There are both good and not so good consequences of thinking globally. I was such a rube, when I went off to college, that when I asked one girl where she was from and she said "Guatemala" (only she pronounced it Wah-te-mala), I scrunched up my face in confusion and asked "Is that in Texas?" I can also remember my mother, who prided herself on not being "one of those bigots", saying "I don't know why - maybe it's because of the war and them pounding it into us that the Japanese were the big scary enemies - but I can't even imagine kissing an oriental. Can you?" So, for me, the greatest thing to come out of this global mentality, our time spent living overseas, and our years volunteering with AFS and hosting three exchange students, is that when you mention Japan or Bahrain or Indonesia or Denmark, I no longer think of strange, scary countries whose people are so different that they just can't be trusted. I think of Mageda and Tamaki and Dewi and Eric and Asnah - individuals whom I have known and loved and who, as it turned out, were not so very different from us after all.

As you know, there was a time when it was village against village, and clan against clan, but as the saying goes, there is nothing like a common enemy to bring people together. So, eventually the clans and villages united to form nations. However, when these nations began thinking of war as the natural way of life, I began to wonder whether rabid patriotism was such a good thing after all. It seemed to me that it was more of a way to keep your subjects dutiful. As long as you can convince them that "It's them against us, Man, so we gotta stick together!", you can keep them under your thumb, believing whatever propaganda you choose to feed them. As it turns out, that was the reason AFS, the exchange student program I worked with, was formed in the first place. It was organized by a group of WWII ambulance drivers - The American Field Service - who came to believe that if they could arrange these student exchanges, and more people came to see them as individuals - people much like you and me - then maybe, just maybe, we wouldn't end up having to send our sons and daughters off to fight WWIII. I think it's important that we keep striving towards that end.

On the other hand, our global way of thinking has done some serious damage to our poor planet. All of this jetting back and forth has given us a taste for foreign goods, and shipping those goods to us from around the world is sucking the life right outta Mother Earth. Now the push is on to figure out a more sustainable way of doing things - to rebuild local food systems and local economies, and to re-establish and strengthen community ties. Does that mean we are doomed to revert to that old clan vs. clan mentality? I sure hope not. How then, do we find the right balance?

P.S. Many thanks to for the above image.
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Reviewed by juragan asem
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Rating : 4.5