Contextual Benefits

Context provides us with the ability to see relations between situations. Distinction comes in the form of “this versus that”, or the relations that exist between a situation in immediate relation and a different single or series of related events. Take for consideration the late-Winter snow storm which hit Northeastern Ohio last evening. Taken out of context this is a big story- news reports showcased power outages, car accidents and a collection of human misfortunes as a result of this event.This is out of context, removed from the other stories of the day that recalibrate our considerations of importance.

Place the Ohio snowstorm in context of the other news of the day. Upon hearing of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the Ohio snowstorm quickly becomes minor. When we see a big event in relation to a bigger event a new distinction is created. Our brains have an uncanny ability to qualify experiences and react accordingly.

How will an expanded awareness of the world affect this ability to contextualize? Certainly an expanded knowledge of the world at large will create a situation where major events take hold of the global consciousness. With expanded awareness, reaching indeed to a global level, we will see an greater focus on the problems of the world. Technology again removes fragmented realities and clusters those with technology into an amalgamation of concern.

There are benefits here- unified responses and the pooling of resources can bring the entire planet to assistance. Beyond this immediate function there are benefits to an increase in awareness. Though more simple, just the ability to be aware and share information creates a community that can innovate and create systems of prevention.

Pitfalls exist as well- a reduction of fragmentation leads to a dismissal of certain smaller issues. The snow storm of Ohio was certainly a big story to those who were injured or hurt as a result. As we contextualize we filter and disregard big stories that should receive response. We are too limited to respond to the plethora of issues in our world.

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