"WHY CAN'T PEOPLE JUST GET ALONG?" The discussion about the role of the internet on this thread reminded me about an important paper I read many years ago, "Toward a Psychology of Global Interdependency: A Framework for International Collaboration." I dug it out and re-read it. The authors are noted Child Psychiatrist Stanley Greenspan and Child Psychologist and Philosopher Stuart Shanker. They wrote this brief monograph for the Council on Human Development about a year after 9/11 as a different approach to counter-terrorism, one that attempts to elucidate a way nurturing and educating children might ensure a peaceful global future. Wouldn't that be nice? Though in 2001 the authors had no vision of the possible role of the internet, as we have discussed here it might very well serve a function in doing so. While upon re-reading this from where we are today, seemingly having gone in the opposite direction, it appears blissfully naive, I think it is worth a look by anyone interested in alternatives to conflict at any level. https://www.uibk.ac.at/psychologie/mitarbeiter/leidlmair/global_nation3.pdf
From the introduction:
"Long-term strategies—economic, political, and social—to reduce the root causes of
terrorism and build international collaboration confront considerable psychological
challenges. These challenges create barriers to implementing needed ongoing efforts that
can complement current anti-terrorism initiatives.
To overcome these barriers and pursue long-term goals, we will need to more fully
comprehend a new reality—the reality of the world’s greater interdependency, due to
shared dangers as well as economies and communications. To comprehend this reality,
we must further build our growing knowledge of peoples and cultures far removed from
our shores and our immediate experience. We must broaden our beliefs about what
constitutes a fellow human being and our sense of personal identity to encompass
“others” who we may feel are very different from ourselves. We must invest emotionally
in generations many years in the future rather than only planning for the next two to five
Will we be able to make these changes to the extent required by our growing
interdependency? Global interdependency creates new relationships, feelings, and
expectations among peoples. These can breed new levels of reflective thinking and
collaboration or increases in polarized thinking, rage, fear, and violence. Will we be able
to learn how to engender the needed collaboration and reflection? Will we be able to
move beyond our individual, family, community, and national identities and embrace
new implicit assumptions on the worldwide interdependency of human survival?
Competing with these goals is a history among some groups of denying the full extent
of the world’s new interdependency, defining reality only in terms of immediate
experiences, and embracing various stereotyped views of others, often excluding them
from a shared sense of humanity or personal identity. Consequently, we have too often
tended to construct overly narrow, short-term, self servicing “pictures” of ourselves and
engage in polarized, all-or-nothing thinking in the here and now, rather than in reflective
problem-solving extending into the distant future.
Can we overcome these psychological challenges? A closer look at them may help
determine the answer."