Planetary Mentalities

This concept expresses a commitment to fostering new ways of seeing and valuing our delicate and imperilled relationships with our environments and each other. It is premised on recognition of the interdependency that now binds the fates of people wherever they are and fuelled by an enhanced sense of the special obligations that fall to the inhabitants of earth’s overdeveloped zones. Above all, it is animated by the need to elaborate a new geo-politics that can respond to the multiple challenges arising from the long-term demise of the nation state, its sovereignty and its solidarities. Artists, writers and intellectuals can make distinctive contributions to this urgent task. Their allegiance to creativity itself and to culture as a medium of communication become substantial assets. They can help to open up the political imagination to a stronger sense of the future, to move debate beyond the old agenda set by nation-building, and to nurture timely varieties of political morality in which influence and conversation will be more significant than force and absolute authority. The dialogues through which this innovative process must be conducted will be multi-lingual and trans-local. They will inevitably subject government to varieties of criticism stemming from broader than merely national considerations. They will draw corporate powers into new spheres of accountability that are beyond the mechanisms of the nation state system and promote critical institutions and dissident consciousness that will have to learn to operate with something of the same special fluidity which global capital has recently come to enjoy.

Paul Gilroy, Professor of American and English literature at King's College London, for Zamyn (2001)

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