Sun, May 06, 2018 - Page 6 News List

Taiwan and changing paradigms

By Jerome Keating

Without a doubt, change and trouble, along with hopeful promise, pervade the world we live in.

Did Russian hackers really influence the US elections? Will North and South Korea finally sign a lasting peace agreement? Can a solution be found for the numerous refugee problems in Syria, Myanmar and elsewhere? Will a major trade war harm the world economy?

Yet, as all this rages on, NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has also blasted off to search out new and potentially habitable planets orbiting the many stars in our galaxy. Similarly, start-up space companies, such as Orion Span, are promoting future low-Earth orbit hotels such as Aurora Station for those who want the experience, albeit expensive, of being a space tourist.

Certainly, one is tempted to refer to the opening lines of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities to describe today’s world: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

However, these times are different. What we are experiencing is more than the natural turmoil always found as technology advances and nations compete. Instead, the world is experiencing the pangs of a new birth, a birth that involves a major paradigm shift, and one that affects how we view our planet and how we will have to live on it.

A more appropriate reference might be found in Irish poet William Butler Yeats’ well-known poem The Second Coming. Yeats wrote it in 1921 in response to the post-World War I turmoil and trauma of his time; it was a time where he felt the “ceremony of innocence is drowned.”

This same experience holds true in today’s divided world with all of its problems of populism, Brexit, fake news and even a US president who likes to wing it. In this turmoil, many feel that it is again a time when the “best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”

However, to grasp the fullness of this, we need to look deeper. Our perception of the world is being forced by technological necessity to shift from that of a global village paradigm to that of a global home. With this shift we also find all the resistance that such change brings.

On one hand, there is hope.

Technology has advanced so quickly that human exploration and travel within our solar system and beyond is now feasible. Humans can say with greater confidence: “Our destiny is our galaxy.”

That is the first part. Yet, as we look into space, we must also ask: “Where do we want to go and what paradigms do we need to get there?”

Such migratory thoughts demand a changing view of the Earth, our home base, and how we will judge whatever life forms we find out there.

Technology has already sped up the way we do everything in the world. Communications are instant; business deals, bank transfers and money changing go along with such communications. What happens anywhere can immediately be broadcast or registered everywhere.

On the other hand, of course, scams and hacks are also possible from anywhere in the world. Our global village has already shrunk to become a global home, but our global thinking has not caught up with it. We have not faced or imagined all of its ramifications.

The predominant metaphor of the world is changing to that of one family under one roof on planet Earth. The one family, of course, is the human race.

We already have the UN, but its effectiveness in solving family issues is still lacking. Interpol, an agency that works against transnational crimes against humanity has 192 members, but again, full cooperation and effectiveness there are also nowhere near maximum capability.

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