Another calendar year is fast approaching last rites; soon horns will be blaring and a large, shiny globe will make its slow, annual descent on Times Square.
Despite many commendable advances in the fields of medical science and technology, resulting in the reduction of suffering and the extension of life, global conflict and consequent suffering continue unabated. Some “fixes” have in fact, been attempted, the (failed) League of Nations, its successor, the United Nations, as well as innumerable International treaties and alliances; but all such attempts to achieve peaceful resolution of world conflict, however sincere and well intentioned, have met with limited success
Among the variety of great thinkers, there have been celebrated philosophers like Hobbes, who thought that man was a “beast”, and others like Bentham and Mill, who believed, more positively, in mankind and “the greatest good for the greatest number.”
We now live in an age when instantaneous communication with any point on the planet is easily accomplished; catastrophes such as earthquakes, typhoons and tsunamis are immediately detected and internationally reported. Similarly, news of positive events such as the awarding of the Nobel Prize or the elimination of a disease are disseminated immediately by the modern media.
Inarguably, desirable as well as undesirable features of life are experienced in common by all humanity, wherever located, from Belgium to Belize, British Columbia to Borneo. Every human denizen of our planet, treasures peace, acknowledges the immeasurable value of family and children, requires sustenance, adequate shelter, and society; he despises war, disease, want and natural disaster. Yet history has demonstrated that untold misery and countless loss of life are the proximate result of man-made national and ethnic strife in every part of the world, regardless of the respective stage of technical and industrial development.
So, undaunted, and in keeping with much pre-holiday cheer (also with a glass of l’eau de la vie in our left hand) we entertain the following rich dream, whose pleasure in contemplation and its expression is not tempered, to any degree, by the predictable expressions of pessimistic pragmatism in response.
And so, to my dream. Let us imagine that a “world citizenship” status could be created and granted to all humanity and that such concept could be universally taught in primary schools and places of public assembly. The cost of such a social change would be voluntarily borne by those, financially capable, who value peace and friendship over constant discord and repetitive human tragedy. The universally shared and equalizing status would lead to confident and enlightened identification with others, tolerance and perhaps sincere admiration for other peoples and ethnicities’ own nuanced patterns of belief.
As a part of this “dreamy” proposal, the world citizen would have the additional option to continue his (peaceful) ethnic traditions. We do not favor nor espouse uniformity, only justice, amity, and equality.
We might even have another try at an additional world language, like Esperanto.
A Happy New Year!