As we adopt remote work models, what will we enable to enjoy each other? Is everyone just for themselves? If there is no sense of community and physicality, will we ever create another Venice? Another Paris? Even a New York, an Istanbul, or a Kyoto?
Ideas, knowledge, art and forming communities made human civilization. We care to learn, build, inspire, and transmit from generation to generation. Our cultures are our second DNA strand.
The global identity crisis which we are witnessing reflects our need to belong , to be included, to participate. No one will tolerate being excluded from the future.
How can we cooperate at any level when everyone is for themselves and their ideas? Are any universal values possible?
Growing up in Europe and up until the millennium there was a model for most: America. The globe was opening up and with it a sense of endless optimism. Today new technologies, globalization and multiculturalism are challenged. The world expanded now it is shrinking. Earth was becoming one. Now, it’s splintering. From opportunities to limits. It is as if we had reached the limits of the possible, from freedom to consumption. Now a conservative reaction. Exploration returns to a personal journey rather than a global one.
What will change in 20 years?
The nature of work
Gene editing will be used extensively and children will be conceived invitro.
Humans and technology will further merge.
What won’t change?
The deep nature of humans: we are physical and emotional beings.
Europe can be the defender of traditional western culture democracies, but only if it comes together.
In a world where nations and cultures are regressing towards their traditional roots, will cities be able to resist and remain an oasis for creativity, immigrants and risk takers?Societies that have a good social contract tend to get too comfortable and societies that are highly competitive but unequal will be more dynamichow do you make sense of this human dilemma? Soft power is aspirational is America losing it ? China will need to learn the art of soft power. Historically it is used to controlling rather than seducing.Will be West ever be able to coexist with China, with its opposite cultural and political system? For the monotheist West, it would be the equivalent of accepting a world of “two truths”. Solutions to humanity’s great challenges need to be human. This means emotional, cultural, philosophical and moral, not just technical, even if technology is used to address them.
We live in the age of anxiety - loss of control, fear of change.
The response to robotics will depend on culture in Japan robots might be accepted as an entity, as humans are just a form of machine, versus in the West where they might be viewed as foreign and competitive.
Technology has helped us humans for millennia but hasn’t made us wiser or less emotional. Lessons and wisdom from 2000 years ago still resonate across cultures and are our true guiding principles.
Technology may change quickly but human nature changes slowly.
Global cooperation: minimalist vs maximalist approach Wealthy countries, including the West and Japan have become very resistant to change, unwilling to dream big, be courageous and take risks the silver lining is low appetite for hot conflicts. The future is more likely to be led by the developing countries of the East.
LA: the world’s cultural source for the last century.
Economic issues must take culture into account. Democracy still needs governance.
The Daoist will fish and wait for the catch, the Buddhist will thrive to find equilibrium, Confucians will apply themselves to tasks and family, and Western existentialists will engage as individuals different approaches to life.
Beyond the difficulties of normal negotiations, the US/China trade conflict is about two parties that operate with different tolerance to pain, objectives and time horizons. Ultimately, they have opposite cultures.
The developing US-Sino trade war is the signal of a potential civilizational clash.
We are living the clash between technological progress & globalization. Who wins? Can they coexist?
Cultures are reflective and shape societies. Some are quite functional without strong governmental direction, others need it to prosper.
The values to be programmed in AI and biological tools will vary greatly depending on cultures. How do we reconcile and set certain universal standards, or at least share some norms?
No matter the political system and leadership, culture perseveres and determines outcomes more than any other factor.
Culturally, the West will try to stop the tide, putting up a fight. The East will accept the changes that come from the tide
Over the last decades the world was about cooperation, economic development, technological progress and mixing of cultures. We are now in a phase where politics, national identities and apprehension of the future dominate. Governance and cultures matter.
Empower the individual and encourage a multitude of cultural practices, while cooperating on meta issues.
Those who belong to cultures with a strong sense of individual duty or a direct relationship to a god tend to be the most organized and hard working. They are also the least joyful.
As symbolized by Istanbul being both in Europe and in Asia, Turkey is culturally conflicted between East and West. Ultimately, the choice is democracy with separation and balance of powers vs. autocracy. Or a delicate mix. Secular vs. religious.
The 60s counter culture came from a good place, against violence and war, promoting peace, love and freedom. While liberating, it also diminished community, traditional faiths and purposes, as well as respect for institutions, yet without replacing them with new beliefs beyond the worship of the individual. As humans who seek meaning and togetherness, we are today lost.
The life and cultures of humans are their stories.
Political systems may be the same in name, but not in practice. Culture is a greater determinant than official ideology.
Japan or South Korea, both democracies, have more in common with China and Singapore, or even North Korea, than with the Philippines or Indonesia.
The political system doesn’t make a country. Brazil, Switzerland, Ethiopia, the United States of America and Turkey, each have a different practice of democracy - shaped by their origins and cultures, more than their governance template. If you really want to change a country, target its culture and give yourself generations.
In ancient times change and messages traveled slowly: look at the growth of Christianity at the mercy of gospels and the transmission of manuscripts. In today’s digital world, all is immediate, and ideas can be broadcast and promoted instantly. Yet, do deep cultures change or actually remain just as before? Look at China, India and Russia going back to their roots in the face of modernity. And just the same for the West. Covid accelerated the inevitable visualization of our lives, yet we are coming back to earth, as physical and culturally tribal beings, navigating the reality of living and of the world.
For decades, people looked forward to reading the newspaper in the morning - a pleasurable and instructive ritual. That’s not the way they feel about social media anymore. No one came to dislike newspapers as they do social networks. Television too was appealing There is comfort in being guided, in sitting or being a spectator, as opposed to being prompted to act. Does one enjoy having to engage one’s emotions permanently? Passivity is calming.
Life is change. Impermanence is the state of life. Nothing lasts, from life itself to relationships, to materiality or beliefs.
The survivors are the relational threads of evolution, the chain link of generations and, in human terms, culture. Culture embodies our history, transformation, and advances, the ultimate witness of human endeavors. As individuals, our contributions are in our relationships and our deeds toward the narratives that shape the world across civilizations.
The 1960s and ‘70s liberation movement so challenged authority and institutions that it resulted in weakening western governments to the point of not being able to serve those very activists — individual power instead of communities.
Anticolonial revisionism and social justice, however justified, may indirectly reinforce conservative traditions and accelerate the relative western decline.
All cultures have found ways to address mortality, from the afterlife for believers, family for others, or just an earthly life for atheists.