I'm going to respond to two different messages at once, as I'm pressed for
Marrian, in LO8399 wrote among many good things:
> The encuring power of those Eighteeenth Century ideals suggests
> that they resonate with something that transcends a lot of other cultural
And If had some very good points and questions in LO8392:
> But to return to Rol and Jefferson it stikes me the other thing Jefferson
> [and some of Rol's other hero figures did] was create structures that
> enabled their chosen values to have a better chance of flourishing and
> that diminished the chance of counter-values succeeding.
> How do we do this for a global future? Earlier discussions on SETs
> suggested a very fair measure of agreement on this list as to what people
> hoped to see in that future.
First, to Marrian's comment. The reason the ideals of the 18th century
have so much appeal to such a culturally diverse group of people is
because they testify of the greatness of the human soul. Our greatness can
only flourish in a free society. . .a society that values the uniqueness
and creativity of every individual.
I'm reminded of a conversation I had with a friend from Kuwait, who was
trapped by the Iraqi invasion in 1990. He said, among many other things,
that American's have no idea the pressures people in that region are under
to comply with the harsh, brutal, and authoritarian rule that dominates
Iraq. People he said were more concerned with "compliance" than they were
with anything else. That certainly isn't an environment that encourages
personal growth. The Declaration of Independence makes resoundingly clear
that people everywhere have something inherently valuable to give mankind.
. .and that seems to have universal appeal (excluding the tyrants who
fight such an ideal). . .
And, as far as If's question: "How do we do this for a global future?
Earlier discussions on SETs suggested a very fair measure of agreement on
this list as to what people hoped to see in that future."
The first step, in my opinion, is to appeal to the beautiful side of human
nature, by stating that we value the individual greatness of people
everywhere. This is an ennobling value that helps many feel a great sense
of dignity. It is, however, insufficient.
Again, I'm reminded of an experience I had flying from DC to Dallas. I was
flying on a L1011 and I was seated in the middle section. On my right was
a man clearly in his early 20's who spoke fluent English (I assumed he was
American). On my left sat a man who was clearly from the mid-east. I asked
the guy on my right, "where are you from?" He said, "Israel. I'm from Tel
Aviv. I just got out of the Army" Well, the guy on my right about jumped
out of his seat. Guess where he was from? You got it! He was Palestinian.
Talk about an interesting conversation!
I learned something that day. . .something I'll never forget. Each of
these people had deeply ingrained values and beliefs about each other's
culture and behaviors, and there was very little willingness to reconcile
them or to even look at them from one another's viewpoint. Their values
clashed -- head on -- and the idea of peace between their two people
seemed to be equally repulsive to both.
That brings up a question: Will we ever achieve the idea of a global
community, where values are shared across such diverse cultures? Should
such an idea be a concern? How will we get people from various cultures
that clash so harshly to even agree to a peaceful coexistence?
I don't know If. . .I wish the answers we're obvious. This is something
we've wrestled with for centuries. . .and the answers don't seem to be any
Benjamin B. Compton ("Ben") | email: firstname.lastname@example.org Novell GroupWare Technical Engineer | fax: (801) 222-6991
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