Between two worlds

Some leads for the next world

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However, in the uncertainty that now holds us back, there is one certainty: what we are experiencing - and are about to experience - is indecipherable with the software of the world before us. Impossible to invent a new human society with these references! The challenge had already been posed during the first Gulf War by Alain Hervé in the monthly magazine "Le Sauvage": " Humanity wobbles like a bowl of soup too full, on the edge of its own history. Are we going to continue to accelerate, to flee forward: economic growth, demography, scientific and technical innovations? At the center of the cyclone, we wait, we hold our breath, we wait for a birth " ... In 1991, we were not yet talking about a world after ...

Today, a nasty virus has invaded the world. It dared to attack humans. It's turning everything upside down, all over the planet, raising the prospect of a next world. To make it meaningful and operational, we must invent the software. Despite the reluctance and resistance to change, despite inertia and the pressure of comfort, despite habits, despite the disinformation of most of the media which insist, implicitly but heavily, on "returning to normal", despite the "elites" who interpret the data of science according to their interests and their belief in the omnipotence of technology and economics, despite all this, the laws of evolution will force us to move in another direction. In the face of the new forces that are developing, humans are being called upon to invent another way of living in the world.

Scale variations and globalization

The "distant" that until then confined us to curiosity and indifference to the disasters of the world has become close. It has come closer to each of our lives. Following the example of communication technologies, the virus has arrived at an accelerated and simultaneous speed, like the news we receive everywhere, coming from everywhere, at the T instant. It is undoubtedly this accelerated and almost simultaneous planetary diffusion that has given "the thing" its super power.

This variation in scale, which favours the global at the expense of the local, focuses on globalization, which in the end, little attention was paid to. Neither to understand how it was going to change our perception of the world and ourselves, nor to envisage what the specific, ecological, economic, social and psychological consequences would be... The phenomenon had occurred. We didn't want to know too much. Ignorance is so convenient... Yet the issue of globalization is directly linked to the virus, and in many ways. It is linked, whether we like it or not, with the increase in inequality, serious threats to natural resources and the question of freedoms.

Today, we know that in all spheres where life manifests itself, atmosphere, nanosphere, cosmosphere and even the technosphere, everything communicates, everything is in resonance, everything is interactive and interdependent. Even if this is not apparent. Because of these variations in scale, interactions have become exponential, and their associated effects unpredictable.

Just one example of what happens to micropollutants in water. Their number and their associated effects are constantly increasing, not only because of the growing multitude of elements present, but also because of the mysterious nature of their interactions. How can this phenomenon, which is directly linked to health, be controlled? This will be one of the many problems to be solved in the next world.         

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" How much globalization can mankind withstand? " asked Rüdiger Safranski, the German philosopher who in 2005 had already pointed out the divorce between the circle of ideas and that of actions, the abyss that separates the universality of theoretical abstractions and ideals proclaimed in Western democracies, and the limits and constraints of realities on the ground; but also the increasingly reduced place of local knowledge in the field of knowledge, the dangers of dominant economic thinking, etc. "How much of globalization can man put up with? For him, the autonomy of territories and local actors and their ability to deal with concrete situations will be necessary tools to be integrated into the software of the next world. His analysis prompts us to reconsider our functioning, our travel, our modes of consumption, our inter-individual relations and our relations with all living things. It will be a question of reflecting on how to inhabit the world differently, how to rebalance the dominant abstract and theoretical knowledge with adequate know-how. And this so that the Earth will continue to welcome us with benevolence.

What does it mean to be a human being?

This second, equally important and concrete question concerns our existence as human beings living among eight billion people on the same planet. In the software of the next world, the question will be not only to inhabit the world differently but to inhabit it differently together. 

What does it feel like to be a human being? asked Nobel laureate economist Amartya Sen at the opening of the Third Forum on Human Development, organised in Paris in 2005 by President Jacques Chirac.

For this Indian economist and philosopher, cultural identity, true democratic functioning and global equity are the key notions of "living together". No doubt these issues are on the agenda in the software of the next world.

Its vision of human development is to perceive human beings in terms of well-being and freedom, which differs significantly from an approach to development that focuses on people's income, wealth and material assets. Indeed, for him, as for more and more appalled economists, development is first and foremost human; and it is part of an interactive existence.

That is why the conditions of life in this remarkably prosperous and at the same time perfectly miserable world will have to be reviewed and corrected. How will it still be possible - if we become truly human - to bear the fact that millions of children die of malnutrition and water-borne diseases, that millions of adults in so-called poor countries, but full of natural wealth, are in a state of chronic misery, illiteracy, disease, loneliness, or forced into economic or climatic exile, or flee from wars linked to the will to power of cruel leaders? It will undoubtedly be necessary to rise up more loudly to change these inhuman states of affairs in today's world.

The freedom to choose one's cultural identity, the renewal of the democratic vision, the establishment of a government of discussion, the role of the citizen in his country, and his understanding of himself as a member of humanity, these questions will have to be asked and addressed. As well as the question of the distribution of wealth nationally and internationally, and the problem of inequality which lies at the heart of the confrontations relating to globalization. All these issues will have to be reconsidered.

We must not forget that these constraints and inequalities are the result of an ideology of domination that will be difficult to destroy. Tacitus, a senator in a Roman Empire thirsting for conquest, noted in his memoirs written in the first century AD that "the desire to dominate is a devouring passion that stifles all feeling".

Alliance of Sentiment and Reason

It will then be necessary to give back to feeling its rightful place, its true scope, namely its dimension of respect, desire for justice and equity among all. This is perhaps the meaning that André Malraux wanted to give to the phrase attributed to him: the 21st century will be spiritual or it will not be. Another subject for reflection that will certainly need to be explored in greater depth, but some directions can already be perceived.

This world to come must open itself to a new understanding of Life and the Living. The will to power and conquest will have to give way to a very different vision. The humans of this world to come will have to develop a new consciousness. They will have to develop a reason that takes into account the sensitive and spiritual dimension that has inhabited mankind since the beginning of time. Transcendence has always been a necessary horizon for the development of imagination, creativity, intelligence and heart. This horizon needs to be rediscovered, rethought and revitalized.

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Marie Joséphine GrojeanNature and Ecology Journalist - Writer
Member of the Water Academy

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