21 de agosto de 2008

In(visible) border

« “Many Cultures, One Humanity”.

It’s a beautiful frame for thinking in our contemporary liquid order and very complex, very difficult, very risky, very dangerous world. A frame where our thinking, our concern with our own lives and the lives of people around us is placed between these two extremes. Many cultures is the reality. One humanity is an ideal destination, purpose, task. Many cultures is the past; that is what we inherited from millennia of human history. One humanity is the future, first predicted by Immanuel Kant who wrote more than two hundred years ago about the universal unification of humankind. Few people read his predictions. Recently Kant’s little book about the future of mankind was rediscovered and suddenly everybody became interested, which is a very good sign because it shows the awareness, the consciousness that unity of mankind is on agenda. A topical issue, and growing in stature.

There is one invisible third element between many cultures on one side and one humanity on the other. Invisible but necessary. The middle element is the border. Border is what separates and at the same time connects cultures. These days, we are obsessed with borders. That’s a paradox, a logical paradox, but not psycho-logical. A logical paradox, because in our fast-globalising world borders become less and less effective. They lose their effectiveness and therefore their practical importance. But as they lose their importance, they acquire more and more significance and tend to be over-saturated with meaning. It doesn’t stand to reason… Psychologically, however, this is hardly paradoxical, since the less successful we are in keeping intact the borders we have drawn, the more obsessive we become in drawing them again and again. We are indeed obsessed today with drawing borders. The less they are effective, the more we are obsessed. Why? What is the reason? »

Zygmunt Bauman
New Frontiers and Universal Values
Centre of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona 2004

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