Global Homogeneity Has Made The World Boring And Ruined Adventure

  • Donovan Nagel
    Written byDonovan Nagel
    Donovan NagelTeacher, translator, polyglot
    🎓 B.A., Theology, Australian College of Theology, NSW
    🎓 M.A., Applied Linguistics, University of New England, NSW

    Applied Linguistics graduate, teacher and translator. Founder of The Mezzofanti Guild and Talk In Arabic.
  • Read time1 mins
  • Comments5

In today’s (rather dark and nefarious-looking) video, I share something I’ve been reflecting on for quite a while as a new parent which has made me increasingly sad the more I realize it.

Here it is:

We are at a point in history where we have discovered literally every place, people and culture on this earth.

This is really the first time in human history that we can honestly say we’ve dominated every corner of our planet. We can look at any square inch of ground in any country on any continent at any time of the day with a simple swipe of our finger (e.g. Google Maps).

Nothing is new anymore.

Think about that for a moment.

Even for people growing up just a few decades ago there was at least some sense of awe and wonder about remote places and people. There was an appreciation of the “otherness” of what lies beyond our own boundaries.

I just don’t know if my son’s generation and onward will ever fully experience that. No child in future will ever aspire to discover the unknown because there is no unknown (space excluded obviously).

Technology has made a guy living in a remote town far away no different to the guy living down the street.

The implications for language learning and cultural immersion

Those who favor this trajectory believe that it’s helping cultural and linguistic diversity.

In fact, the complete opposite is true.

The more the world becomes interconnected, the more homogeneous and boring we all start to become.

The world becomes dull.

In the video above, I ask the question:

“How will this affect language learning decades from now?”

I think this is a really important and relevant question to start asking.

What are your thoughts?

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Donovan Nagel
Donovan Nagel - B. Th, MA AppLing
I'm an Applied Linguistics graduate, teacher and translator with a passion for language learning (especially Arabic).
Currently learning: Greek


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I disagree on certain points. I think understanding, true understanding, is an endeavor that will always be next to impossible. Think how hard it is for one to understand themselves as individuals! I think a lot of the initial awe is a very superficial level of understanding difference. The first couple times I travelled, things took me by complete surprise. Now, very few things take me by complete surprise. Funnily enough, now I am feeling increasingly confused! I have read mountains of books, talked to incredible amounts of different people. However, the unknown is still there. I think the problem is that actually diving into the unknown and doing adventure of discovery is really difficult. It requires hours and hours and hours and bearing down and thinking, reading and exploring. This takes simply a large amount of time. Also, it is an investment in which very few are willing to make. Seriously, how many people (including most polyglots) actually learn languages to a deep level? How many of those who learn to a serious level learn the history, culture, etc to a deep level (and yes, that does requires years of library work as well as years of in-person experience)?

I think to claim that adventure is dying is an extremely shallow critique. Sure, things may be turning seemingly similar. But, the depth of human experience is still to great to be turned into one. I think this fear actually comes from people NOT putting in adequate time and fully appreciating the research process. Ask any PhD or scholar, knowledge takes a lot of time.

Now, if you are debating the “sense” of discovering the other, the exotic, the different, then I think that is a very different topic. Yes, things are becoming more similar and there is not the wow factor. I do think though that the true important stuff was always subtle and maybe now we are just having to face that. Hell, maybe this is good for some because it makes them ask that question, what is the point? How are these folks different from me if they all watch the same TV as myself?

Like always, I think certain things are becoming more complicated and others are becoming less. I also think all adventure has always just been personal exploration and to feel as if personal exploration and discovery is at risk I think is just not true (and if it were, it would be incredibly tragic).

Just my two cents!



I don’t think it’s primarily the fact that the world is more ‘interconnected’ that cultures are becoming more homogeneous and languages are dying out. It’s not primarily English that is killing most of the world’s languages (except of course in places like Canada, Australia and the US), it’s mostly the official or ‘national’ languages of each nation-state. In that sense I think it has to do with the distribution of power, state policy and the different levels of prestige attached to each culture that is primarily causing this.

You are an Australian -- you’re then aware of Arnhem Land, where people regularly speak an upward of three languages and have as far as we know done so for centuries. These communities have long been in contact with each other but somehow they haven’t assimilated each other despite the cross-pollination. Why is that?

Donovan Nagel

Donovan Nagel

I don’t disagree. Interconnectedness is not a natural phenomenon - it’s very much engineered.

Re: your question on the indigenous: people all around the world throughout history have naturally resisted “cross-pollination” and still do. You can be in direct contact or indeed, right beside another group without that group exerting influence, power or change over your own group.



Thanks for the interesting post.

When travelling seeing I’ve seen how speaking English can impact someone’s life - evidently economically. But, I’ve thought about this for some other reasons.

How the culture and politics are informed and exchanged via English (e.g. US hegemony to Latin America) more easierly now via the internet.

Will the learning of English, or another lingua franca ( perhaps Spanish and/ or Chinese) remain the prerequisite for speakers of other languages, or will instantaneous translation enable such speakers to have more agency ( & to cheaply and quickly communicate) not to defer to learning a major language, unless for a select few who need to finesse grammatically the language without computer aids?

"The limits of my language mean the limits of my world."
- Ludwig Wittgenstein
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