Nipawin - Tuesday, September 25, 2001 - by: Mario deSantis


"In this postmodern world, cultural conflicts are becoming more dangerous than at any time in history. A new model of coexistence is needed, based on man's transcending himself." -- Vaclav Havel, President of the Czech Republic




I am getting very disturbed about the ongoing vision of our hegemonic leadership, in politics, in business, in the media, in our academia, and everywhere. This hegemonic leadership has no understanding of our social predicament and as a matter of pragmatism rather than understanding, this same hegemonic leadership reduces every social challenge in terms of a duality, black or white. For this hegemonic leadership there are no grey colours, there are only two colours, black and white or metaphorically evil and good. As ignorant as I am, I understand that we can see more than two colours, and I understand that we can experience both evil and good. This is why in my yesterday's article I was stressing the importance of a new language we can all understand, a language which is not fragmentary or demagogic but rather a language which provides a dialogue for understanding whatever we want to mean.




Now, I have been paying attention to the possible military strategies against Afghanistan and Osama Bin Laden, and every expert I heard has been referring to the need not to destabilize the region. This concept of not to destabilize the region means that the status quo must be maintained everywhere and that the sole change must occur in Afghanistan. This concept is the same concept which was carved in stone by the Old Roman Empire, that is the concept of "ceteris paribus," that is make only one change and maintain everything else the same.




This concept of 'ceteris paribus' is equivalent to the concept of looking at things in terms of either black or white; and with an additional mental effort we can say metaphorically that this concept is equivalent to the Roman concept of 'divide and conquer.' In today's complex world we have recognized to depict this obtuse black and white mentality as 'linear thinking,' that is the inability to understand the interdependences or web of relationships of our complex world. System thinking is the opposite of linear thinking and it refers to our abilities to understand and see patterns in our web of relationships.




I am going to provide an example of an individual who transpires to be a linear thinker from her writing, and another example of another individual who transpires to be a system thinker from his writing. I will try to be brief but to the point.




Journalist Marie-Josée Kravis writes today's in the National Post


"Our real concern is for the values of freedom, competition and integrity that underpin modern capitalism As imperfect as democracy and capitalism may be, they beat the alternative offered by the mullahs It was outrageous to see middle-class Egyptians decked in their Rolex watches and Nike shoes rejoice last week at the loss of American lives... President Bush has stated that the United States will do "whatever it takes" to counter terrorism. That means forceful and effective military, political and diplomatic intervention"


From the above quotation I can infer that Marie-Josée Kravis equates democracy to capitalism, that we have no choice but the option of either capitalism or the alternative offered by the mullahs, that the values of freedom surface with Rolex watches and Nike shoes, and that the values of freedom must be defended with military intervention.




Economist Geoff Harcourt writes in the Post-Autistic Economics Network


"It is necessary that those who masterminded the attacks on Tuesday 11th September should be brought to justice; but parallel with the steps needed to achieve this should be international efforts to remove the injustice and poverty that provide the conditions that create such despair in persons that they are moved to take such awful actions in the first place People of good will are desperately needed to float ideas, to offset the understandable reaction to the happenings of Tuesday 11th September that war-like actions are the only possible reaction."


From this quotation we can infer that we are living in a complex and divided world, rich against the poor, and that we require to conceptualize a new more equitable world.




President Bush did an excellent job in rallying the country against the perpetrators of the September 11 atrocities but we must not forget that all our lives are interrelated, that we are all citizens of this planet, that we need a new way of thinking different from 'linear thinking,' and that humanity comes first.
  Our Freedom: Languaging and Putting People Before Money (and War), by Mario deSantis, September 23, 2001
  The value of liberty, by Marie-Josée Kravis September 24, 2001, National Post
  An International Marshall Plan to tackle injustice and poverty, Geoff Harcourt, Post-Autistic Economics Network