A 21st Century Awakening

Of all the subjects available for discussion and involvement, perhaps the most interesting is the “great awakening”. Certainly China existed before the Cultural Revolution and it will certainly exist long after you and I have moved on.

Yet here are 1.3 billion people – young people, mothers, fathers, educators, scientists, consumers – awakening to consciousness. As interesting as this would be in any event, in the case of China it is all the more remarkable because the Chinese are playing by our rules, mimicking Western social forms, making their own mistakes, learning from ours’.

This awakening is unselfconscious. It is full of itself and confident, a youthful coming to maturity of a society whose cultural conventions and ethos represent many thousands of generations of refinement.

This great awakening might be apprehended as a mirror of Western society and a unique opportunity to see ourselves in a new light. There are perhaps as many ways to tell a story as their are stories to tell. But for those who listen and observe, the Chinese awakening is a catalog of new forms by which to measure our own sense of accountability.

Background for this article is taken from an MSN article, “What do Chinese Teens Want?“. If you are reading this post, you might like to explore MSN’s use of multimedia (multiple media types) in reporting on Chinese consumerism. Also, the video segment “Rapping Over Opera” makes a number of interesting inter-cultural points.

Moving On

Paul Rogers’ article in today’s issue of Open Democracy, Pakistan’s Peril, is a vivid reminder if ever we needed one that life moves on and that there is no advantage to finally settling the moral issues surrounding Bush the Younger.

It is in fact, of little interest that we are “on the ground in Iraq”. What seems to matter is that once extracted from the ground war in Iraq, we must redeploy. Most have not thought beyond the issue of withdrawal to consider what to do with standing forces of over 1 million men and women. Do we need such a force?

If we are committed genuinely to a course of peace and ethical behaviour, would we need a standing army to secure energy supplies and guaranty access to natural resources?

America’s survival requires that we learn whatever lessons we can from the last 7 years, indeed, from the last fifty years, in order to avoid a repeat of these errors. And whatever these human errors–cronyism, special interest, zealotry–they must ultimately be placed in the context of the infinite and unforgiving.

Let us work for a more just society at home and more fairness in our relations with our neighbours. Let us rid ourselves of prescriptive notions that our truths are universal truths, that there should be a universally accepted standard for appropriate and inappropriate behaviour.

Multi-tasking and Local Responsibility

The Huffington Post persists in calling attention to the antics of the United States Senator from Louisiana, David Vitter, ironizing on his ability to multi-task, that is, attend to personal affairs while representing his constituents. The scroll reads: “Multitasking: Vitter received calls from DC Madam during House votes”.

This is not and should not be of any interest outside of the State of Louisiana.

Louisiana has the representation is deserves. And what America thinks of Louisiana’s delegation to Congress is of little interest and immaterial. With time, the social system that makes Louisiana function as a cohesive polity will prove itself or be replaced. That’s the way it works.

What I would like to know however, is how Louisiana is reacting to the Senator’s new clothes and whether the State will retun Mr. Vitter to the United States Senate in 2010.