Rising from the ashes. . . a revision of the concept of community and of “culture” and its impact.
In my grandparents’ generation, children went off to college or university and returned to their hometown, their community. Globalization and the multinational corporation were not then a factor as they are today. What I find most interesting is this transition from what was – this community, to what is – globalization, to what is in process – the global community.
By “in process,” I am referring to the sharing of knowledge as well as resources globally. People and corporations are starting to consider the impact of their actions, of their decisions on the social structure, on the societal construct, on the overall “culture” of the community in which they do business. Decision making based solely on the economic interests of shareholders and imposed on communities is being reconsidered based on its economic impact on the individual communities, on its impact on the “culture” of that community.
This application of the word, “culture,” was brought home to me this past weekend. A man I had met in 2002 through Prof. Mohammed Yunus at the MicroCredit Summit in New York shared with me a book written by the Vice-Chairman of a Fortune-500 corporation. Within my absorption in this gentleman’s superb use of language, of the written word, I noted particularly that he spoke of the impact of corporate decision making and the necessity for “culture” to be officially included in the field of sustainable development.
Weeks before, I had been at a Women’s International Forum presentation by His Excellency the United Nations’ Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. He spoke among other topics on the conclusion of the Millennium Development Goals, the MDG’s, in 2014 and the inauguration of the Sustainable Development Goals, or SDG’s, in 2015. Among the SDG’s under consideration was culture. . . in addition to the eradication of polio, of malaria, etc.
In the multinational corporate world, one speaks of the “culture” of the corporation – defined as the philosophy, values, behavior, dress codes, etc., that together constitute the unique style and policies of the company – and the individual “cultures” of the communities within the global community in which the business takes place. The “culture” of each of these communities being unique and determined by various factors . . .most importantly the socio-economic, the economic health of the inhabitants being key to their – and the communities- sustainable development.
In the private sector, one speaks of “culture” in terms of the arts. The arts do not establish boundaries but go beyond them -. beyond the political, the geographical, the spiritual, and, yes, beyond the socio-economic. They facilitate – and create – true global community. They speak directly to the “eye” and the “I” in each individual one of us.
Although “culture” has various interpretations and sustainable development can result from each, the one with the direct impact is art. There is no intermediary, there just is we directly, we the individual seeing and experiencing the art, living with it, enjoying it. As the Native American’s say in ceremony. . . and “we are one.” Within this oneness, we recognize our unity as well as our individuality. Art has the ability to provide us with this perspective.
Working with Henry these past three plus years – especially on the development of his Asian Vision Series -, this comes home to me daily. He linked two guardians – Buddhist sculptures from China and a fish representative of Christianity – in SWIMMING OVER THE GUARDIANS. In SIGNPOSTS! THE LION OF KOREA – THE HORSES OF BEDFORD, he linked the “Lion” – used as a guardian at the entrance to Buddhist temples – with a horse crossing sign, both signposts, both protectors just different constructs. THE LADY & THE TURTLE, taken from the historical past of Vietnam is another example. Its photo and its story is attached herewith.
In conclusion. . . Yes! I do agree with the multi-national’s Vice-Chairman that “culture” should be one of the sustainable development goals. This is my thinking. It may – or may not – be yours. . . and whichever is fine with me. As Henry often says. . . “he does not impose” and nor do I.
Enjoy these final days of Autumn and know that I welcome your thoughts, your comments, and your interest.