Saturday, November 18, 2006

Who Wins When the World Grows Small?

The world continues to march toward what the futurist of yesterday correctly labeled the era of globalization. As the internet and global communication systems expand the reach of all people we find the improbable of yesterday playing out in front our eyes. A man in Seattle plays a video game online with a Brazilian homemaker as his opponent. With a few keystrokes a trader of commodities in China buys American corn to be delivered in 2009. On that same day in 2009 citizens of Chile will wear shoes made in China while watching a laser screen made in Japan. We all know these things. They are a part of our globalized world.

I should point out that our working knowledge of this globalization deals with information transfer and the conduct of commerce. What is unknown to most of us is what this shrinking of the earth means to the end place of the world's spiritual integration and our systems of values, the moral code that defines right from wrong.

The values taught in America, and by logical extension, the values taught around the globe are the values of a previous era. The idea that the world is ten years old was a popular notion of the 1990's decade. Our fathers, mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers have been at work teaching the children far longer than the existence of our 10 year old shrinking and net connected planet.

No one can teach us the future. Where we are headed is a matter of reaction and adaptation. I am thinking that we will react and adapt as our personal values and convictions direct us. As the world narrows, teaching can come from distant sources. How could an Italian grandfather teach a 26 year old American in 1976? It would be unlikely, a familial relationship being the most likely manner. Today however a blogging grandfather in Italy can reach a young American in an instant and transfer all of his opinion and belief in a way that was not imagined in 1976. The world shrinks and the pot of information thickens not because we know so much more but because the information is more readily available to the seeker.

A wise observer of these trends would naturally question the process for transferring our values and our spiritual conviction to the generations beneath us.

In France a college professor moves away from his university podium. Clipping the microphone to his lapel he moves closer to his students, delivering a condemnation of the mercenary and evil culture of the United States. He rages against our president and our lifestyle. Careful observation reveals he does so wearing Levi’s. His bottle of Coca Cola remains behind at the podium. The young French instructed to hate march out to burn US flags in the street, ever careful to not get gasoline on their Gap t-shirts.

Muslim children are told Americans are evil and exist to be murdered. The facility in which they are taught is funded by America’s need for oil. It is a need that fuels an economy that outpaces all others and often feeds the world with aid and generous charity.

A Venezuelan leader comes to the United Nations and criticizes the evil empire of America, while his own country faces immense poverty and a divide in rich versus wealthy that makes the debate of America’s similar problem laughable by comparison. A well known American actor Danny Glover hoists the deceiver onto his shoulders, ignoring that his own success and wealth have been granted by the American system.

My own opinion is that the overriding factor in why America is hated is rooted in becoming the one superpower. We are the winner of the Cold War era. Our success and ascension is owed in large measure to our tendency toward hard work, but perhaps more importantly to our generosity and our supporting system of values and spiritual faith.

I also think this opinion of mine is meaningless when viewed in a globalization context. The larger view would expect that the term ‘super power’ will soon be extinct. What will define this globalized world of our grandchildren? I propose that it may be the natural law of good at work in a self sustaining spiritual system. The good will manifest in action. The opposite possibility will occur if hatred, violence and barbarism become the idea embraced by the majority. Many in the world will need to transform their values in order to survive in a unified world.

Who wins when the worlds grows small?

Before you answer, understand that I ask the question not expecting that the answer will be America, or Iran or China or North Korea or Argentina. I ask instead which side wins when communication is global and the world knits itself together, expecting that the answer lies not in the new formation of republics or dictatorships, but rather that a spiritual conviction and teaching will win the day.

Many of you might want to comment that the answer lies in electing Al Gore not George Bush. This misses the larger point of the concept of a smaller world. I believe we are headed elsewhere as we shrink and communicate universal spiritual views. We move in a direction that the Creator may have always had in mind. We move toward a universal grant. A time of decision. A grant of peace on earth or hell on earth as we forge what we believe within a small community that paradoxically spans across the globe.

What can cause us to change our morals and spiritual convictions? Would it be the weakness of what our parents taught us? Is this just as true for a young Muslim boy taught to hate Christians or a young Muslim girl taught that she has no self rights? Can that be overcome? Can an American child be taught to overcome religious bias?

The world grows smaller. What voice will we use? I trust the voice we want the world to hear is the voice that is persistent and soundly grounded in the natural law of the good.
Who owns the strongest will and the strongest voice in a shrinking world? Who owns the strongest spiritual teaching?

Who wins when the worlds grows small?

What will we teach the little ones at our feet?


Jenn said...

Well that's a darn good question.

Something, as you know, I think on daily. I've found one of the themes we work on regularly is "Don't hurt."

