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A Flat World? of selfies, Me & Myself

Taking selfie pictures is a common sight today. And they post to the world, where they are and how they are, for so many to see what they have done alone without anyone’s help !!!

Is our world changing to a grand panorama of global selfies??? … Rapid and radical changes are happening in the world. It’s at a breath taking speed at which changes are taking place. Before we evaluate the effects of certain changes another change confronts us.

World is flat?

Thomas Friedman, a notable New York Times journalist has written a book “World is Flat- the globalized world in the 21st century’ describing that the world is increasingly getting flattened. The title comes from the concept that ten major forces have converged during the early years of the twenty-first century to create a level playing field in the world, demolishing the system of big communities / corporates in the erstwhile small world to a BIG world of smaller and smaller communities, companies and global big selfies.

The 10 forces are (Summary from Thomas Friedman’s book “World is Flat”)

1. 11/9/89- fall of the Berlin Wall: 11/89: The event not only symbolized the end of the Cold war, it allowed people from other side of the wall to join the economic mainstream and led the way towards building democratic, consensual and free-market governments. The most profound effect, according to Friedman, was that “it allowed us to think about the world differently – to see it as a seamless whole” and enabled us ”to think about the world as a single market, a single ecosystem, and a single community.”

2. 8/9/95- New age of connectivity

-when netscape went public: The Netscape browser made the internet user friendly and accessible to the common user. Earlier only software engineers were able to navigate through the complicated procedures of the Internet. Netscape made the Internet interoperable with other systems making it possible for people to communicate from anywhere using any type of system.

3. Work Flow Software: By connecting applications to applications- the ability of machines to talk to other machines with fewer humans involved. Work Flow software also enabled us to utilize the best talent available regardless of physical location.

4. Up-loading : Community based websites, where we can upload, update info without any lapse of time; Blogging, Uploading news and commentary; Wikipedia : Web encyclopaedia and so on.

5. Outsourcing: started in an innocuous manner with the Y2K crisis, when Indian software professionals were required to do an intensive code review that no one else had the manpower to conduct. Since then, outsourcing has branched out into countless forms of business and attracted a lot of press.

6. Offshoring: When China joined the World Trade Organization in December 2001, foreign companies were assured that standard business practices would be followed under international law. This worked to flatten the world as it attracted manufacturing units to China.

7. Supply-Chaining: Wal-Mart has redefined the art of running a retail store with its state-of-the- art supply chain software and procedures. The company has proved that it no longer matters where you are located in this flat world. Only how well you do your business and satisfy your company goals is important.

8. Insourcing: It is a new form of creating value horizontally, which has been made possible by a flat world. Smaller companies are able to compete with the larger ones in a flat world by taking care of processes that are closely related to their core competency.

9. In-forming: Google and other search engines are the prime example. “Never before in the history of the planet have so many people-on their own-had the ability to find so much information about so many things and about so many 4 other people”, writes Friedman.

10. The Steroids: New technologies such as the ipod, wifi systems, and VoIP are connecting people with other people, with companies and are flattening the world with greater speed than ever before.

Implications of a Flat World (from Thomas Friedman’s book- World is Flat)

1. When the world is flat, whatever can be done will be done. The question is whether it will be done by you or to you

2. Because we are in a world where whatever can be done will be done, the most important competition today is between you and your imagination

3. And the small shall act big. One way, small companies will flourish being quick to collaborate, reach farther, faster, wider and deeper

4. And the big shall act small

5. The best companies will be best collaborators, as in a flat world no single company will be able to master in everything alone.

6. In the flat world, the best companies stay healthy by getting regular chest X-rays and selling the results to their clients

7. The best companies will outsource to win and not to shrink

8. How you do things will matter today than ever

9. When the world goes flat, and you are feeling flattened – reach for a shovel and dig inside yourself. Don’t try to build walls.

So, in the flat world, it’s a mix of good and bad. However, possibilities in the flattening the world can be used to bring everyone up to the same level, or to bring them all down to the same level

Are we, the Church seeing these changes in the world?

Churches and Mission communities typically tend to remain behind the curve on developments in culture and society with evangelicals lagging even further behind. Rarely do we find ourselves at the forefront of discussions about important trends and factors that influence society We have heavily invested in doing things the way they’ve always done them – or even as recently as ten years ago – run the risk of being left behind in the global world. They will find themselves trying to minister to people who don’t exist any more.

Some of the spiritual issues with the flat world

SELF at the centre Stage.

  • ™  The global individual.
  • ™  Entertaining and gratifying self…
  • ™  Busy and Occupied self (that’s always on the move :Upgrade or Perish)

Truth is relative (there are no absolutes)

  • Truth is that suit the personal interest
  • ™ It’s less seeking for truth
  • ™ Truth becomes a casualty as atheism and Panentheism are equally glorified.
  • ™Missing the big picture of truth
 Increasingly de-personalized ™ society
  • More virtual, less real
  • ™  Identity crisis, expressed in lavish self-expressions
  • ™  Its more relationally starved society
  • ™  Need for community is expressed in casual relationships

What can we do?

We need not agree to Thomas Friedman’s description –world is flat. However, we can’t deny the changes in the world with the increasing number of entertaining, self-gratifying global selfies. And as God’s people in this generation, we need to pray and reach out. What can we do?

  • Building our fellowships and missions as CARING COMMUNITIES, than becoming activity oriented… Let our fellowships be known as communities of people who belong to one another and together unto the Lord….
  • Conscious efforts to make our lives more INTERPERSONAL.
  • To promote READING of scripture as a narrative from COVER to COVER to help people to capture God’s big picture for the world – right in our personal lives… LET’s READ THE WORD AS MANY CHAPTERS AS POSSIBLE IN A DAY.
  • Engage the society as a community. Small initiatives (remember it’s a world where the small shall act big) Explore possibilities to build and maintain values in the society as SALT and LIGHT.
  • Seek and capture the sighs of the Spirit in today’s context and pray (Romans 8: 26) (This list is not exhaustive)

Reji Koshy Daniel

The Author Lives in Pune with his wife Betsy and their children Monica and Roshan. An engineer by training, Reji works as the General Manager of an auto ancillary manufacturing plant in Pune. Reji & Betsy are part of the Pune EGF of UESI- Maharashtra. Reji also serves as treasurer of UESI.

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