ALTERNATIVE WORLDS: Virtualization of Reality and the Global Framework of Rising Social Movements


Societies founded in traditional vertical “oral” transmission of culture found the outside world threatening as a potentially disruptive yet all pervasive source of uncontrollable change. Indeed, the basic theory of social movements and structural transformation of systems rises out of these basic “traditional” considerations of religious based, inherently conservative worlds.

Societies founded upon the rise of diagonal “broadcast” transmission of culture from one or a few to a great many, are societies that substituted tradition with convention, and essentially replaced religion with socio-structural ideologies framed mostly in terms of the super-organic “nation-state.”

In these societies, the threat of change arose not only from patterns of deviance leading to radicalization from within in the competition for authority and power derived from so many different multiple sources, but also from the geo-politically competitive threats of other nation-states often sharing a common unsettled border or competing within a larger world system for finite resource pools and reservoirs.

Now, in a post-historical, posit-ideological global world order in which socio-structural interdependencies within a global system renders state and non-state operators and competitors increasingly aware of their ties of mutual interdependence and common stakes in a concept of the global commons as a worldwide resource ocean, the threat in a globally horizontalized society comes not from the break down of national identities directly, but from the competition of infinite alternative virtualized realities and alternative plausible worlds that arise in a structurally open global society.

Ideologies become flipped on their heads in which what matters most are the party and partisan policies and platforms that control elections and determine the reigns of control of government in a global context. The competition is for credibility, control over global change and development, and in the context of increasing finite resource scarcity and rising human resource demand, the reemergence of a “survival of the fittest” collective sense of virtual reality running into the absolute wall of actual world limitations.

With rising social-global environmental circumscription, we will come back full circle to a world not dominated by a single modern dictator or political-economic tyrant or demagogue, but rather by the increasing rise of the war of all against all played out daily on the Internet and in the World Wide Web with false promises of utopian enrapturing and salvation and future unlimited prosperities.

The rise of these virtualized alternative worlds—half real and half make-believe—will challenge basic identity and socialization processes that venture to radical extremes beyond the normal boundaries of the self in traditional or conventional identity processes.

Sense of solidarity and belonging to traditional or conventional constructs may become increasingly challenged by new forms of identity and socialization processes that hold for the individual equivalent in-dubious or non-discrepant subjective inevitability and sense of plausibility of social reality.

Traditional and conventional forms of solidarity and authority will thus yield itself to the contagion of crowds and the narcissism of individual ego among like-minded people who may come from around the world.