Saturday, January 7, 2012

Of Turbulence and Tolling Bells

Love Thine Enemy...Because He Shares Thy Destiny

Just watched a challenging TEDxBrussels talk by Paddy Ashdown on the evolution of global power. It's worth 20 minutes. While not all of it struck a chord, and while some of it was darn uncomfortable, it spoke powerfully about the fundamentals that are shaping the world we have created.

Power is shifting. The stability we have experienced over the years since World War II is falling away. Ashdown cites reasons that aren't necessarily what we think. (Hint: It's not the rise of China.)

Global power, unconstrained by national borders and unregulated by rule of law, exists in places we don't always recognize. Certainly, the Internet, Twitter, and a global mobile-phone network. But also increasingly comprehensive air-travel network provides connectedness - not just for us, but for pathogens and parasites!

Global connectedness means global connections, for good AND ill.

Nature abhors a vacuum. Where there is capacity to exert power, power will be exerted. Where it is untended - unstewarded - it will be exploited.

Turbulence is in our future. The degree of turbulence will be measured by the degree to which we can embrace one another and support one another.

Ashdown cites that what matters is the capacity to network. He cites "Ashdown's Third Law":

"In the modern age, where everything is connected to everything else, the most important thing about what you can do is what you can do with others."

We share a destiny with each other - all of us - for the very first time in human history. Increasingly and unavoidably, we share a destiny with not just our friends, but with our enemies as well.

Heed well Jesus's admonition to "Love thine enemy as thy self…" It's not just a noble idea any longer - it's an urgent matter of public policy

Ashdown finishes his talk with a quote from John Donne's "No Man is an Island":

Any man's death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know
For whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

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