easy.  It uses semantic connections for a better way to discover people and groups and remind us why those relationships are important to us.  And it will unite the world.

How? If social networking has connected us, then Community Networking will help us understand how we are connected to each other and why that connection is important.  It does this by organizing users by their location and their interests.  People will not only see how their existing relationships are valuable, but also be able to envision what relationships could be valuable that are outside of their networks.  So our networks will start to grow along with the benefits we bring, which will spread from person to person and community to community.

The Community Network is more accurate of the complexities of our real life relationships and groups and it’s designed to be a more fulfilling online representation of those interactions. In short, a Community Network is built to create a sense of community and belonging by enabling us to more easily discover, collaborate with, and engage the people and groups around us.

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