What is a Visionist?

"A visionist is an artist, a creator or an individual that sees beyond what is visible to the eyes and brains of human beings. Visionists are thinkers, they are the recognisable brains in soociety, but most times they are seen as absurd, "nerds" and misfits – they just don't fit into the societies. They are people with great dreams and minds."

The English Wikipedia

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Globalization on the Brain

Yeda and I just saw Slumdog Millionaire, and I was blown away by its portrayal of the difficult, brutal, Dickensian life of the poor in India, as well as the sustainment of pure values such as the triumph of love over its opposites and of good over evil. Its strong assertion of the idea of human destiny is a concept that I find extremely appealing, a subject I really want to get back to here. However, even more, to me it is a film that is a triumph of globalization in the best sense. Here is a British film about India with Indian actors and rich scenes, from Mombai to the Taj Mahal and the human mosaic of India. The impact on India of a US formatted version of So You Want to Be a Millionaire, with its own, Regis-style Indian host, also reminds us of a universal culture that is sweeping the globe. But the most important line in the film for me is when, Salim, the older, less well meaning brother surveys Mumbai's modern construction boom from atop a half completed skyscraper and declares: "India is at the center of the world, and I am at the center of the center."

What statement could better express the idea of the empowered individual which lies at the center of post-modern globalization.

I also happen to have attended a number of events this week which focus on the impact of globalization, including a special seminar in which I participate at Tidewater Community College. The seminar on Friday included a speaker from the State Department on Economic and Political aspects of Globalization, Ukrainian and a Sri Lankan Fulbright scholars cleverly brought in from around the country by the program managers to speak respectively on the impact and origins of the financial crisis and the economic impact of terrorism,, a presentation on the Port of Virginia, based here in Hampton Roads, the third most important port on the US East Coast and growing and a presentation by an expert on global water issues. My head was spinning after more than eight hours of information. All of these subjects are open to discussion, debate and controversy.

I also attended this morning a presentation at the World Affairs Council of Greater Hampton Roads on Egypt, part of the nation-wide Great Decisions program promoted by the Foreign Policy Association for World Affairs Councils. The impact on a key Middle Eastern country like Egypt of globalization is mind boggling. There is a mix of external and internal factors working on such a key country, which is weighed down by history and constraints, but which is on the edge of becoming an emerging country if things would only break in its favor.

I wish I could draw some universal conclusion from these intellectual experiences. It is difficult, but listening to the speech given today in Munich by Vice President Joe Biden, laying out a new framework for US foreign policy, it is clear to me that the Obama Administration "gets it" when it comes to the "new, new world order," of globalization, including rejecting the "Clash of Civilizations" as the basis for US foreign policy. opening up the way to a perhaps more hopeful future. What are the implications, of this, however, for the future? Is it the acceptance of co-existence of separate Western and Eastern Civilizations, or the promotion of a new world Civilization based on common values, like those contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international human rights law, or some hybrid of both? Or is what is really important not what we call things but how we as Americans approach others around the world?

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you about the Obama administration "getting it." I also agree with you that Egypt is a key country in the middle east. However, I believe Israel is the ,arguably, most important country in the middle east due to its ties to Egypt and Jordan. If the american government can not only win over Israel but solve the conflict's in Israel. It will make it easier to help Egypt and Jordan emerge as countries.

    Student,Dominique Diaz