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What does it mean to be globally aware and why is it important?

In one of of the school programs I attended to last year, I was asked what it means to be globally aware and its importance. The question seemed to be quite easy, but I could not come up with a great answer. Trying to think of the best examples of being globally aware, I was lost.

TED is one of the most global communities out there and I believe it can help me understand the meaning and importance of global awareness.


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    Jul 25 2013: i think it means to meet all kinds of people, to be open-minded and unprejudiced, to ask many questions about other people's cultures and ways of living, to try other people's ways of doing things.
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      Jul 25 2013: And where does it leave one, if one finds 'other peoples' cultures and ways of living', consists of gender disparity, barbaric practices like female circumcision, stoning of adulterers and animal cruelty just to mention a few.

      Would you TRY those ways of doing things or do you believe those practices and the people who practice them should be denounced?
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          Jul 25 2013: Barbarian and its forms is a word coming from the Greeks who thought that all outside cultures sounded like they were saying "bar bar bar" much as we say, "blah, blah, blah."
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          Jul 26 2013: Well John................the past is the past and the now is the now.

          Are you perchance suggesting the barbaric practices of the past in some cultures deems it Ok for it to be Ok in other present cultures??

          Oh and btw here's an example of what I find barbaric in my culture................We have a legal system as opposed to a justice system.

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        Jul 25 2013: well, no, nothing says you have to try everything, probably I was more thinking of non-Chinese people going to a Chinese restaurant.
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          Jul 26 2013: Yep......that's a real cultural experience........cultural exchange...........nearly as meaningful as going down to the deli and getting some sauerkraut to put on your American hot dog in a Jewish American bagel. :)

          Three cultural experiences in one trip.

      • Jul 26 2013: I think part of being globally aware is striving your best to understand the world we live in. I think it is important because we often fear what we do not understand, and fear can lead to violent conflict. I do not think, however, that it means we should agree with everything we see in the world. I believe it is a matter of trying to put things into context, and considering several different viewpoints before reaching conclusions.
        • Jul 26 2013: I have to agree with Ryan Holly. Not sure what the point of mentioning Barbarian cultures is, but what I gather from this thread is that being globally aware is getting to know different cultures. You do not have to accept them or be a part of those cultures, but have an idea that there are other ways of living and the more you expose yourself to different cultures, the more globally aware you are.
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          Jul 26 2013: So Ryan Holly and Asan Anarkulov......................curious, in what cultural context do you see female circumcision??
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        Jul 26 2013: well, by itself it's a drop, but if you start having a lot of such experiences it becomes meaningful, eating with people, talking to people, going to parties with people, playing sports with people, working with people
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      Jul 25 2013: I think you're close. I think it's not about meeting "all kinds of people, to be open-minded and unprejudiced, to ask many questions about other people's cultures and ways of living, to try other people's ways of doing."

      That helps, but the essential thing is to recognize the INTERdependence of all life on earth. Everything is interconnected, so things happening on one side of the planet have an effect on things happening in many places places all over the world.

      I read a back issue of the Nature Conservancy magazine today and it talked about the Colorado river that flows through the United States and into Mexico and how they must learn to share this water and make joint decisions to meet their needs. Life in this world at large is like that.

      To be global is primarily to recognize that interdependence of human life, that we are all one species, and to appreciate that there are no causes without effects, that if the butterfly flaps its wings off the coast of Africa it can very well cause a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico. Like energy, which can be neither created nor destroyed, but only transformed from one form to another, so do your actions simply turn into reactions which incite actions which beget actions and so on and so on.

      Some may say global is about being international. Some may say global is about worldwide consciousness of this or that going on here or there. I think it is simply this: "We are all in the same boat, in a stormy sea, and we owe each other a terrible loyalty." --G.K. Chesterton.

      If you have an us versus them mentality, that's not being globally aware. Being globally aware there is primarily and fundamentally just US and THEM is as tedious as a twice told tale and better saved for other times.
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        Jul 25 2013: well, we're both right, D. If you're meeting many people from different cultures, I would think you'd be much more aware of the interdependence of people than someone who is isolated and only meets people like him or herself.
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          Jul 25 2013: Concur. (I imagine us mutually bowing towards one another.)

          (Me, somewhat longer and lower as I have no Ted Creds and you have 30+)
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        Jul 26 2013: I would say global awareness is heightened if one is having fun, and meeting people from different cultures is fun. For instance, I am Caucasian, I grew up in Glendale, California near Los Angeles, and in high school became friends with two Korean dudes. It was such fun going to their houses, taking your shoes off before you entered the door, eating Korean food, participating in Korean holidays. In the last fifteen years I lived for ten years near MacArthur Park in Los Angeles, which is 95% Hispanic, and that was so fun, too, being exposed to Hispanic ways of thinking, living, eating, working, playing.

        What other cultures have you been exposed to?
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          Jul 27 2013: Yes, exposure person-to-person is valuable. But so is going to an art museum, going to the library, using the internet wisely, or living in different states within the same country, or in different cities within the same state, for that matter. Experience comes in all shapes and sizes.

          I've been exposed to myriad cultures in the following primary definition of the word exposure itself:

          "!. the fact or condition of being exposed: as
          a : the condition of being presented to view or made known
          b : the condition of being unprotected especially from severe weather
          c : the condition of being subject to some effect or influence
          d : the condition of being at risk of financial loss ; also : an amount at risk"

          I also have a pocket atlas sitting atop the toilet tank in case I haven't brought anything with me to read.

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