Session 5 - Above All Differences

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As we have said, lately we've been sensing that the connections among us cannot continue as before. We can see it very clearly in Europe. On the one hand, it is a developed continent, but on the other hand, it is the most segregated place. There are internal inconsistencies existing between countries, misunderstandings, and mistrust because each country feels that they are the most special, which prevents them from coming together in the feeling that they all belong to the same singular and unified system.


This is interfering with the development of all the countries in the common market. They must realize that it's not enough to keep a common market merely for economic needs, but rather, it is important to unite the countries through a much closer and intimate connection in all levels of life, so this is where they're having difficulties. For now the EU countries don't understand that they must be closer in spirit, too, in perception of their common situation, and realize that they will not be able to keep functioning without each other. Therefore, the nearly 30 EU nations have to learn through integral education that interdependence among them is vitally necessary.


The problem is that although decision makers, politicians, scientists, members of the middle class, as well as common people understand the situation, they are still reluctant to give up their individual national pride (nationalism), for the greater good of everyone together. This doesn't at all mean that people have to relinquish their local way of life, their habits, their culture, and their rich customs and folklore. Instead, we need to celebrate and appreciate each others cultural richness and rise above any and all differences we perceive in order to connect with each other in mutual guarantee and responsibility for one another. Even though we may perceive that we are different, we can still get along, just like we all must get along in one big family.


Admittedly, this may not be simple. For instance, I have my parents and so does my wife. They have other children, our brothers and sisters, and we also have our own children. Yet, somehow we must be considerate of one another and to take everyone into account, since for better and for worse in healthy families, we depend on one another. We are not going to be able to change each of our inherent characters, nor do we intend to "bend" others away from their character. We must understand that we are all somewhat different and that we all have our particular life priorities, yet we are determined to live peacefully, supportively, and encouragingly together.


By this joint decision we actually agree, though it may not be expressed verbally, to build our lives together, recognizing that things may not always be a rose garden. We realize that we may have to make concessions and compromise, sometimes in what seems like increments of 50/50, 60/40, 70/30, and so on, but we connect in order to build our families, the future generation, and for that we must support one another.


This education that prepares us for living well together through mutual agreement and responsibility and by making mutual concessions is missing in today's young couples. They are not taught how to get along despite their differences and disagreements. While we have the freedom to choose our partners, and we do try to make the best selection, our choices for longevity often fail.


In animals, the quality of searching for the right partner is very clear, and each animal knows how to find its best mate. But because our human ability to scrutinize properly is corrupt, we search for "the one," someone rare, a "soul-mate," not realizing that precisely because of these super-hero expectations, it will be hard for us to get along with our partner later in life.


The lack of education concerning how to lead a life together in mutual concession prompts the situation we are all in, where we have a global crisis occurring in family life. Half the world's population, especially the young, either stays single until very late, or chooses never to marry and have children. They see that they cannot even take care of themselves, much less assume responsibility for others. It is a crisis that began about thirty years ago, and which is only worsening.


We can compare the relational problems in today's families to the situation that exists today among countries. Each country is both a receiver and a giver in terms of its relationships with other countries. Therefore, in statesmanship, too, we must learn how to make concessions, and how to unite above the differences and gaps we perceive between us. Unfortunately, we didn't learn how to do this in school, and we were never taught how to make concessions properly. Yet ultimately, only by mutually agreeing to compromise with each other can we expect anything good to transpire.

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Topic

We don't need to change our inherent specialness, but rather, we only need to rise above the differences we perceive to mutual guarantee and responsibility.

Main Points

  • The interconnection and mutual dependence that is between us, like in one big, healthy family, requires mutual consideration, agreement, and support.

References

The new world is a world of geographical togetherness. This means that no individual or nation can live alone. We must all learn to live together, or we will be forced to die together.

Martin Luther King Article from December 1956, "Facing the Challenge of a New Age"

"With the current globalization of our problems, we need to extend our circle of empathy and view humanity as a worldwide extended human family. As long as we refrain from facing that challenge, divisiveness and unsolvable conflicts will persist."

The Code for Global Ethics: Curriculum Vitae Quotes

"The future lies with more globalization, not less - more co-operation, more interaction between peoples and cultures, and even greater sharing of responsibilities and interests.  It is "unity in our global diversity"  — or to quote the Indonesia's national motto, "Bhinneka Tunggal Ika" — that we need today. "

WTO Speech of June 2011: Lamy underlines need for "unity in our global diversity" Director-General Pascal Lamy, in the 2011 Panglaykim Memorial Lecture on "Harnessing Global Diversity" at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Jakarta

Engage Yourself

Question 1: The following video clip is very unique. It is a 10 minute musical journey around the world.  You are invited to sit comfortably, relax, and enjoy this beautiful video [link to video here, if needed]:

a. How did you feel while watching the video?

b. With what sensation were you left after the video clip finished?

c. What was different between those who participated in this video?

d. Please read the following section that is taken from the transcript text of this learning session:

"The problem is that although decision makers, politicians, scientists, members of the middle class, as well as common people understand the situation, they are still reluctant to give up their individual national pride (nationalism), for the greater good of everyone together. This doesn't at all mean that people have to relinquish their local way of life, their habits, their culture, and their rich customs and folklore. Instead, we need to celebrate and appreciate each other's cultural richness and rise above any and all differences we perceive in order to connect with each other in mutual guarantee and responsibility for one another. Even though we may perceive that we are different, we can still get along, just like we all must get along in one big family."

Can you share what your relationship is to what is said in this section?

If you selected "other," please specify:

Question 2: In what way is the connection between nations like the connections within a family?

Question 3: Following is a quotation from the transcript text of this learning session:

"The problem is that although decision makers, politicians, scientists, members of the middle class, as well as common people understand the situation, they are still reluctant to give up their individual national pride (nationalism), for the greater good of everyone together. This doesn't at all mean that people have to relinquish their local way of life, their habits, their culture, and their rich customs and folklore. Instead, we need to celebrate and appreciate each other's cultural richness and rise above any and all differences we perceive in order to connect with each other in mutual guarantee and responsibility for one another. Even though we may perceive that we are different, we can still get along, just like we all must get along in one big family."

a. Can you give an example of a state in which you need to consider the members of your family before yourself, and this would be difficult for you?

b. Do you feel that you could behave otherwise, and just do only what you want and think is right?

Question 4: According to the transcript text of this session, what does the example of the connection between the European nations illustrate about the general state of the world?

Question 5: George Soros, American political activist and a man of great wealth and strong economic power, points out in his essay "A New World Architecture":

""A whole new world order, including a new financial order and rules, involving international cooperation, is imperative. ... The main culprit, by far, is the collective lack of awareness that a broken system is amongst us. Reinvention of any system requires all hands on deck.  The world's future seriously depends on global awareness and cooperation."

a.  With which of the words of George Soros do you agree and with which don't you agree?  Please specify why.

b.  If the nations of Europe were to follow after the opinions of experts like George Soros and additional scientists who explain that a good  future depends on cooperation between people, and between organizations, and between nations, what would be the benefit of this? What would the citizens of those nations that act firstly through the desire to cooperate benefit? What is your opinion on the matter?

Question 6: To conclude this session, you are invited to view a short clip from someone who has already realized what you are learning in the course regarding the "technique of concession." [link to video here, if needed.]

Towards the end of the transcript text for this learning session the subject of "the technique of concession" was mentioned. It was said that this is a tool that if we were to learn it, we would know how to concede and how to connect between all the differences and gaps, and to direct ourselves towards something good. Would you recommend learning this technique? If so, to who would you recommend it and why?