One World

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Mike Novak, of Mike's World Tour fame, is finally winding down his travels. On a post entitled, Personal Ramblings, he has some thoughts about his experiences:

"One World" - In the mid-1980s, after participating in various exchange programs (Kenya, Thailand, and Poland) I was enamored with the concept of "One World". "One World" centers on the belief that people are basically the same throughout the world - they want to be happy, live in peace, raise families, and lead productive lives. What make them different are generally not innate but learned differences - learned through their own culture, traditions and religion beliefs. Overtime these learned differences between countries and their cultures tend to shrink and merge – facilitated by such things as cheap travel costs, information technology, the internet, TV and movies, cultural awareness and education . The result is a single culture or "One World".

After this trip I still believe in the concept of "One World" (a.k.a. "globalization" in economic parlance), albeit, this trip made me realize that the reality of a single culture is a lot further away than I previously surmised - decades, even centuries away. There are a lot of uneducated, poor, immobile people in the world that still maintain their own culture, tradition and value systems.

It seems to me, the flip side of this observation is that much that is unique about various societies comes from the poor, deprived folks in their midst. This is, of course, not restricted to third world countries. Musically speaking for example, the ghettos in the US, the favelas in Brazil, tribals in India and rural enclaves in Morocco, all have been fecund sources of various sounds. All have been exploited accordingly and absorbed into the global "one culture" machine by cool-hunters, musical explorers, and media outlets looking for the next big thing. What's amazing to me is how some of these places continue to innovate various musical styles one after the other - it seems to be a curious balance of isolation from the greater culture at large and familiarity with it.

There are more musings here. Check it out.

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- December 15, 2005 11:22 AM // Music , Travel