Our Crowded and Connected World

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Our world is a crowded and hyper-connected place and it is becoming more crowded and hyper-connected every minute. With continuous messaging through media outlets emphasizing conflict and desperately competing for our attention, our world seems full of struggles over resources and power and struggles between competing beliefs and ideologies. The challenges of our world call us to evolve as a species in ways that never before have been necessary: not in our physical attributes, not in our emotional capacities, not in our mental capabilities, and arguably not even in our use of technology to master the environment and harness its resources. But rather, the challenges of our world call us to evolve in the ways that we relate to each other as fellow inhabitants of Earth and, by extension, how we relate to all living things on our planet.
 
In a crowded and hyper-connected world, interaction with other people is constant in your daily experience. It takes place in many forms – face-to-face, phone, letter, press release, media reports, email, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, and so on. It takes place on many levels: person-to-person (one-to-one), person-to-group, group-to-group, political party-to-political party, government-to-government. Every interaction is a negotiation. You might not think of it as a negotiation when you are in it, but fundamentally, when you act or communicate in any way that affects another person, you are negotiating with them. You are seeking to affect and influence their behavior or perception of you, and whether you connect with them or not; often they, in turn, are seeking to affect and influence your behavior, your connection or perception of them, as well. Many of your interactions may seem trivial, purely in the nature of simple exchanges of information or money for goods, but they are negotiations nonetheless–and your most intimate exchanges, though you might refer to them as conversations, these too are negotiations.
 
The critical issue for us as a species is how we negotiate, how we connect, how we relate. The premise of ORANS is that how we negotiate, and more importantly, who we are as we negotiate life with others, is at the root of our desperate realities and our conflicts large and small. It also is the source of a great hope we have for the future and a way we can thrive in our crowded and hyper-connected planet.

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