Related Forum :



Twitter Update :Watch worldfilms at Twitter

Twitter Updates

Watch worldfilms:

    Other Articles :
    defining depths, scaling heights. to upgrade our world, to new version - with new vision. feeling this world thinking of that future join to begin. here & now.
    More Articles :
    News/Current Affairs

    Cultural Identity (what defines us?)

    Toward Fellowship of the Earth

    Nozomi Hayase  |  10.Nov.11

    "Every nation must now develop on overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies. This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one's tribe, class, and nation in reality is a call for an all embracing and unconditional love for all mankind"

    - M.L. King (as cited in Guardian News and Media Limited, 2010).

    In these words from the speech, "Beyond Vietnam" Martin Luther King, Jr. called for worldwide fellowship. The problems that mankind faces today - illegal wars, climate change and worldwide financial failure - urge us toward the birth of a larger consciousness that goes beyond the narrow constraints of the nation-state. The protest against the WTO in 1999, known as the Battle of Seattle, was an iconic moment in US history. It was a clash of two forces, one working for commercially-led globalization, represented by transnational corporations and the other by ordinary citizens from around the world who united for the universal right of self-determination.

    The event in Seattle can be seen as the symbolic birth of a global civil consciousness, a kinship among all creatures on the earth. There people gathered from all over the world, who crossed political and religious boundaries, speaking for the voiceless, soon to be extinct sea turtles and butterflies and all workers across borders. A decade after the battle of Seattle, the awakening of this fellowship thrived again in the hearts of ordinary citizens in the streets of Copenhagen during the climate summit in 2009. What emerged on the streets was an impulse for true democracy through action.

    True democracy is neither a political persuasion nor an empty word exchanged in debates. It is a spirit that ignites a kind of fellowship in people and awakens a shared sense of civic responsibility in each person as resident of the Earth. This spirit of democracy thrives or weakens depending on our participation, bringing immediate consequence to the well being of this planet and its creatures.

    We are born into culture. The culturalization process brings a kind of forgetfulness of our common fellowship. As people grow up, they take in opinions and views that are passed down from parents, friends and teachers who are regarded as authorities of knowledge, by which they guide their lives. It is like growing up wearing clothes that identify one with a particular nation, culture, ethnicity or language. Jungian psychologist, Jacobi (1973) describes these clothes as the persona, "It is a compromise between the individual and society revealing what a man should appear to be. In other words it is a compromise between the demands of the environment and the inner structural necessity of the individual” (p.28). We cover ourselves with masks of what we immediately identify with, and there is often a gap of compromise between the outer masks (how others see us) and nakedness (who we are behind the mask).

    In the process of developing identification with the environment, people often take given direction from authorities at face value and withdraw their inner participation from the world. This absence in the process of developing a sense of self at a personal level creates a blank state that is easily masked with the outlook or agenda of others. As one's identification with this kind of persona hardens, it is like a shell that cuts us off from a sense of fellowship. Through losing universality, where things exist as multiplicity in relationship, we can become foreign to ourselves and to one another.

    At a collective level our disempowerment in the developmental process leads to disconnection throughout society. The habit of filling the soul with Hollywood images and electronic distraction furthers the malaise. We are turning our world into an empty place, a silence filled with voices of one-sided monologues and dead abstractions. It then becomes an object to be exploited. Recent documentaries exposed this objectification. "Food, Inc." reveals how commercial interests such as Monsanto monopolize seeds and destroy the life of the land. The film, "The Cove" exposed a hidden captivity industry in Japan in which fisherman chase after and slaughter dolphins. Here, the scripts of self-defined experts driven by commercial interests monopolize the message in the media and replace our intuitive sense for what is right for the creatures on this planet.

    Historian Howard Zinn (1990) reminds us of our responsibility for carrying the spirit of democracy:

    To depend on great thinkers, authorities, and experts is, it seems to me, a violation of the spirit of democracy. Democracy rests on the idea that, except for technical details for which experts may be useful, the important decisions of society are within the capability of ordinary citizens. Not only can ordinary people make decisions about these issues, but they ought to, because citizens understand their own interests more clearly than any experts. (p. 6)

    Only through the individual connecting with the imagination of the Earth can one become a spokesperson on behalf of the planet and transform monologue into dialogue for the betterment of society. Obedience to experts and voices outside oneself often results in loss of access to the living images, the voices of the Earth. Ultimately this results in a weakening of the spirit of democracy in the individual.

    Pursuit of Power

    Jungian psychoanalyst, Rafael Lopez- Pedraza (1990) described two aspects of human nature which he considers to be in exclusive opposition to each other.

    One aspect is our access to archetypal images and consistent life-forms, making possible psyche, emotions and feeling values, and making our inner processes. The other is a lack of images, a vacuum, a lacuna, out of which come excess and the madness of power. (p. 7)

    One's identification with persona leads to becoming more disconnected from living images. When cut off from the stream of imagination, one becomes susceptible to the feeling that there is something missing. Even though what is given from outside tells who they should be, they feel empty inside.

