Rethinking international affairs: A call for a multidisciplinary approach
I find the quest for money sometimes scary. I love money as any other person, but it has become a new god. People are judged by their income and their possessions. If you study psychology or literature, people will be bound to ask you: "But what can you do/be with that?" and the inevitable question: "How will you make money with that?" That is why we hardly have any great thinkers in our world. People profile themselves as thinkers on their public profiles while hardly having read or thought at all. And those are to be our examples? Unbelievable.
Access to knowledge seems to be highly gentrified in itself. What should be in the preserve of all isn't in reality. At the same time, this begs the question: does such knowledge necessarily always have to come from prescribed "authorities"? Aren't the contemporary economic and market fundamentals and principles at odds with sentimentality? The fixed nature of the accepted system seems to be at odds with "senseless sentimentality" and demands to be validated as objective. The global economy of socio-political systems is thus all at once undeniably wise and curtly unforgiving. It's like following a playbook because the playbook says such and such. Demanding that others simply submit themselves to the invisible hand of free market economics while the rules of the game are set by few is inhumane.
Flickr photo by AMagill
While I may love money too, for it can allow me to live comfortably, even those who abhor materialism have to participate in the system because it's the only way to get by. I doubt we took out our notepads as we floated in our mothers' wombs and jotted down the type of world we wanted to live in. We didn't choose; we adopted what our predecessors left for us, and thus in order to survive, there are certain rules to go by. But what I don't understand is the illusion of the so-called "American dream", it essentially sheds all responsibility of those in power for individual outcomes. If you're successful, it's because you were smart, went to a good school, and jumped on opportunities. If you failed, it's also your fault. Relations in the world between the rich and the poor has not changed for millennia. Yet, we are fed to think that now we have democracy, things can be different. If they aren't, it is your own fault. The ones with the best education and a wealthy background have more opportunities, and nobody seems to think about that.
China’s rapid resurgence in Asia is an example in which we allow our patriotism to get the best of us. At the end of the day, is China's triumph the result of its governing regime, Chinese culture, or what? Just because someone falls within the limits set by living within the sovereign borders of any one country (a synthetic creation), it doesn't mean that they identify with the state, the government, or even the culture as a whole. I know that many Chinese identify more closely and are more loyal to their own local communities than they are to any symbolic state institution, especially the 90 per cent that hasn't stood to gain anything or any form of participation in its "monumental growth". However, hatred, pride, and resentment for past wrongdoings make patriotism an easy rallying point. People seem to invoke it at their leisure in pride while they complain through their teeth about their own government.
To many Chinese, the "new" China -- its new role in the world -- means that they become as grand as China is. This is not different for the Turkish, for example. Since a few years ago, Turkey has been booming and because of its economic wonders, the country gains respect. Lots of Turkish people see that it is part of them. The successes or failures of a country are not any one individual's, in general, because they have no influence over it to a certain extent.