It seems pretty basic - and I teach her as the need arises what hurts. Hitting hurts. Pinching hurts. Scratching hurts. Being rude hurts. Not listening hurts. Name calling hurts. Not sharing hurts. Laughing at someone when they're not trying to be funny hurts. There will be more, I'm sure.

But I've pretty much settled on "Don't hurt." I'm sure the lesson will grow.

On the flip side, I have to teach her what to do when she gets hurt...which isn't to hurt back. I'm thinking walk away is where we'll go with that. But I haven't completely figured that one out....

It's a start.

Seven said...

I think that is a wonderful concept, both as you worded it, and certainly wonderful in your personal implementation.
And if all children around the globe were taught not to hurt? As John Lennon said; Imagine.

Anonymous said...

we teach what we are
and not what we know or think
we teach without words
with every breath


I am French, wear Levi's jeans but don't drink Coke except when it's really hot, eat Mac do's once a year to check if it tastes better but feel America is trying now to bridge Atlantean an Lemurian energies. Very difficult's the coming out from duality...for our whole planet...

Let us keep out from the temptation of duality. Enjoying what it here, just around us helps a lot...I personnaly never watch TV nor read way not to join the mass consciousness...and my wife and my cat keep me happy.

Anonymous said...

Oh, seven, what a puzzle. I’m not sure that anyone wins as the world grows smaller. It seems to me we all lose. The joy of individuality, the beauty of enthicity, the cultural richness . . . I find these losses to be sad. No, I don’t think we should be “separate but equal.” I just find it unfortunate that in the process of growing into one seamless planet, we lose some of the richness.

Spiritually, too, we flounder. I find it sadly interesting that as we shrink socially by blending, we build higher walls in our spiritual world. While we bend on other issues, we seem driven into a fearful frenzy at exposure to beliefs dissimilar from our own. As the patchwork quilts of our social worlds begin to blend into tweed, we seem to be coming more of one mind, yet we are unwilling to allow other spiritual paths in the fabric of life. If we would allow ourselves to do so, we can learn from others’ practices without lessening our own spiritual strength. I’ve found that knowledge of Judaism, of Islam, of Buddhism, of various Christian sects, etc., has served to deepen my faith. Therefore, I struggle to understand why so many resist knowledge.

I hope I have taught and will continue to teach by how I live. I try to live so that I’m never afraid of someone delving into my history. I’m not perfect. But I try to be what I hope my children and grandchildren and generations to come will see as a worthy model. This means that I try to be respectful of others, not imposing my views but being open for sharing and allowing new ideas into my palate when they seem just. This is what I hope to pass to the generations.

What voice will we hear? I’m afraid it will be simply the loudest, not necessarily the wisest. I also hope that there are enough gentle, quiet, thoughtful voices to be heard over the loudness.

patti_cake said...

I agree with Jenn. Pretty simple concept, don't hurt but sometimes exceedingly hard to follow. It's something I try to teach my daughter also. Although if she is hurt I don't always want her to walk away. I will teach her that sometimes you have to pick your battles so pick wisely.

Ilias- said...

I like the thought about different folks having the opportunity to overcome vastly different challenges, and the interconnection of us all is a guide or assistance. From my own experience, I know this is true. And quite interesting how many different paths there are. In this frame, everyone wins.. individually.
Thanks Seven.

Jenn said...

Good point Patti. Walking away isn't always the answer. It's just the one I used most recently in my I need to remember there are others.

Enemy of the Republic said...

This is a theory versus praxis blog. Theoretically, we should benefit from a smaller world, in which communication and sharing become second nature all over the globe. But what happens when the sharing isn't equal and one power dominates while the rest resent it? Who is sharing, who is taking and who is profiting? This is not an attack on the United States even though we are guilty of some of this, but it is also my own weariness with getting attacked abroad. Recently I know someone who went to Africa; not only was she the only African American, but the only American, so she had to hear about what a terrible country we are, blah, blah, blah. I saw the flag burned in a protest when I lived in Spain. In a way the world can never be small enough, because even though those of us who've been abroad may not support all that America represents, it is our country and I for one, was deeply hurt by this protest. My friend was sick of answering for President Bush, nor should it be her job. I have yet to ask the Spanish why they put up with Franco for 50 years. In short, what is shrinking is stereotyping or growing is more like it: knowledge of each other as genuine humans has been lost in the equation.

Seven said...

I can always count on you to identify the gap between what formulates in my brain and what is rendered through the keyboard. I started answering you here, then decided to expand it into a post. Maybe later tonight(Thursday) after family friends and turkey.
Meanwhile, God's Peace to You.