The view from Europe and Africa can often be quite different from the one looking the other way. From whatever perspective we view a situation, we are often looking through different windows and frames of reference.
The framing of our views all depends on our cultural reference points, values and so many aspects and influences. What one sees through a particular window often tends to be framed by our cultural norms, values and educational background. An appreciation of these differences could serve us well. It could mitigate misunderstandings and help our understanding to one based on empathy.
Price versus Value
The price of ignoring such differences could be problematic, if not damaging. In fact, this is often the criticism levelled at the American view of the so called ‘old world’ of Europe and the African continent, which perhaps speaks of a lack of awareness of tradition, history and these cultural and social norms. The American view is often excited to share the new world perspective that anything is possible, and the answers or solutions are technical by nature. That ‘new’ is by default, better. That we need open ended growth, and that both our eyes and mouth should be kept open wide one new-fangled way or another. It is a world of ever wanting and distraction techniques, with little calm or rest for the eye or spirit. One may be good at weighing the cost, but not necessarily identifying the value.
Contrast this with the opposite view that a respect for cultural traditions and old values should take predominance. And yet, that particular view will readily adopt modernity if it is convenient, or if there is profit in it one way or another. Either or, is unlikely to make the grade from either side. And perhaps like the high tide, it is high time an accommodation was reached, by expanding the awareness and acknowledging that better answers and solutions are likely from a more holistic and empathetic, perhaps less evangelistic messianic standpoint. For anything that smacks like a crusade may have a bitter taste and consequences.
Perhaps, like the sea itself, we would benefit from being more flexible, fluid and encompassing. Nature and the sea are perhaps also good examples of the en trend phrase ‘levelling-up’ too, as her waters always take the course of least resistance, being the most efficient modus operandi. There can be nothing forced in Nature’s levelling up.
Manufactured Solutions .. and Problems
What Africa and its constituent States found offensive in recent years, was an automatic assumption that science emanating from largely American laboratories, whether based in the United States, or otherwise, through sponsorship for instance (Ukraine & China as examples), held a special status and was not only the future, but was almost messianic in its crusading like fervour, fixed on a quick fix which ran roughshod over any resistance or difference of opinion. After all, we were all told it required a global solution to a global problem.
The problem was, that the problem, like the solution, was a manufactured one, which could only ever profit a minority shareholding of that particular view. But surely, the time for recognising all solutions that come out of a remote lab somewhere far, far away, will be seen with more circumspect suspicion, and recognised for what it is .. a lie, or at least a deception or fantasy, nothing grounded or founded on anything substantial that works well for all concerned.
After all, Britain did the same with Hong Kong and India with its pseudo governmental globalist corporation pilot model in the form of The East India Company back in the 19th century, when it suited the interests of the suited and booted to dominate other cultures and regions that were only seen as potential for exploitation, not just exploration, where gunboat diplomacy was used.
Perhaps the world may awake from its slumber at long last, and realise that we need for less than the great manipulators of recent centuries would have us believe, to meet our relative degrees of happiness. And that we should surely not be so keenly tempted, nor naïve, nor disrespectful of our more localised traditions. That we should be wise enough to realise the wisdom that discretely hides inside us, is our best friend and guide.
From my frame of reference, I sense a sea change. But a change that after the current storm subsides, will settle to a new level, far more reflective of things that are real, and less fantasy based. In a world that celebrates differences, but only accepts change if it feels right. A world where we don’t get fooled again, and even if we do, the consequences will have far less impact than the more recent debacle concerning humanity’s powers of discernment to recognise the difference between a sea mist monster, and an actual monster who would mean us harm. And once recognised, know how to deal with and despatch either in the way they deserve, before we get sucked into someone else’s current drama that would catch the unwitting.
Perhaps, there is far less to worry about than we might be told by our old-world political masters. Always ask the question, why is this person saying what they are saying. What is behind it? And if I acquiesce, whose interests does it serve? In other words, be wary when someone is attempting to make waves to stir you to discontent. There may be something quite unsettling behind it. Something which may have currency, but may draw you in and suck you under the waves without trace, as a sucker.
Instead, perhaps we should just enjoy the view, for all its real worth?
Paul Heaney, 2022.
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