The world defined in historic times was the distance one could walk in one, two, or a half dozen days. Those who wandered in the desert for weeks, months, even for forty years moved the distance now traveled by car in but one day, at most.
Today, one would hope that given the ease of transportation and the simplicity of intercontinental communication, these barriers to personal experience and knowledge would dissolve with time. Yet, more than one hundred years after the invention of the telephone, car, and air plane, we remain relatively ignorant beyond a distance not greater than that which defined the Biblical world.
Yes, we are aware within minutes, at most an hour of a hurricane which strikes a distant coast line or an explosion on a public transit system. We can repeat facts and figures and sound bytes from the news cast, but we remain disconnected from those who are affected.
No matter how much data we do digest, no matter how many news articles we read, nothing will ever replace face-to-face conversation, the experience of being in the cities and shops and places of worship, in the schools and homes of those we desire to know.
This is the only way we can come to understand another culture. This is the only way we can truly replace our innate desire to categorize and learn to refer to them as one of us.