BUILDING BRIDGES THROUGH DIALOGUE

TOWARDS A GLOBALISATION WITH GLOBAL HORIZONS FOR CONTEMPORARY LIFE

(Dialogue vs. Hegemony; Cooperation vs. Conflict & Pluralism and Tolerance)

CHIBUEZE C. UDEANI

 

“Globalization is not only a matter of economic profit or political power, nor is it only matter of the flow of information. Rather the new awareness of human subjectivity and hermeneutics … manifest and even constitute new dimensions of relatedness of peoples and the need for new ways of understanding them. Where previously the issue was one of a contrived or instrumental cooperation between people for external purposes, now in terms of a global whole the many can be seen to be inherently related: the welfare of one must now be the concern of all, and vice versa. This is the new cultural universe in which we are destined to live.” (McLean G. 2003)

The role of philosophy  in the process of globalisation must be more than that of “describing what actually or effectively is…and what, given the logic or dynamics of the process at work, likely to be.” (Madison G.B. 1998) It will not be enough to restrict itself only to epistemological approach, as it has been the case in many philosophical approaches to this process. This is more so when we are confronted with such questions: “How can we re-establish the priority of human, spiritual and communal values in the face of an overwhelming force of economic necessity that now reaches to the remotest regions of the earth with its monolithic or oligopolistic system, or a universal melting pot condensing everything into one thing, money or financing, regardless of any … diversity? Is there still room for liberation and humanization in this system that now encompasses us all in a large economic pot kept in a constant stir for its own benefit, no matter what happens to the less advantaged members of any society in the process?” (Blanchett O. et al 2001)

Hence “it is the task proper to philosophers beyond any others to understand and explain this (globalisation) so that truly humane, peaceful and cooperative decisions can be made in and for the future. (McLean G. 2003). Philosophy must have to incorporate two of its essential pillars here viz: social and moral philosophical pillars. That means being philosophically actively and adequately involved in the process of globalisation. Judging from its “historic search for unity in diversity …its task is (among others) to deepen the search in each tradition for the prospects of dialogue in which each cultural identity is respected, protected and promoted, while  being called to respond from its resources to urgent shared needs.” (McLean G. 2003)

 

The central philosophical attention here will be focused on the problems of pluralism and tolerance; dialogue vs. hegemony and cooperation vs. conflict.

This is so because while the proponents of globalisation are busy singing the praises of the already accomplished goals of globalisation, it is becoming more evident that we are being confronted more and more with sophisticated forms of (economic, political and cultural) manipulations and hegemony. Writ large in these global time it is the issue of the freedom of peoples vs. a hegemony which subjects all peoples and nations, politically or culturally. Further, if Huntington is correct in seeing civilizations as religiously based, the possibility of the dialogue of religions is also key to clash or cooperation between civilizations. What then is the role of philosophy in enabling such inter-religious and inter-civilizational dialogue?” (McLean 2003)

The necessity of dialogue is principally founded on our nature as human beings as well as the diversity present in and around our human existence. Dialogue as a venture worth its name is a challenge. Hence the need for the awareness of the nature and extent of the task awaiting philosophers. But is it not exactly that which challenges us that brings along with it new opportunities and fortunes. Hence we can only reap the fruit of dialogue if we accept the challenges of dialogue. Dialogue between cultures hence between human beings, with each other and among themselves is one of the central points in philosophers’ efforts towards a globalisation that will be able to act as a new integrating factor for contemporary societies. This kind of dialogue needs to be “global, open and circular.” The practice of true dialogue and its success belong to the needed components of a worthwhile global cooperation or solidarity. Conflicts abound, as it globally already proven, where instead of dialogue the practice of hegemony in any of its different forms and disguises is located.           

“The various forms of human community raise questions of their interrelation. What can the philosophical experience and creativity of the many peoples contribute to the political philosophy of how peoples large and small can live together? Writ small, this is the ability to bring together in harmony multiple minorities within the one nation; it is also the classical … issue of pluralism and tolerance in terms of large and small nations.” (McLean G. 2003). This calls for tolerance for there can be no pluralism without tolerance. Being tolerant in this context means accepting the other not because we have not succeeded  in coercing to abandon his/her standpoint or at worst eliminating him/her. Rather because we are conscious of our own need of the other and his/her wealth of experiences so as to be able to comprehend the truth of our human existence, the universe as a whole. (Boff  L  1991).