7.1 Globalization and Localization

Currently there is a strong tendency towards a single amalgam global culture in which these concepts become more and more shared all over the world: the process of globalization. But at the same time we’re exposed to a larger and more pervasive diversity than ever before and that can act as an opposing tendency to globalization and that therefore can be called ‘localization’.

Lowering versus enhancing individual autonomy on a societal level leads to two distinct and opposing behavioral tendencies. Lowering personal autonomy leads to a ‘natural’ tendency that I call ‘cognitive globalization’ and which is a process that weeds out diversity and individual authority and fosters uniformity and group or central authority. The complementary process is called cognitive localization because it fosters diversity and individual authority. A summary of these tendencies is provided in the next table. GlobalLocalID

The two main tendencies that define the relation between geopolitics and cognition
Low Cognitive Autonomy High Cognitive Autonomy
Topic Cognitive globalization Cognitive localization
Main tendencies Cognitive globalization is based on tendencies toward global uniformity (world order) and hierarchical group or central authority Cognitive localization is based on tendencies towards the pursuit of individual opportunities and equality based on individual authority and diversity.
Origin of behavior Based on habits that originate from the internal logic of some global (encompassing) “man-created system" with the purpose to instill order through standardized control-mechanisms that progressively becomes more and more decoupled from local realities. Behavior based on individually appraised habits that are grounded in experiences that is and remains firmly grounded in the realities of the own local (and gradually more global) environment and that work with the with the environment instead of controlling it.
Scope and depth of competence Narrowly focused specialist and acceptance of hierarchy endorsed specialist as authority. Broadly developed knowledge, appreciation of context and holistic approaches. Acceptance of generalist as long as they make sense.
Use of resources Firm and global control over all resources and use of resources assigned to specialist. Free access to local resources and resource use by generalists
Main requirement Globalization depends on the creation, enslavement, and training of cognitively inadequate individuals who crave authority provided stability and invariance to ensure individual competence Localization depends, through education, of free and cognitively adequate individuals, who blossom in the face of opportunity, and do not need authorities to feel competent.
Driving emotion Globalization is anxiety-laden. Fear is the leading emotion and attention is focused on pressing problems that require urgent and isolated solutions. Localization is anxiety-free. Interest is the leading motivation and attention is aimed at broad optimization of all aspects of life.
Political extreme A single hierarchical power structures resulting from a process of destruction, usurpation, or co-optation of competing (power-)structures, to a single global, highly stratified, and highly resource intensive power-structure, which engenders monotony, stultification and slavery. Egalitarian highly diverse societies that value wisdom. Characterized by many transient collaborations are organized as need arises and dispensed with when they have served their need. These engender diversity, growth, and individual freedom.

The last couple of centuries we have seen the dominance of (cognitive) globalization as a driving tendency in history. However as any tendency proceeds to extremes it will progressively generate stronger restoring forces. In this case the opposing tendency is cognitive localization.

Cognitive globalization explains the driving motivational dynamics of economic globalization. One specific property of globalization (both cognitive and economic) is that it creates and relies on a man-created “simplified reality” that requires shallow understanding seems (and on the short run ‘is’) easier to cope with than actual reality that requires a deeper understanding. This is the very reason why cognitive globalization is such a strong undercurrent in history: a subset of reality that is easier to cope with is a magnet for the inadequate. And because on one wants to evaluate him or herself as inadequate the result is an aversion towards anyone who challenges the limitations of the “simplified reality” and as such exposes aspects of the underlying personal inadequacy.

The man-made “simplified reality” can only be maintained at high costs in terms of resources (such as energy) and human sacrifice, which entails high levels of inequality: those who enjoy the “simplified reality” do so at the cost of others. The fundamental differences in which the left and the right hemispheres of our brain understand the world entails that a shared man-made reality can exists as (partial) substitute for actual reality.

The term cognitive globalization refers to the tendency for uniformity as simplification of reality. Something that is globalized (centralized) or localized (spread and shared) is the knowledge to produce intended results. And this links it firmly to the concept of power, defined by Russell [1938][#Russell:1938t] as the ability to produce intended effects. Knowledge to produce intended effects is power.

There are subtle but important differences between beliefs and knowledge. Basically knowledge consists of more or less rigorously reality-tested beliefs that are often shared and collaboratively improved. Consequently behavior based on well real-world validated beliefs — knowledge — is likely to produce intended and reproducible results, while behavior based on unfounded, untestable, or not (yet) real-world validated beliefs is less and often unlikely to produce intended results. Knowledge and real-world validated beliefs empower and unfounded beliefs disempower. Knowledge allows freedom and ignorance leads to slavery.

You cannot keep democracy in ignorance

I don’t worry about our losing a republican government in the United States because I’m afraid of a foreign invasion. I don’t worry about it because of a coup by the military, as has happened in some other places. What I worry about is that when problems are not addressed people will not know who is responsible, and when the problems get bad enough — as they might do for example with another serious terrorist attack, as they might do with another financial meltdown — some one person will come forward and say: ‘Give me total power and I will solve this problem.’

That is how the Roman republic fel. Augustus became emperor not because he arrested the Roman senate. He became emperor because he promised that he would solve problems that were not being solved.

NSA survailance