Thursday, November 5, 2009

connecting to a global tribe

I heard this re-broadcast while driving today; I hope you enjoy it. Be sure to watch the video at the bottom of this post - it made my day. Thank you for your continuing well-wishes - still fighting the flu....

Connecting to a Global Tribe
"I believe globalization is forcing our brains to evolve.
I’ve had the privilege to see a lot more of the world than anyone my age could reasonably hope to. A few years ago, on a backpacking trip, I made a video of myself dancing terribly in exotic locations. I put it on my web site. Some friends started passing it around, and soon millions of people had watched it. I was offered sponsorship to continue my accidental vocation, and since then I’ve made two more videos that include 70 countries on all seven continents. A lot of people wanted to dance along with me, so I started inviting them to join in everywhere I went, from Toronto to Tokyo to Timbuktu.
Here’s what I can report back: People want to feel connected to each other. They want to be heard and seen, and they’re curious to hear and see others from places far away. I share that impulse. It’s part of what drives me to travel. But it’s constantly at odds with another impulse, which is to reduce and contain my exposure to a world that’s way too big for me to comprehend.
My brain was designed to inhabit a fairly small social network of maybe a few dozen other primates—a tribe. Beyond that size, I start to get overwhelmed.
And yet here I am in a world of over six billion people, all of whom are now inextricably linked together. I don’t need to travel to influence lives on the other side of the globe. All I have to do is buy a cup of coffee or a tank of gas. My tribe has grown into a single, impossibly vast social network, whether I like it or not. The problem, I believe, isn’t that the world has changed, it’s that my primitive caveman brain hasn’t.
I am fantastic at seeing differences. Everybody is. I can quickly pick out those who look or behave differently, and unless I actively override the tendency, I will perceive them as a threat. That instinct may have once been useful for my tribe but when I travel, it’s a liability.
When I dance with people, I see them smile and laugh and act ridiculous. It makes those differences seem smaller. The world seems simpler, and my caveman brain finds that comforting.
I believe my children will have brains ever so slightly better suited to the vast complexity that surrounds us. They will be more curious, more eager to absorb and to connect.
And I believe when they look into eyes of strangers, what they will see before the differences are the things that are the same."

16 comments:

pve design said...

...standing in line at the Statue of Liberty a few years ago, a man came by and said, "People all over the world drink water, eat eggs and dance"
I loved this when I saw it the first time and now.
pve

Emily said...

great article! i'd not read it before, though i have seen the video many times. and it makes me cry just about every time. love it.

hope you feel better soon, are getting lots of rest...and drinking many cups of lemon/ginger/honey tea! http://www.learningherbs.com/flu_home_remedy_tea.html

Frau said...

I have watched this before and it makes me smile every time! Thanks for posting it. I hope you continue to feel better.

Purple Flowers said...

Thank you for sharing this fantastic video w/beautiful music. It is resonating in my brain and heart, as I type this post. It would be wonderful if everyone could have the privledge of seeing it. Maybe the "hate" would stop or at least be reduced.
Hope you are feeling better everyday.

kks said...

now if that is not uplifting, i don't know what is! lovely way to start the day! thanks for sharing....what a cool guy!
xo
hope your back to feeling like yourself!

Jess said...

What an amazing video!
Thanks for brightening my day, I hope yours is full of healing.

Kwana said...

Beautiful video. Thanks for the smile. We are more the same than we are different.

Megan Gordon said...

Yay-love Matt! These words are really poignant. I passed them on to my sisters and my mom...who's currently wavering on getting a Facebook account and always troubled by the way technology's seemingly bringing us closer together--but really, not. Great way to start my morning (to see this)!

Barbara said...

Nice posting, Lecia. I think it's wonderful you have been able to travel so much-see so much, learn so much.. so many people don't have that opportunity. You see the world in a different way once you have been around it.
I've been able to travel as has my daughter, who has had many more adventures than I.

Each generation lives a different life than the one before it. In my generation doors were left open and the milkman came right in. We kids would go off on our bikes and not come back til suppertime. Not possible anymore. But this generation knows no other way, so this is the norm for them. It often makes me sad because I remember how free and open everyday life was.

Anna said...

awesome!!

nicola@which name? said...

i couldn't get this to play clearly on my computer (sllooooowww today), but i have been thinking about this, too, as we dive slowly, further into music with our daughter. i have been thinking how music is one thing that is universal and translates all languages. dance does, too. thank you for sharing this. technology, while it has its faults, has brought the world a little closer together and made countries far away a little more human to the rest of us.
nicola
http://whichname.blogspot.com

Julia said...

That picture is perfection!

Debra said...

This has made me incredibly happy!
Thank you-I will certainly save this.

Francesca said...

What a happy video! I share the same wish about my kids, and our future generation.

isabelle said...

what a great video, it made my day too !! and I like his words ...

KPiep said...

What's the old saying...we all put on our pants one leg at a time?

Absolutely beautiful!