Thursday, May 05, 2005
What is the meaning of national belonging and cultural authenticity in the Age of Globalization? Being true to oneself might indeed be the best strategy for coping with this Age, or any other age for that matter. But how can one be true to a divided fragmented self?
Obviously, this will not be easy. Still the mere acknowledgement of the existence of this problem sets one apart from the prevalent intellectual scene around here, where everyone seems sure, acts sure, or is required to be sure, of who he/she happens to be. You don’t even need to give an answer here to be a heretic.
But, once you begin to dabble with potential answers, you become more than just a heretic, more than a simple outsider, you become an outcast. This is actually quite the refreshing thought, when you think about it.
As members of this dismembered collective that is humanity, I don’t think we can be any better or worse than we are at any given moment – there will always be some who are at war, while the rest enjoy some relative peace, there will always be some who live in famine or affluence, while most live slightly above or below the comfort levels, and there will always be people preaching moderation, while others preach hate or isolation and passivity. This has always been the nature of things. This is as good as it will get for this “dismembered collective.”
Whether globalization will prove the end of this dismemberment or a mere furtherance thereof, along similar and different lines, is still up in the air, for now. Albeit, I believe, it will actually mean both, human nature being what it is.
As such, people who continue to reject the “outside” world under whatever pretext or set of pretexts are not simply waving their right to influence it, they are compromising their very ability to influence their own “internal” worlds a well.
For the “outside” has long let itself in, and though it hasn’t done so in a surreptitious manner, there are those who still live in denial and who will themselves ignorant of the consequences of this development. Rape victims are a hard lot to handle, especially men. And what is this region of ours but a male victim of a brutal rape.
No, our introduction into the modern world did not come as a rude awakening, but as rape.
Be that as it may, the only measure of goodness and progress that I can believe in is how good we can be to each other. Thousands of years of human history have elapsed, but this little axiom remains the only reasonable measure for all moral conduct.