Year 1, week 1, Monday 10 / 10 / 11
Sometimes I feel as if the engineering of our Global Village has been trusted in the hands of people who have no clue as to where we’re heading. Not that I believe I could do any better, but I do expect those in the driving seat to make a difference. I have always looked upon globalization as a positive process, at least culturally and humanely speaking ; what a wonderful projection that of a world globally connected, sharing knowledge, ideas, energy, resources, growth, just about everything! And what can be said about the fascinating wonders made possible by technological progress, enabling humanity to cross continents and oceans in a click at any point and time of the day. Do we truly realize to what extent we all benefit from these developments? I remember the times when, as a child, I was globetrotting with my family. How I wish I had then been able to keep in touch as easily as is it made to be these days. Instead, I had to rely on the good old post office. Months before I got the reply to a letter of mine. And how many friends, especially globetrotting fellows, lost along the way. It may seem foolish but it’s not, take my word for it. There are many other and surely more important achievements, namely, distant learning, bringing educational opportunities to the most remote places on earth. This is why I guess, I have always been so fascinated with communication technologies. They have the power to break any barrier down and above all distance related issues (I will deliberately disregard digital divide and other similar questions that may now arise for it is not this week’s focus).
Global Village? Yes please! Let us connect with the rest of the world and have enriching social, educational, cultural and professional experiences! But I must admit that some things leave me wondering. For instance, can anyone explain to me why we export Spanish garlic to Italy and vice versa, when both countries are perfectly self sufficient on this specific production? it goes beyond my understanding. There is no qualitative or quantitative issue at stake. Have you ever seen anyone comparing the taste and texture of garlic cloves originating from different nations, as we do, for instance, with wine? I do understand the economic and strategic national relevance of the import-export industry but, do we need to push garlic just for the sake of it? It is not so much for the garlic as for the lack of purpose, direction and vision I sense. Please keep your garlic, we’re producing tons of it. Let’s focus on what we need and let everyone contribute to intelligent, meaningful exchanges; it should be our prime motivational input!
What is the point in wasting time, energy and above all precious resources that could well be invested otherwise. It’s not as if we lack opportunities to do so. In Italy thousands of earthquake victims are still homeless and have been for decades. We should focus on what is necessary before we move any further. It would also help us understand and get to know our neighbors much better, allowing us to build on solid grounds. We need insight, understanding and purpose. A good dose of local cultural and social awareness too. Projects implemented without a real purpose inevitably will have to end leaving all parties involved baffled and stranded. We strive to make things happen no matter what, anything in the name of “Appearance”. Let us think about how to keep it up as we go along. No use in worrying too much about anything as, if need be, it can be undone or taken somewhere else anytime. Is that so? If I were you I wouldn’t take that chair for granted sir, it could disappear from beneath anytime!
Who benefits from this all? Soon we’ll be ordering pizza from a nearby nation and the powers that be will see to it that that pizza is delivered faster than the delivery service we have round the corner would be able to, and it will be cheaper too. Cause this is what is really going on. Come on, you couldn’t fool a child now! How can this be? We produce and live at the speed of light. Sorry, I forgot. Now we’ll be pressed to perform at a pace nearing that of neutrinos; wouldn’t that suit us just fine? Take that pizza from Naples to New York tonight and be back by this morning. Correct, “this morning”, not a typo mistake!
We have a big picture in mind, a great one. It tells the story of an interconnected and interdependent humanity. I love it, I really do and I believe in it. I know it will bring about major positive changes. Meanwhile though, as we work at it, could we put some thought and insight into the process please? Planning, careful planning is what we need to build a computed and sustainable development, growth. Being interdependent and competitive is fine but too much of it with complete disregard to developing much needed policies, losing sight of what we really want to accomplish, will just kill our dream. Because it is a common dream we are talking about, kind of everybody’ s baby, correct? We have so many beautifully finished examples from which to draw inspiration. Take for instance sports, the arena of competitiveness by excellence. Each game has its definition in time and space: start line, game area, finish line and no you may not break the racket over your opponent’s head nor trip your fellow runner or put the ball in with a remote control! We know when and how it begins and then when to call it quits: “game over”. The good news is that, the game doesn’t really end there. We have continuity, of purpose, intent and method. The same attention should be applied to the engineering of our Global Village and even more so as it involves human lives. Reaching for a finish line at a time and providing for continuity, by drawing a course of action that will have been master minded beforehand. Only then may we start taking it up a level. Do we not design specific circuits for car racing? and, do we not improve security measures every time we come across a crack in the system?
We are so interdependent that we should feel obliged to proceed with due care and insight. If it were not for some prodigal and occasional charitable gesture the drama unfolding before our eyes today would be even more so devastating. We may not fail. We owe it to ourselves. There aren’t enough life boats to save everyone. Failure would lead to disaster, like having to throw off board just as much weight (in terms of lives) as needed to ensure the boat (with very few elected ones onboard), stays afloat.
The point I wish to make today is that our Global project is being played out as if were a monopoly game board. So what’s new? Nothing. As I mentioned before I don’t know any better but it takes a fool not to notice that everyone’s been playing on their own single board. There is no meeting point! We have different scenarios, played at different levels, with one big international stage made up of just as many disconnected local scenarios. This is crazy! It spells one word: collision! Might as well place a nuclear plant on a volcano slope!
We need global awareness and policies; and we need solid grounds to stand on. There cannot be true development or growth without thoughtfulness and responsibility, without acceptance of the function and role each one of us has to take on locally and globally.
Passion, enthusiasm, belief and pureness of intent. These are the ingredients needed for a successful achievement. It is just not sufficient to do things in a sterile way, following steel like rigid procedures channeled through dark grey tunnels. We know it, and I fail to understand why I have to acknowledge on a daily basis such widespread disregard towards the greatest lecture on offer to mankind: History. The dominating trend, whichever the area (arts, politics, business, economics…) is that of obstructing and killing creativity, productivity, anything and anyone who threatens mediocrity! This happens when we lose sight of our purpose in life. If I look at the global picture from down here, so to speak my own national context, I wonder how we may even think of reaching global unity when there is no such local culture in the first place. Patching here and there is our own specialty. Real Maestros!
Ideas travel much faster than the human mind is able to assimilate change. Or should I say “willing” to assimilate change.
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