2013 will be a year that we look at ourselves from a completely new perspective. On the outside we will look at the world as a much more integral cosmopolitan place promoting new global citizenship awareness. On the inside we will go deeper inside ourselves to discover what makes each of us so unique and such a vital part of the big picture. All this will generate an entirely new era of global thinking that will hopefully overtake the mindless self-centered discourse taking place in our world today where we are all mainly focused on increasing our own personal pleasure. This will be the year we discover how this conversation is not leading us down a sustainable path. We were going to put a few examples here of what is trending on google right now but it’s too depressing. We need to rise above this obsession with sports and celebrities to something more profound and meaningful and the sooner the better. We need to take a close look at all the junk we are exposing ourselves to on a daily basis and consider whether this is the nourishment we need to develop in the 21st century. There are much more important things taking place than the terms trending on Twitter at the moment and they involve trying to understand what is going on in our world. We need to find a new formula to explain everything that is happening in order find the solution to our escalating issues.
A close examination of the changes occurring in our world in recent decades indicates that we are living in unprecedented times. The rapid movement of capital, information, merchandise and people around the globe transcends barriers of distance, time, culture, and language, but not without a price. A new system of complex, global forces is being formulated before our eyes, often fundamentally changing the human experience in all aspects of our lives with some of the main issues being economy, society, ecology, communication, immigration and education.
We are living in a globally interconnected world that is fragmented, polarized and frequently shifting, placing political, economic and ethical challenges before us that neither we or our children are qualified to cope with. Many international organizations such as the UN, OECD, World Bank, WTO, ISPIRI, as well as various sociological and physiological studies are attempting to put all the clues together. It is our belief that once we get to the bottom of these challenges we will see that the solution requires an educational response that is far beyond the standard. This new education must be focused on an alternative definition of the “common good” to help us overcome these complex issues. This new global thinking that is delving into what really makes us tick can be seen very clearly in recent cosmopolitan discourse.
Cosmopolitanism, meaning the responsibility to maintain global norms and universal values stemming from the awareness of global citizenship, is being widely studied in recent years. But here is the irony: a closer look at cosmopolitan research reveals substantial fragmentation and vagueness, a lack of pragmatism and a superficial approach to our contemporary challenges. What does all this mean? That even our top global thinkers and philosophers are having difficulty agreeing on the next stage of our evolution. If you’re not concerned about this we urge you to be because this is your future we’re talking about.
The truth is that we need a new prism through which to observe reality, but that isn’t going to just magically appear. Even though we cannot agree on many things today, we will have to form this new perspective together. We must bravely educate toward this, precisely over and above the current conditions. But it won’t be easy in our current self-centered society.
Funnily enough, the present crisis actually offers an opportunity to get out of this rut we are in. Out of a substantial need to develop an alternative approach of “the vision of the good” that will save humanity from destruction, rises the need to be concerned for another as I am concerned for myself. This cosmopolitan approach nurtures a normative, systematic outlook in us – the concern for another, for the “good of the whole”, as part of a connected human system. This global approach to our problems offers a practical solution not only for the interpersonal challenges in society but also the escalating international challenges we are facing. How? What our leaders are doing right now is attempting to build financial and political cosmopolitan systems without nurturing a cosmopolitan “vision of the good” in people.
The approach to life, the vision of the good that is engulfing society, and not structural changes is what demands treatment first and foremost. A suitable response to the crisis requires an educational, moral and conscious shift among the citizens of the world. Each person must recognize that his good destiny is dependent on his relations with others, meaning anyone outside himself. When we place openness and concern for others at the top of society’s agenda, when that openness and concern for others will be the defining principle through which for example school reform will be examined, we will immediately feel how society has begun a process of healing. People will form an open approach to the world inside themselves – some kind of cosmopolitan prism through which they can judge their actions toward fellow people. And the type of systems we hope to see in the political, social and financial arenas will be created as well. We are facing a genuine multi-faceted global crisis and therefore only a cosmopolitan education can provide a solution. We need to teach ourselves to look at everything in a global manner, from the perspective of the system, and even look at ourselves and our actions objectively as parts of that vast system.
We are all spending a lot of our time nowadays talking about all the crises around us. We can keep doing that or use this new confusing stage as a springboard to something better. Imagine what our world will look like in ten years if we start educating our children to take the entire system into account in everything they do or say. Imagine what the Internet will look like in ten years if we start filling it with this new way of thinking. Imagine how we will feel inside in ten years, if society starts brainwashing us that we all need to be thinking about and doing for others in our spare time.