Saturday, February 25, 2006

Solidarnosc, round two..

The responsibility of human autonomy.

When I grew up in the seventies, my country was in a changing process from agricultural focus to becoming more industrialized. Companies like Philips, KLM and Shell were booming and growing exponentially. Local farmers united in corporations and many farms closed down because of lack of succession. This had a major impact on our society. There was huge demand of disciplined, specialized and rational workers. Exploitation of humans as company assets resulted in increased focus on human rights, solidarity, emancipation and more democracy.

But the changing from agriculture to industry didn’t stop there. The introduction of computers and internet created another big change and with a pace never seen before. The post-modern information society that we live in today has new cultural elements like independence, insecurity, competition and hedonism. Our Western countries, have changed from a society built on a trust in authorities to being a society where individual freedom (of speech) and autonomy is stressed, from a society built on a rather homogeneous religious foundation to being a pluralistic and secularized society, from stability to agility.

Bloggsville is a good example of the virtual societies we mingle in nowadays. Our children exchange kudo’s in their virtual worlds and although they will be connected 24 hours a day, they will be very individual and independent persons. Micromarketing on personal level will be the new way of selling services and goods within a few years time. When I was 18, my world was about 100 square miles. Now I have contact with the other side of the earth (the up-side-down-people :-) on an almost daily basis and the world is my oyster where I fly about.

It is our human nature to survive and get the best possible living standard for ourselves. We would like to exploit the world but only for our 100 square miles area of responsibility. That’s where the equation fails. Our post-modern individuality is perhaps the greatest gift of life but it comes with a huge and heavy weighing responsibility.

Since the world is my oyster now, the starving people in Africa ARE my responsibility too. Child labour in Pakistan IS my responsibility as well. Closing our eyes and turning our backs makes us lousy examples of human beings. I have not precisely identified my role in this responsibility as I know many of us haven’t. We have to remain alert in our new society though and look after the weaker brothers and sisters. It is time for a new wave of solidarity, but now it has to be organised on a global level..

Global solidarity is MY responsibility. I will take it.

What's your thought?