Once the association of any particular politics is removed, Jameson's idea of cognitive mapping still provides an interesting concept to ponder. It is essentially a method of connecting the local sphere to the global sphere. The local in this case is the individual who is trying to situate him/herself in their environment (the global). While reading this article, I immediately thought of a current ABC show, Flashforward. This show is premised around a plot where the world experiences a global blackout for over two minutes. During this blackout, everyone has a vision of what they will be doing six months from now. Of course, once everyone wakes up, mass panic ensues. However, to see why this reminds me of Jameson’s article one has to look at how the authorities react to the global blackout. They decide to create a web database called Mosaic, where everyone can post the details of their visions. The hope is that collectively everyone's visions can piece together the future and understand it a little bit better. Mosaic really is a cognitive map in action.
An actual map is not exactly what Jameson is referring to, but instead he is suggesting the emergence of a global consciousness. The question is then: Can digital (new) media create this global consciousness? Unfortunately, I do not think digital media is the answer. It can facilitate this global unification but it cannot force its existence. One of the reasons I am doubtful of the achievement of cognitive mapping through digital media stems from the fact that the global sphere depends on the individual. Yet one has to consider the incredible personalization that is possible with digital media. What then are the incentives for the individual to leave this comfort and expand to the global?