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Posts tagged ‘humanity’

Using OurPangea to Gain Perspective

Think about where you live right now.  Is it an apartment complex? A city block? A college residence hall? Have you lived there for a long time? Are you friendly with your neighbors? Do you have a family or roommate or do you live alone? Are you involved in groups and committees in your neighborhood? Do you love your home? Do you not?

Now think about where you grew up. Do you still know all of your neighbors? Do the same traditions still exist? What is different? What is the same?

two face perspective man reflection effect

No matter how you feel about where you live, one thing is certain: you will not be there forever. And once you’re gone every community keeps living, breathing, and growing without you. New leaders are elected, new residents move in, and new stores will open and close. If you’re lucky you’ll be able to keep some connection to your old home through parents still living there, friends still in your old neighborhoods, or alumni associations keeping tabs on your high school or college graduating class. But we all inevitably lose the sense of belonging we used to feel with our old stomping grounds.

Think about your educational experience.  Weren’t you involved in any student or school groups? Were there any classes or teachers you particularly liked? You may not still be a part of those things, but wouldn’t you like to see what is happening with them now?

Imagine if you could reminisce on your old experiences and feel like you’re a part of the new ones being created. This is a perfect example of how using OurPangea will help us reconnect with groups and experiences in the same way Facebook has given us the ability to reconnect with old friends.

Alumni associations and Educational departments could use OurPangea to help alumni retain their connection to the schools, teachers, and groups they loved. Community centers, galleries, and museums could showcase annual events and exhibits for past participants to remember and meet the new ones.

Further, OurPangea can be used as more than simply a window to the past. Imagine being an incoming college freshman getting ready to move to a new city surrounded by people you don’t know. If our university communities are represented on OurPangea, incoming students will be able to see what their experience will be like in the major they’re entering. From participating in social discussions to learning how students see their peers to meeting classmates from around the world, it would be possible and maybe even expected to become an active part of the community goings-on before even getting there.

When our events, neighborhoods, and social lives live on OurPangea it will help us maximize our time in the present, relive the best experiences from our past, and proactively discover the things we might want to join in the future.

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Being A Part of the Human Community

The human race.  Humankind.  Humanity. These are terms that get thrown around a lot, indicative that we as humans share a common bond. But too often our ability to unite as a human community and consciously recognize our collective humanity is just a response to a disaster or intrusion from some inhuman—or perceived inhuman—source.    Think the Tsunami in Japan, the Earthquake in Haiti, the Stop Kony campaign, and 9/11. But we are quick to forget our bond as humans and return to conflict because we identify more strongly with our ideologies.

district 9 manhattan indepedence day movies human community

And then of course there are the non-human threats, like the ones in Independence Day, District 9, Watchmen

This behavior might lead one to believe it’s in our nature to be aggressive, confrontational, violent, and self-interested.  However, new theories  are suggesting this tendency towards conflict with other humans isn’t a part of our nature, it’s the result of our environment.  Researchers hypothesize we are, in fact, wired for empathy to seek sociability, attachment, affection, and companionship. The reason behind this wiring could be the strongest innate driver of empathy:  the drive to belong. If we begin to see each other as a single community of humans rather than many communities segmented by nationality, religion, and ideology, we can start to act as we are wired to do and actually embrace our innate empathetic natures. So what’s stopping us?

Empathy is defined as ‘the automatic or intellectual reaction to identify with and understand the plight of another you feel connected to.’  So when something harms  or impedes another human – like learning of a natural disaster – we automatically empathize with the affected because we are humans.  And yet, in today’s world we don’t consciously make this human connection favoring instead the containers of nationality, religion, and location.   My question is, why do we do this?  Why inherently dismiss our connection as humans so easily?

knee cut scab frown kid

Don’t you feel bad for this kid?

Throughout history the empathetic connection between humans has expanded and evolved to conform to the man-made constructs of community we’ve created. People of faith expect to feel connected to others of the same faith, as it is with nationality and ideology.  We have segmented our identities to feel like we belong, but we still do not consider our humanity to be an obvious link.

But this connection is not completely forgotten. Just look at the response to any modern day natural disaster or world event.  We instinctively empathize with our fellow man halfway around the world.  We feel the connection, but what we need to do is consciously acknowledge it. Empathy based on our human community should be something we expect and something we cherish, not a feeling we dredge up after some terrible occurrence.

This hints at our need of a place for us, as humans, to belong, to collaborate, to interact, and to enjoy our relationships.  As a human community we can put aside our disagreements, dismiss our differences, and collaborate together as equal human beings recognizing our innate relationships as human beings.

There is nothing to do this yet…
So we’re resurrecting  OurPangea.

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