I love social media, I truly do. As an Aspie, it has been a wonderful way to get closer to people without the difficulties I have in normal social situations. I've met people I never would, shared great ideas, gotten closer to people who I may have just barely known otherwise. Yet, those who know me know I go against the grain when it comes to the idea that we can form community from social media alone.
My issue has always been based on issues of how much we share with each other in these places and the types of connections we form. We tend to gravitate towards the extremes, towards those who share views close to our own, or in some cases towards conflict with those on far poles from us. It seems that many people just form pseudo-communities based around ideological or demographic similarities. There's nothing wrong with these relationships, but if you read my previous blog posts you will know that I don't think these things can be the basis for community as defined from a Human Communication perspective.
Well, now I'm adding a new piece to this. I've spent some time today reading and researching on the idea of a global/cosmic consciousness (or 6th sense). In studying this, I begin to really see patterns that show that we "think" with some idea of each other, that we don't just react but that we connect to each other and all of creation with some commonality of thought or common desire. A "God Spark" if you wanted to make it theological. But studies show that the level of connection over distance is significantly weaker than that of people who are closely connected through local communities that interact physically. Much like magnetism, the closer we are to one another, the more this global thought is shared. These are not common opinions, but emotional responses and physical subconscious reactions. This is not saying we can make each other think alike, rather that we share a deep emotional, maybe even spiritual connection. It is the feeling we're being watched, it is these moments that come from a physical experience, not just one through interaction of ideas (social media's base). Our emotions are not just reactions, but do seem linked to something bigger and greater than individual moments.
It also makes me wonder about myself as an Aspie, I really want to find some research about the subconscious activity of people with Asperger's syndrome. Some of this research tonight on human emotions and how we understand them individually and in community seems to indicate to me it is those connections that act differently in Aspies. We don't read faces well, we don't act according to social norms, is it possible that my extreme logic is something connected to being somehow disconnected from the global consciousness. Yet, studies also show that some Aspies have a higher level of premonition than normal, so this would say we're still connected but less reactive and more proactive. So I want to ask: do we move outside the collective consciousness or do we just connect differently? Regardless of this answer: How does that effect how we view and understand God?
All of this put together makes me wonder if my response to social media is based on personal experiential evidence, or if there is something real that social media can't recreate? I am convinced that there is something more to physical contact that even the best connections through electronics cannot recreate. For that reason, I plead for those who feel alone to seek community in places like churches where not everyone thinks the same. I plead for churches to be those places, places where we can walk faithfully seeking and discerning, not being indoctrinated and conformed to ideological ideals. I hope that what we find out about our commonality as humanity, be it a global consciousness or not, is the key to what brings us together into community. For it is that commonality, that "image of God" in all of us, that truly can change the world.