• Clayton Morell

Where Do We Even Start?

Do you believe that other people have the same value as yourself? Sure, individual people and cultures are different from one another, but we still operate on similar sets of instincts. Do these individual differences in circumstance justify the realities of legal inequality and violence so many people face?

We live in the most peaceful and prosperous time period in human history, but suicide rates are getting higher. There are a lot of caring people in this world, but sometimes it seems as if a powerful majority of us are willing to diminish the lives of others for personal gain. We’re all guilty to different degrees. Every time you walk into a grocery store or shop for clothes, you’re potentially participating in a global marketplace that ruins lives and ruins the environment. Complicity is built into the entire premise of our everyday lives.

Large-scale competition and conflict is somewhat faceless. Checks and balances of government are strained by hyperpartisanship. Innocent people languish in jails and prisons belonging to the land of the free. The war on drugs has torn peoples’ futures apart, and preyed upon minority groups and the poor. Fear and ignorance dominate our policy debates. Terrorism, arms deals, and proxy wars are leaving behind a shameful trail of blood. There exists opportunity in globalization, but greed sees markets fighting for human dignity, while ultimately falling short, leaving many people caught in a race to the bottom.

It all feels overwhelming, but why does this have to be the case?

Again, do you believe that other people have the same value as yourself? What is it that you really want to do with your life? Why do you want to do that? When you die and someone else is born, that new person will inherit the used world that you left behind. Maybe they’ll live a similar life to your own. Somewhere along the line, someone will probably rethink some of your thoughts word for word. They’ll die too, and so on.

Recently, advances in technology have allowed humanity to expand beyond historically normal limits. There is much to be desired and discovered, but millions upon millions of people no longer have to worry about survival in the ways that their predecessors did.

Since 50,000 BCE (the beginning of the upper Paleolithic period) there have been an estimated 105 billion human births. As of 2019, humanity has encountered it’s first opportunity to self actualize.

Since the beginning of civilization, legal frameworks have helped defined the parameters for human purpose. Today, many countries have their own constitutional guidelines for the concept of rights.

After witnessing World Wars I and II, people all over the world had to contend with the countless deaths lifetimes of suffering they witnessed. Though the United Nations is subject to controversy today, its Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was a pioneering attempt at creating a legally-binding platform for human dignity. This document has two treaty forms: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (CESCR)

The United States Senate ratified the ICCPR in 1992, and therefore the provisions of the ICCPR are a part of US federal law. Surprisingly, very few people holding public office are educated about this. The reality of internationally-scaled human rights initiatives is that everything is toothless without widespread knowledge and support.

The preamble to the ICCPR states,

“... the individual, having duties to other individuals and to the community to which he belongs, is under a responsibility to strive for the promotion and observance of the rights recognized in the present Covenant.”

A culture of human rights starts wherever people put in the effort to educate themselves, and are not afraid to act upon the issues relevant to their local communities.

Tallahassee is an ideal location to explore and practice the most impactful applications of media. The information we choose to create and share as a society ultimately determines the ideals we collectively uphold.

Trust and functionality in both private and public institution separates the world’s greatest powers from failed states. In the United States, people on both sides of hyperpartisan conflict agree on one thing - we need to do better.

Media - not the government - decides what we know about the world around us. It sets the context for the way we view ourselves. As media evolves through technology, and we have the task of figuring out how to harness the power.

Media production and consumption has never been easier and more widespread than it is right now, but the media industry as a whole is shrinking. Isn't that all a bit strange?

A fair amount of today’s informational content is garbage. There’s a very small audience for meaningful content. Our culture is caught in a cycle of undervaluing education, and overconsumption of depthless entertainment. There is an overwhelming need for innovative messaging and marketing in media.

Some theoretical physicists hypothesize that the physical universe goes through cycles of expansion and collapse. It's called the Big Bounce theory. The media universe is shrinking, but its reinvention and expansion may be just around the corner.

TogetherFSU is attempting to make a culture of human rights a reality. We’re starting from the ground up. A culture for human rights starts here, with you.