Globalism: The New Mutation
What is “globalisation” or “globalism” really? It’s not as though it’s a planet-forming activity. It isn’t terra-forming activity in any geological sense, even if this time we live in is now being called “The Anthropocene Era“. Although the physical or geological transformation of the Earth is certainly one aspect of the process, the Earth nonetheless has existed as a globe or sphere for a very long time.
What it means, when one cuts through all the guff associated with this word and this process, is that we are being compelled even despite ourselves to become conscious of the Earth-as-a-whole. It means having to stretch the horizons of our consciousness to accommodate this Earth-as-a-whole. Some people find this stretching very uncomfortable because it’s a challenge to what we call “identity”. Those are the types we call “reactionary”.
Many astronauts or cosmonauts experience this transformation or mutation of consciousness very immediately and directly. It even has a name: “The Overview Effect“. It’s the true meaning of “globalism”. The men and women who experience the overview effect aren’t just returning from outer space, the are returning from the future. They become the presence of the future in the present. They often develop deep environmental or ecological and even spiritual convictions. They are the ones fulfilling Nietzsche’s imperative for the future: “Be true to the Earth!”
Any authentic process of globalisation is a heart-felt affirmative response to that imperative.
There is even an institute dedicated to promoting the Overview Effect, fittingly called “The Overview Institute”, and it’s motto is this: “Humanity must rise above the earth, to the top of the atmosphere and beyond. For only then will we understand the world in which we live.” Of course, humanity cannot physically literally levitate above the Earth in order to take it all in (although watching film footage of the Earth as viewed from outer space is often the equivalent of that levitation or teleportation). “Rising” here means, of course, in spirit, in consciousness, in awareness. Nietzsche’s imperative, “Be true to the Earth!”, which was such a novel and revolutionary commandment in his time of exaggerated nationalistic egoism and narrow-minded perspectivism, is accomplished in the overview effect, for it is also the theme of the “overman” or übermensch.
So, you are witnessing the emergence of this “overman” right before your eyes, today. It’s the future human becoming manifest in the present, albeit still not entirely recognised as such (and seemingly especially not by so-called “Nietzscheans”). That too belongs to “the convergence of the times” along with the “return of the native” or neo-paganism. Convergence of times should lead to a convivium and not a “clash of civilisations”. The “overview effect” is the incipient mutation that is the consciousness of the overman or transhuman — that man or woman who can take in the Earth-as-a-whole and is strong enough to take responsibility for its welfare without feeling crushed or burdened by that sense of responsibility — the cosmic human.
The creation of this convivium is the true meaning of “globalism” in which times past and times future will have to learn to be at peace with each other in a shared “Present”. Gebser calls that process of convergence “presentiation”, which he contrasts with the opposite movement, “distantiation” from presence. That’s the real meaning of “globalism”. Rosenstock-Huessy called it “synchronisation of antagonistic distemporaries”, which has much the same meaning as Gebser’s “presentiation”.
The corporate-driven model of this is not adequate to achieve that result. The Corporation is the successor of Church and State and it has usurped the prerogatives and powers of both institutions. That’s the meaning of David Korten’s excellent book When Corporations Rule the World. The Corporation — and what is called “neo-liberalism” — isn’t the proper model for global integration. Is there are more adequate model?
Yes, there is, and it’s called “The Ecumenical Movement“. Originally conceived to heal the wounds inflicted by the sectarianism of the Protestant Reformation, it has since expanded to embrace the world religions as a whole. This too belongs to globalism and, more than anything, is also fulfilling Nietzsche’s requirement for our becoming clear about values. The ecumenical movement is a dialogical process, mutually respectful, in a way economic and corporate driven globalisation is not. Corporate-driven globalisation is not in the least “democratic” or dialogical, which is why it is opposed in so many quarters. Although it is careful to preserve the facade and appearance of “democratic process”, that is all perception management and propaganda. Most agreements are concluded in secret and then presented to the public as a fait accompli. It is, as mentioned, a usurpation and concentration of powers previously the prerogatives of State and Church, or even the University which is hidden within that term “privatisation” or “deregulation”.
Ecumenicalism must be contrasted with economism. Ironically, these terms both arise from the same root meaning, oikos, but have diverged over time, so that they have even become contraries reflecting the mind-body split, or spirit-matter, subject-object dualism, which is largely at the root of our troubles — the bifurcation or dichotomisation of being, or dis-integration of being.
And it also represents an important misunderstanding about the nature of “Reason”. There is a great deal of difference, often overlooked, between Reason as understood by Socrates and the Cogito or res cogitans as understood by Rene Descartes. For Socrates, thinking was a public activity. The famous “Socratic Dialogues” were conducted in public, in the agora or Athenian marketplace. That is where Socrates and the philosophers of his time went when they wanted to think. Socrates understood reason as dialogical and public process — question and response. This is the origin of that form of reasoning called “dialectics”. Dialectics is simply the Latin term for Greek “dialogics”, or speaking and listening in turns. Descartes, in a sense, “privatised” thinking and reason. With his formula cogito, ergo sum, he made the speaker and the listener, the questioner and the respondent, one and the same mind. Dialectics or thinking became abstract (which resulted eventually in the existentialist revolt). Descartes’ formula is monological process, not dialogical. Socrates would have thought of that as pure folly. For how can the mind that puts the question also answer the question? It leads to “split mind”.
The return to “dialogics” is the meaning of Rosenstock-Huessy, Martin Buber, or M.M. Bakhtin amongst others, as well as the chemist Ilya Prigogine and the physicist David Bohm. Before a human mind can think clearly, it must have learned to speak sincerely and to listen authentically. But the results of the Cartesian folly, so widespread today, is as brilliantly dissected in the Simon & Garfunkel song “The S0und of Silence”…
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share…
The mind is not really present to its reality, in other words. “The Sound of Silence” is a song about civilisational decadence, of civilisational nihilism.
So, now you know also why I loathe propaganda. It is not respectful of a man’s or woman’s reason, because it is not respectful of the true process of speaking and listening, or dialogics. Propaganda is also monological style.