"Visions of World Benefit & Global Responsibility: Perspectives of McGill Students

Friday, August 10, 2007


Since the beginning of mankind, humans have formed societies, built cities and developed skills in every possible field to increase our living comfort. We have machines doing our work and computers thinking for us. Yet, we live in a world where children die of hunger while others are pinned to their beds by obesity; where the spread between rich and poor spreads with increasing speed; where ecology is being destroyed by our overconsumption. To all this I say: We can do better. We can find a solution to all these problems which, in fact, we have created by our ever-increasingly demanding lifestyle. We are all the reason for this and since it is our collective energy which has brought us into this mess, this is how we will get out of it: together.
I have traveled extensively throughout my life and I believe that traveling is the greatest possible source of knowledge. Why? Because of cultural diversity. Every culture has its own perspective, its tradition, its priorities and its values. Adding all these elements together represents a culture’s knowledge. By bringing together every culture, we will possess a greater quantity of knowledge, the result of collectivism. I believe that with this tool we will be able to resolve global problems and truly make the world a better place.
We have already come a far way from slavery, to today’s position which we can describe as a step away from tolerance. What I suggest for us now is to take that step and even go beyond tolerance, towards agreement. I am not talking about eliminating cultural differences or losing our cultural identity. Quite the opposite, since I believe it is our differences which, brought together, will make us stronger. I am simply suggesting working together, regardless of cultural differences, on making our world a better place. Through discussion, we can share our respective knowledge and learn from one another. United, I believe we can achieve more.

Table of content
Chapter 1: Global Problems of the 21st Century
- Social: health and poverty
- Environment: depletion of natural resources and global warming
- Psychological: anxiety and depression
- Global terror
Chapter 2: Tribes
- Division into countries, into cultures
- Different values, life style and behaviours
- Our position: a step away from tolerance[1]
Chapter 3: Humanity
- Are we so different?
- We are all humans. Our bodies work the same, we are formed of cells.
- We have the same basic needs: food, water and shelter.
- We share emotions: happiness, sadness, anxiety, fear, etc.
- We share humanistic values[2]: peace, love and respect

Chapter 4: Agreement
- Beyond tolerance, towards acceptance[3]
- Each culture has its own knowledge
- Sharing all knowledge
- Realizing the potential of all working together

Chapter 5: Collective Solutions[4]
- Build culturally diverse groups and share knowledge
- Resolve issues we all care about

In the 21st century, global problems make the headlines on a daily basis. However, we are separated into countries, each individually, trying to make a difference. What makes us so different? Do we not share the same origins, aim for the same goals?
Humane answers those questions and proposes a strategy to solve global problems and make Earth a better place.
Let us be Humane.

· The cover page illustration represents how we are all similar. Emoticons represent emotions and every human being has them. Emoticons are also non culturally-biased because they are yellow; they do not represent a culture in particular, everyone uses them. Regardless of one’s cultural background one will use J to say one is happy, this is universal. Finally, emoticons are used when communicating through the internet. In such situation, one is not influenced by the appearance of the other and therefore cannot be culturally prejudiced about the other, except from what is being said. On the internet, two ethnic children could become friends when in real-life they never would have spoken to one another. This is the goal of Humane; increment a feeling of belonging to the human race stronger than to ones’ culture in order to achieve unbiased intercultural communication.

· The illustration on the last page is simply to remind us the basic teaching we were all given as children: accepting differences in others.

· The title, Humane, refers to what we have in common: our humanity. This calls us to work together towards our goal. Let us be humane and treat each other fairly and with respect. Being humane reminds us we are all equal, that we all belong to the human kind.

· On December 10, 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights[5] is institutionalized. The document bases itself on the fact that all human beings are equal regardless of culture, class, sex and physical appearance. We all have equal rights. However, this is still just in theory. Even today, people are discriminated upon based on their sex or race. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights still remains a strong statement since it signifies our consciousness of the fact that all should be treated fairly. This is why today’s position can be described as a step away from tolerance. We are conscious of what should be done, and we are now in the process of modifying our behaviours, reviewing our way of thinking to transform our thoughts into actions. Tolerance refers to acknowledging the others’ presence and being undisturbed by it. One does not benefit in any way from the others’ presence, but one is not aggravated by it either.

· Although values are given to us by culture, some values are common to all human beings; they can be called humanistic values. These include love, peace and respect. It is as if they came with our life form. These values form another common trait which unites us as specie, which differentiates us from other living forms. Since we all aspire to make the world a better and safer environment, to be loved and respected, humans cannot be so different after all.

· In order for us to be able to exchange with one another we must go beyond tolerance and achieve acceptance. This second concept consists of integrating the other in ones’ life. One benefits from the others’ presence by exchanging regularly with one another. Accepting the other is realizing the potential knowledge one can get from interaction with the other. This is a mental process which everyone has to undergo on ones’ own. It is only once acceptance has been reached that dialogue and exchange can be initiated.

· Collective solutions are the result of group thinking. The knowledge from different cultures can be combined in large groups composed of one delegate from each country. The group will exchange and discuss all global problems, one at a time. By learning from one another and combining the various forms of knowledge, the members of the group will look at each problem from different perspectives which should enable them to elaborate possible action plans in order to make human lives more fulfilling.

[1] see page 7 for explanation of this topic
[2] see page 7 for explanation of this topic
[3] See page 7 for explanation of this topic
[4] See page 8 for explanation of this topic
[5] http://www.un.org/Overview/rights.html

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