Today, however, it is no longer so. This is partly due to the fact that with the growth in the world’s population, those spaces have been filled by people. Most importantly, however, the modern means of communication (both transportation and the media) no longer allow us to consider as legitimate the status of “empty space” and “no-man’s land” which we attributed to such places in the past, thus excluding them from the right to wellbeing. Today our exterior is our neighbor’s interior, as a result of which, neither one of us knows where to dump their refuse or export their wretchedness. Today the misery and conflicts which break out far from our borders are no longer kept in check and isolated by buffer spaces. They instead spread and rapidly invade all spaces, including our own.
Perhaps for the very first time, not only ideology but events are forcing us to learn that we pay a very dear price for wretchedness and poverty, no matter how remote they are form us. We are all responsible for the physical and moral wretchedness of all human beings.
To what extent do our educational endeavors, whether public or private, secular or religious, formal or informal, help us to gain full awareness of and take on these new responsibilities? Education in citizenship, education in sharing, respect for diversity and responsible autonomy are all absolutely necessary to cope with these new tasks. To what extent are they a part of our educational strategies?
The compression of time
The development of the media and new information technologies (NITs) has also produced another effect. It has sped up time, the time which sets the pace of our daily life. We work, communicate and rest at a quicker pace, and have thus eliminated the breaks and “idle time” which served to separate between our different activities. It was precisely that slower pace which enabled us to catch our breath, take stock, take a distance, reflect and ultimately think.
With NITs, any event, even the most remote in terms of place and time, is reported to us within seconds, if not in real time. Consequently, in our perception of world events everything seems to be happening at the same time, here and now: everything is part of the present.
But there is more. Due to the intrinsic characteristics of contemporary media, which are increasingly subjected to marketing rules, an event is not only reported immediately, but it also becomes entertainment. Everything turns into a spectacle, all events are standardized to fit the same spectacular mold. The live report of torture or murder are considered to be on par with a sports victory or a fashionable event; everything takes place in the present without any breaks or pauses to indicate transitions.
Again, due to the intrinsic needs of media, an event is never reported on its own, but always in conjunction with a commentary: a press release, a contradictory discussion, a news report, or a statement by a politician. In particular, television talk shows have become very widespread because they are the cheapest form of entertainment. They are increasingly concerned with current events, have taken the place of personal critical reflection and instead propose a form of rhetorical debate which also contributes to creating a uniform world and standardized judgments. Whether the topic of discussion is infanticide, a cooking recipe, war or a soccer game,