I just read a very good article in the NYT by one of my favorite contributors David Brooks.
The article is here: The New Humanism
In short, his article speaks about our emphasis on measurements, metrics and reasoning while ignoring our emotions, human bonds and the like. If you haven’t clicked the article, here is a paragraph where you can obtain the idea.
“I’ve come to believe that these failures spring from a single failure: reliance on an overly simplistic view of human nature. We have a prevailing view in our society — not only in the policy world, but in many spheres — that we are divided creatures. Reason, which is trustworthy, is separate from the emotions, which are suspect. Society progresses to the extent that reason can suppress the passions.”
Read the article if you like, but it is not the main premise which interests me. Instead it is certain defined qualities that I think might define a Global Citizen very well. These are things I have written about before and it is nice to see that others are aware of their value even if they are not currently prized in our society.
Let’s take a look:
1. Attunement: the ability to enter other minds and learn what they have to offer.
This is a skill that most people tend to have little, if at all in their character. In most of my posts I try to help people see the other point of view, mostly from a cultural/international perspective. In fact, the most popular post in this blog Global Citizen vs. Call of Duty: Black Ops does just that.
I try to get people to understand how certain foreigners would view this game very negatively. Yet, in our culture and media there was nothing but praise for this game. Sadly, I could not find one article that raised the same points I do. The point being, that glorifying war and killing other nations citizens, even in a game, is shameful. I simply cannot understand how an entire population can not even conceive this.
The lesson is very simple and actually taught to Kindergarteners all the time. “How do you think that makes him feel Bobby?” “Would you like someone to do that to you Sally?”
How quickly adults forget and become so absorbed in themselves that their entire mindset simply resolves around them?
As for me, I do understand how people of certain other cultures feel and am quite shocked by the lack of understanding when returning to my own culture.
2. Equipoise: the ability to serenely monitor the movements of one’s own mind and correct for biases and shortcomings.
Again, something I have written about before in my post Mind Control. Simply reading the title it might sound a bit outlandish. Yet, it sounds outlandish because it is not something we focus on in our culture. Instead, it would seem we focus on the exact opposite.
Our media, our daily interactions are all filtered towards things we already believe. When we hear a dissenting opinion we immediately formulate counter arguments without letting a single shred of possibility into our heads, that the opinion could be correct. It is almost like we are trained to do this.
How often have we hard “Keep an open mind,” or “Think outside of the box?” Again, we do the exact opposite.
For me, I find it very valuable to seek out other opinions when I find I’m becoming too entrenched in my own. I find these opinions in higher level magazines and publications such as The Economist and International Affairs. I have never heard a well thought out opinion in most mainstream media outlets unless it be PBS.
3. Metis: the ability to see patterns in the world and derive a gist from complex situations.
– Regarding this one, you will see that I often debate myself. In the forum, I did this just today regarding Libya. I start out very frustrated that the USA is not taking quicker action on Libya. I read a dissenting article and then had to retract a bit.
I find it sad that most of the opinions today believe they are 100% correct and everyone “sticks to their guns” as they say. The moment you believe you are correct about everything is the moment you should realize you really do not understand everything very well. The more I read, travel, meet others, the more I realize most situations fall into a gray area.
4. Sympathy: the ability to fall into a rhythm with those around you and thrive in groups.
This is a skill that Global Citizens recognize. A true Global Citizen is a chameleon who can blend in, become like those around him/her. You put everything you think you know away in a vault in your mind so as not to enter your new surroundings with preconceived biases. You observe, learn from those around you and then when comfortable, try to reconcile them with your previous mindset.
This might be very hard for the majority of people to accomplish, especially older people set in their ways. However, with technology and the ease of travel, it is my hope that we will come to understand each other across all boundaries and borders. I do not give much hope to this happening anytime soon, but perhaps in another 400 years if we do not all destroy each other first.
5. Limerence: This isn’t a talent as much as a motivation. The conscious mind hungers for money and success, but the unconscious mind hungers for those moments of transcendence when the skull line falls away and we are lost in love for another, the challenge of a task or the love of God. Some people seem to experience this drive more powerfully than others.
This one is perhaps the most important. At what point are we going to stop rationalizing our hatred and simply start loving one another? I believe another word that could be used for this is bliss.
It is taught to us in most major religions, it is understood to be a valuable quality, so why do the majority of people choose to ignore it?
Well, that is all for tonight.