By Johan Galtung*
There is much diversity. Let us praise that mega aspect of our world as multipolar, passive but peaceful, coexistence of civilizations:
Anglo-American; Latin American-Caribbean; Islamic; African pre-, post-colonial; European from Ireland to Russia Far East; West Asian Islamic; with Israel Jewish; Iran Persian; South Asian, SAARC, Hindu and Islamic with India; Southeast Asian, ASEAN, Buddhist, Christian, multi-cultural; Northeast Asian daoist-shinto with China and Japan; Asian-Pacific, multi-cultural, with Maoris, Aborigines, Polynesians, Micronesians, Melanesians from one rim to the other.
14 civilizations. Others stop counting at 8, 10. Around that.
What a wonderful, diverse, polyphonic world! Not monophonic US or European all over, as they both have wanted and maybe still want.
To be celebrated as part of a formula for endurance and duration. The other part is symbiosis. Man-woman diversity is fine; the other part is man-woman symbiosis, celebrated in half of world literature?
Civilization diversity is fine, so is symbiosis. Meaning what?
The standard answer: dialogue. “This is our position; what is yours?” Good enough for getting to know each other across gaps of differences. But not good enough for symbiosis, for “living together”-ness.
What more is needed, beyond “dialogue of civilizations”?
Like for man-woman: creating something new. A real dialogue goes beyond getting to know each other to mutual learning, beyond mutual learning to mutual visions, and beyond that to mutual practice.
Thus, Christianity and Islam could join in producing a Chrislam, Hinduism and Buddhism a Hinbuism, Daoism and Shinto a Daoshin.
The civilizations we know, and often celebrate as if they were eternal, arose like that. That wonderful process will not stop by somebody putting a lid on it: “You have us; that is all you need”.
They may try, but will not succeed. Seeds under ice burst forth. Seeds of new civilizations under the present will also burst forth.
*Johan Galtung, a professor of peace studies, dr hc mult, is founder of TRANSCEND International and rector of TRANSCEND Peace University. He was awarded among others the 1987 Right Livelihood Award, known as the Alternative Nobel Peace Prize. Galtung has mediated in over 150 conflicts in more than 150 countries, and written more than 170 books on peace and related issues, 96 as the sole author. More than 40 have been translated to other languages, including 50 Years-100 Peace and Conflict Perspectives published by TRANSCEND University Press. His book, Transcend and Transform, was translated to 25 languages. He has published more than 1700 articles and book chapters and over 500 Editorials for TRANSCEND Media Service. More information about Prof. Galtung and all of his publications can be found at transcend.org/galtung.