Along the Fault Lines of Civilization

Along the fault lines of Civilization

Katelynn is an internationally acclaimed screenwriter. She is writing a script for a movie production. The movie’s main theme is on high-level international politics with a subplot of immorality that threatens the security of all those involved. Her director, Emilo, has told her recently that with the heightened sponsorship of this production it could be in the same league as The Great Dictator, A Passage to India, Battle of Algiers and Lawrence of Arabia.

Katelynn stares at the screen of her Apple Mac Book Pro with some words written in a Microsoft Word document. Mentally she reviews the plot of the movie; “OK, we have a bunch of do-gooders who believe that despite the world’s differences in cultures, social customs, languages, religions, cuisine, traditions, politics and philosophy that they can create the changes to bring about harmony and peace on this planet…Wow this is one tall order for a plot, but interesting though.”

Katelynn is sipping a hot cup of Grande Bold coffee that she just brought back from Starbucks, and looks at the massive library of books in the room around her. She spots a book that she had glanced through a long time ago titled, “The Clash of Civilizations by Samuel Huntington.” She takes it down from the shelf, thumbs through some of the pages and a sentence on one of the pages catches her attention, “The conflicts of the Western world were largely among princes, emperors, absolute monarchs and constitutional monarchs attempting to expand their bureaucracies, their armies, their mercantilist economic strength and, most important, the territory they ruled.”

The strong Starbucks coffee and these words seem to have stimulated her memories of history lessons and she thinks, “And then along came the French revolution after which the principal lines of conflict were between nations rather than princes.”

She continues reading, “the conflict of nations yielded to the conflict of ideologies, first among communism, fascism-Nazism and liberal democracy, and then between communism and liberal democracy.”

Katelynn continues her continuous thoughts,  “Well that struggle between communism and liberal democracy… during the Cold War…between the two superpowers.”

Katelynn flips through a few more pages of the book as her thoughts are rushing as she tries to relate the material she is reading, to what she will continue writing on the script. She comes across another interesting part of the book, “With the end of the Cold War, international politics moves out of its Western phase, and its center-piece becomes the interaction between the West and non-Western civilizations and among non-Western civilizations.”

 “Well this is almost the approximate stage the world is in now. West and Non-West. I’m on to something here. But wait Samuel Huntington is making another point here.”

 “It is my hypothesis that the fundamental source of conflict in this new world will not be primarily ideological or primarily economic.”

 “I would have thought that economic factors would have been the greatest source of conflict…but let me see he is trying to say.”

Katelynn continues reading, “The great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural.”

“ Wow! Interesting but sort of makes sense. And good movie title – THE CULTURAL DIVIDE.” Katelyn can almost hear her thoughts out loud as a faint smile envelops her face. She places her delicate fingers on the keyboard of the laptop and types “The Cultural Divide” on the Microsoft Word document.

She picks up the book, walks over to the window and continues reading, “Principal conflicts of global politics will occur between nations and groups of different civilizations. The clash of civilizations will be the battle lines of the future.”

Katelynn jumps as her cell phone vibrates on the table and starts to ring. She quickly walks over to the table puts the book down and picks up the phone.

“Hello, Katelynn here.”

“Hi Katelynn, its Emilo. I’m thinking about this script. I’m asking myself what really is civilization.”

“At a high level Emilo it has the elements, such as language, history, religion, and customs.”

“Help me with this logic Katelynn. Look for example a resident of Rome may call herself Roman. But she can also say she’s an Italian, a Catholic, a Christian, a European. You know what I mean.”

“Yes Emilio. But she can call herself a Westerner. Right?”

“Ok Katelynn, I think I see where your are getting at.”

“You see Emillio, a civilization is really the highest cultural grouping of people and the broadest level of cultural identity people have short of that which distinguishes humans from other species.”

“OK so I get it Katelynn, so this Save the World group in your script is trying to stop the clash of civilizations?”

“That’s right on, Emilio. But we have to look at the definition of civilization at the highest level of categorization. Today those highest categories would be Western, Confucian, Japanese, Islamic, Hindu, Slavic-Orthodox, Latin American and African civilizations.”

“Yes, I can see it. You are bang on, Katelynn that the conflicts today are actually occurring along the fault lines of civilization. We have a big task ahead to build that into the script.”

Emillio, I think it’s important that we understand the realities of what’s occurring around us. Then we can carve a script that portrays the reality of the situation.”

They hang up the call. Katelynn picks up the book off the table heads over to the bookshelf replaces it and picks up another one by Krishnamurti. Flips it open and her eyes land on these words, “Whether we live east or west of a certain line, whether we are brown, black, white or yellow, we are all human beings, suffering and hoping, fearful and believing; joy and pain exist here as they exist there.”

Katelynn slowly walks back to her desk in deep meditation, takes a seat and starts rapidly typing away on her laptop. “Civilizations may vary according to climate, environment, food, but culture throughout the world is fundamentally the same:  to be compassionate, to shun evil, to be generous, not to be envious, to forgive, and so on.  Without
this fundamental culture, any civilization, whether here or there, will disintegrate or be destroyed…”

Bibliography and additional reading:

The clash of civilizations

 Ethnic Minorities and the Clash of Civilizations

Ancient Earth: Mysteries of Our Home Planet

Books by Krishnamurti

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