    This emptiness can drive one further to find an answer. It can also become a destructive force in the pursuit of power, as with the tendency to hold onto ideologies or hunger for material goods and superficial sensory stimulation. This is seen in abuses of power and typical sex and corruption scandals of many politicians and corporate executives. And yet, because we are looking for answers in the wrong places, we can never satiate the real hunger. And as long as we remain unconscious of this real hunger, we are more easily blinded to the force that drives to feed the emptiness with this tendency toward ideology or selfishness.
    It is like an orphaned child craving for her caregiver's attention. If one doesn't have caring validation and acceptance in childhood, one is always insecure, seeking for outer validation. When confronted with people that are culturally, ethnically or politically different, those differences are often perceived as a threat to identity. In time, the hunger for love, for the validation of one's individuality is directed outward, which can feed the lust for power (breeding exploitation) and powerlessness (breeding apathy). To forget our common connection with mother earth leads to weakening of community, civic power and the sense of responsibility for the health of the Earth.

    The Illness of Isms

    The tendency to blindly cling to what make us different leads to what I call the illness of isms. Absolute faith in a singular ism overrides the sense of universality. Our unique differences are turned into illness and are used to perpetuate oppression, creating perception of the inferiority of others for the sake of bolstering one's identity. Examples are rigid adherence to a single culture, religion, class, political party, race etc. When people tend toward dogma, they are susceptible to divisiveness through artificial polarities like Socialism vs. Capitalism, Islam vs. Christianity, Sunni vs. Shiite, Democrat vs. Republican and are thus easily manipulated.

    These schisms are used by those in pursuit of power to activate a sense of fear and terror to make us cling to and defend our ideologies, resulting in further disconnection with a living imagination of the Earth. This stands in violation of the spirit of democracy. Broken fellowship brings inner turmoil and insecurity in each individual and this is the root of all forms of tyranny i.e. dictatorships, wars of resource, empires and corporate infiltration into all aspects of life.

    Each person is a resident of the Earth. Will we become responsible for building the spirit of democracy? If we are willing, in this effort everyone is counted in. This requires teamwork and building of networks around the globe so that each can take turns stewarding the life of the Earth. We are watchdogs with a responsibility to 'check and balance' the abuse of power in any form. This evolved democracy requires remembering our larger collective self as resident of the Earth and developing new forms for the future. Out of this shared ground we help others live from the heart, to feel for each other. We call for citizens to witness and testify when their brothers and sisters fall into amnesia of our shared responsibility. If anyone falls asleep in the tendency to identify with our masks, we will be forever driven to seek within the material world to fill the hunger that comes with forgetfulness.

    The absence of a citizenship that carries the spirit of democracy as guardians of this planet makes us vulnerable to attacks focused on fellowship. We give over to the destructive force of power, and time and again lurch toward tyranny. A picture of this fellowship is offered with the revival in films of the "Lord of the Rings" and "The Chronicles of Narnia." These films bring memories of a world that we knew as children, yet have forgotten.

    The events of the time indicate that momentous changes are coming. These events are an urgent call for a worldwide fellowship. Each person in their own way is called to a kind of awakening to carry the spirit of democracy that binds all living creatures to the Earth. Every morning and every evening, before we wake up, and the moment we go to bed each person breathes in the memory of fellowship. While we are asleep, someone on the other side of the earth takes up where we left off, performing the duty of taking care of the Earth, conversing and reaching out to reconnect with neighbors. At each sunrise deep in the ocean, a catfish yawns shaking his whisker. On starry nights, eagles in the sky are flying home. Today and tomorrow, each is called to take their turn guarding the precious life of this planet.


    Guardian News and Media Limited. (2010). Martin Luther King: A time to break silence.
    Retrieved March 13, 2010 from

    Jacobi, J. (1973). The psychology of C.G Jung: An introduction with illustrations. (R. Manheim, Trans.). CT: Yale University Press.

    Lopez-Pedraza, R. (1990). Cultural anxiety. Einsiedeln: Daimon Verlag.

    Zinn, H. (1990). Declarations of Independence: Cross-examining American ideology.
    NY: HarperPerennial. 


    Comments :

    1. Posted on 22.Oct.10   From: Mallika

    A sense of Satisfaction is what I feel after reading an article such as this.
    Profound thoughts which stir my passion to understand world conscience. And to be a part of this larger whole.
    What better theory could there be in such a time.

    2. Posted on 21.Apr.10   From: Rosemarie

    Thank you so much for this writing. You write things/thoughts/ideas that I have been pondering and seeking ways to express. (I feel a kinship with your spirit.) Thank you for seeking (and finding) ways/venues for sharing such planet-saving ideas.

    3. Posted on 13.Apr.10   From: John

    I appreciate how Hayase redefines Democracy as an act of responsibility and caring for our fellow human beings and not so much as a political structure. This is a forward looking article and is ahead of its time. Martin Luther King in some ways was also working out of a future consciousness, so the writer is in good company. This affirms my sense that in the future, true fellowship and governance will move beyond the nation state and the dehumanizing effect of the current exploitative systems. We need more new ways of communicating and Hayase has something to offer for this.

    4. Posted on 09.Apr.10   From: Liz

    Excellent piece. Well thought out.

    The comments to this entry are closed.