“We are aware that globalization doesn’t mean global friendship but global competition and, therefore, conflict.”
Globalism is one of the most over-sold notions of our time. We read about it in the newspaper. We hear about it in the workplace. The march of globalism is inevitable, we are told. Buckle up, bucko, for the extremes of big winners and big losers. Globalism is progress wielding a cudgel.
Still, globalism is sold as a wonderful thing. The global village. See? We are like everyone else. That is supposed to be of comfort. What it actually means is that you are not as special as you think. The group is more important. When people think the same thing all together, we are conveniently called a “market”. Marketers love to identify a market. It makes us easy to target so that we will want and buy the same things.
Globalism also reminds us that people are not all that necessary. With so much technology on the way, the AI world can all but replicate the real thing. Workers can be replaced by robotics. So who needs people? Environmentalists clearly do not. They see us as enemies of the planet. For starters, there are just too many of us. You know you have been downgraded when someone out there thinks you should be taxed for your carbon footprint. With only so many spots available, important people want you to pay, or get out of the way.
Enter 2020, the year when it became clear, that global may not be such a great idea after all. All those open borders and lack of constraints spread a nasty disease. Expendable is not very fun, whether you are young or old. Being at work does not matter as much as staying alive. What happens far away, not so important as the world we know up-close.
I am fortunate enough to remember a way of life before internet, when we were not so inter-connected in ways that make it hard to think. My grandmother had few amenities. She lived an unplugged life in north Saskatchewan but enjoyed the benefits of a wonderful community. She loved, and was beloved. In her little corner of the planet, connection to other people made her life rich.
Such experiences give me faith in people. We have been around a long time, and are more resilient than we have been told. That annoying God-spark just keeps on going. It’s what makes us truly human, and in times such as these, we come to realize how beautiful it is to be human to the core. It’s a particularly Christian notion that every human life is fashioned after the image of God and therefore has a divine purpose.
We know so much yet remain so unaware. Science is king. We have been to the moon and back, but - if knowledge is not applied to living, it is simply information. We are lacking in wisdom and perspective.
I was telling my kids of the days when the year 2001 (space odyssey) seemed impossible and far away. We imagined that the future would unfold as one of ease and comfort, facilitated by science. We would be served prepared meals grown on space farms, and our dishes would be whisked away on a conveyer belt to be washed by robots. The home speaker (now come true) would tell us what kind of a day we would have. It never occurred to us that knowledge does not equal progress.
Globalism seems to have become one big smash and grab that pits us against each other in a race to the bottom. As time marches on, its cost becomes clear - inequality, and the devaluation of human life. Massing of populations into markets controlled by mass media. Concentration of power, from the top-down. It’s not an accident, neither is it inevitable. We are not obliged to buy into its anti-human agenda.
The shots of the earth from outer space make it seem so small, and yet human beings have such potential. David mused in Psalm 8, “ When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, ... what is mankind... that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honour. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet...”
The theme of return echoes throughout scripture. It insists that sooner or later mankind will come to his senses. In Ezekiel chapter 37, God phrases is like this: “I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land.” There is a spiritual tone to this promise that implies wholeness, restoration, and finding your place in the world will not succeed as a merely human project.
Sir Winston Churchill noted “When great causes are on the move in the world... we learn that we are spirits, not animals, and that something is going on in space and time that is beyond space and time....” He was on to something. It echoes what C.S. Lewis also observed about the human condition. “You ARE a soul. You HAVE a body.”
I know where “home” is. It is not to be found in the cold and far away image of a global anything. It is grounded in the primacy of the individual, living as a spiritual light in a dark world according to the best of his or her conscience before the holy God who made us so.