Candles in the Dark
A New Spirit for a Plural World
Publication Year: 2002
Published by: University of Washington Press
Table of Content
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I am overwhelmingly and most gratefully indebted to many organizations and individuals including those at the summit of global public policy making as well as many working in their offices, homes, colleges and universities in the shadow of high politics....
Notes on Contributors
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Message from the Secretary General of the United Nations
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We live in an age shaped by globalization. This hallmark of our age brings many benefits, but it leaves many excluded from them. The great challenge facing us at the start of this millennium...
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Many wise words are spoken and written about the state of the world and of humanity in the dawn of this new age. It seems that millennial visions are no less prevalent in our times than they were a thousand years ago. What we see, at first glance, is their heterogeneity and incongruity. Few of them take a complex, holistic approach...
A New Spirit for a Plural World
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In Utopia, citizens live in blissful peace and harmony with one another, free from deprivations, physical dangers, and conflicts that in the real world fill ordinary lives with unhappiness a...
Part I: The Need for a Political Renaissance
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Countries and peoples of the world are increasingly interlinked by various technologies of communications and transportation, but this growing proximity is neither a source of security nor a generator of harmonious international relations. The process of globalization, while materially enriching the few, is destabilizing the life...
Chapter 1: Global Ethics in a Plural World
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Nationalism, democracy, and the market economy are the three ideas that have dominated the political and economic history of our times. They form the basis for a social philosophy that holds the nation-state to be the most appropriate expression of political sovereignty...
Chapter 2: Secularism, Globalization, and the Role of the State: A Plea for Renewal
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Secularism is difficult to disentangle from kindred ideas of "the Western Enlightenment heritage," "modernity," "rationalism" and "The Age of Reason." There is about these widely used terms a shared sense of worldliness, of scientific method, of suspicion about claims of transcendence, and a refusal...
Chapter 3: Rethinking the "Four Freedoms" for the Global Community
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Not long after I stepped down as a Prime Minister of the Netherlands, having served from 1982 until 1994, I was honored with the Four Freedoms Award. A few years later, I was asked to contribute to this book on ideas for an ethical and spiritual renaissance 1...
Chapter 4: What Can Be Wrong With Growth?
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The nations of the world have never before been so alike: alike not only in the sweat shirts and jeans we all wear, our taste for sodas and martial arts movies, hamburgers and soccer, but in the guiding philosophies of our governing institutions. Banks, corporations, governments, even hospitals, universities and art galleries...
Part II: Perspectives from Religious and Philosophical Traditions
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The emerging global civilization leaves unanswered fundamental questions of sense, value, and direction of human life that are central to all generations and all cultures. What would human reality be if devoid of any spiritual or moral dimension? Can the finiteness...
Chapter 5: Benedictine Spirituality: A Basis for Reevaluating Modern Development Trends
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One of the classic texts of Western thought is the famous Consolation of Philosophy by the sixth century Roman philosopher and theologian, Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius [480-524 A.D.]. He composed this text in his prison cell where he...
Chapter 6: Confucian Humanism and the Western Enlightenment
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In an essay entitled, "Crisis and Creativity: A Confucian Response to the Second Axial-Age Civilization,"1 I asked how Confucianism could enrich the spiritual resources of the Western Enlightenment without abandoning its comprehensive...
Chapter 7: Essence and Continuity of Life in the African Society
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What is the purpose and meaning of human life? This, the mother of all questions, has baffled philosophers and theologians in all societies throughout the ages. Likewise, the question that naturally follows: What is the destiny of a human being within...
Chapter 8: Return of the "Native"
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Somewhere, during the course of its historical development, Western thought took a sharp tum in another direction. It branched off as a tangent from the collective heritage of all humanity and claimed the autonomy of reason. It chose to follow that reason alone, unguided by revelation and cut off from the Intellect that...
Chapter 9: Unity Between the Values of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty
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We are now facing a new age. This does not mean that we are simply entering the 21st century. The world is confronted with new challenges: the ethos of globalization penetrating every...
Part III: Insights from Art, Language and Literature
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Thoughts are the molecules of a society. The emotions they articulate, the attitudes they project, and the desires they embody define the spirit of the time. Thus, it is necessary to reflect on the significance of intellectual and spiritual resources as the essential elements...
Chapter 10: Towards Noosphere
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In the 1920s, Teilhard de Chardin [1881-1955] and Vladimir Vemadsky [1863-1945] developed the concept "noosphere." It emerged in an exchange of ideas between these two great minds, while the latter was lecturing at the Sorbonne, after fleeing...
Chapter 11: Progress: A Tale of Galoshes of Fortune and of a Shoe that Fits
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Hans Christian Andersen's vision of progress captured the advantages of wealth, the thrill of scientific discovery, the miracles of technological innovation and all of these promising greater horizons for the adventure of human life. He held that the rapid advance...
Chapter 12: Philosophical Reflection on the Path of Art
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In Japan, there are two concepts, the "Way" and the "path," which govern the human journey towards understanding life-its meaning and its harmony. Both are essential to transcendence from the level of phenomenal experience to an encounter with the "Value...
Chapter 13: The Dynamic Now---A Poet's Counsel
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This moment, just past the edge of a new millennium, has startling urgency for issues of social progress. Moral outrages continue with tireless re-invention in many parts of the world. Ethnic cleansing and rape, ever subtler modes of racial and class oppression...
Part IV: Values for a Global Society
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Individuals and institutions have the power to promote or to discourage moral and spiritual values. These values do not belong to some abstract realm. They take on very practical meaning in the daily life of people and the regular functioning of institutions, be...
Chapter 14: The Moral Power of the United Nations
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The world needs a more powerful United Nations. First and foremost, peace and security, more than any other time in history, require the organized cooperation of national governments under a legitimate global authority. A great number of increasingly...
Chapter 15: Development Reflecting Human
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Development inherently disrupts the material conditions and human interactions through which specific cultures and values are maintained. In the most favorable circumstances, and especially when development is endogenous and progressive, a new culture and new or modified values emerge to maintain a community...
Chapter 16: Language and the Human Spirit
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Every nation should treasure its language, just as it should treasure its natural surroundings, its heritage, and its means of sustenance. More than the eloquence of its sounds and structure, language is the voice of a nation's thought, the vehicle of its history...
Chapter 17: Values and Leadership in Managing High Performance Financial Firms
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The cab hit another pothole as it lurched its way towards the firm's offices in lower Manhattan in the late autumn of 1998. Its sole passenger was a distressed John Gardner, 47, the chief executive of Carter-Winter, a major New York investment bank. He had...
Chapter 18: Principles in the Practice of Diplomacy: A Personal Experience in International Affairs
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In 1513, Niccolo Machiavelli, wrote to Lorenzo Di Medici: With the utmost diligence I have long pondered and scrutinized the actions of the great, and now I offer the results to Your Highness( ... ) and although I deem this work unworthy of Your Highness's acceptance, yet my confidence in your humanity...
Chapter 19: Ethics in Diplomacy: Crises of Conscience and Self-Interest
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For many years, I have been taken by a phrase in the Unsahneh Tokef, a prayer about God's judgment that Jews recite on the High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The phrase says, "The great Shofar is sounded, and a still small voice is heard."...
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Candles in the Dark challenges contemporary societies with ideas to awaken thought to brighter horizons and a sense of a better, realizable state of the world. In critically exploring and offering inspiration for desirable and practical modifications in the prevalent conception of development and progress, this book is eutopian as it...
Publication Year: 2002