Future philosophy vs. culture of inclusion
But it is clear that with the dropping of the atom bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, mankind was facing an entirely new situation. War has become not only mass murder but with the further development of the atom bomb the whole existence of the human race is at stake. We are in our time already so far that with the existing atomic weapons at the disposal of the various countries today we will be able to destroy the world many times over and with it of course the whole human race.
It is clear that in this new situation we have to change our way of thinking and our attitude towards our fellow men, and this is the subject of this conference.
In the process of the globalization of the world and human life, the various cultures which have developed throughout human history in various parts of the world come together not only in the metropolitan centers but everywhere, especially as a result of radio, television, newspapers and other mass media to arrive at an unprecedented confluence or even amalgamation.
The old philosophies of race, nationalism and religious exclusiveness must come to a broader thanking so that the conflicts which derive from different and often opposite ideas and orientations do not become an unmanageable conflict. We have to transcend our limitations and the controversies between ourselves and others by a radical new thinking and attitude.
A new, broader and all-inclusive philosophy of understanding and responsibility has to emerge. We did not ask to be born in our present race, in our present national state and in our present religion. Viewed from this standpoint, our present situation is an accident. I was born an Indonesian, but I could have been born an Eskimo, in the Eskimo culture and way of life. Viewed from this standpoint all societies and cultures are my own potentialities and possibilities. The people whom we consider to be others could be our own if we had been born among them.
In our time of rapid transportation and communication many people are moving around the world and staying in other countries among other social and cultural groups. It could not be otherwise then that we have to expand our consciousness about the other in the sense that the other are our potentialities and possibilities. We have not decided on our birth, our up bringing and education. Through marriage and so many other social and cultural contacts, through radio, television, books, magazines, we have become a part of the other. In this context there are no others, there is only our human race on a shrinking planet which is in danger of total annihilation through our own act by the tremendous progress of science and technology.
Coming to this point I would like to refer to my short opening speech in which I mentioned the epoch of the fifth century BC when in China, Confucius, Lao-tse, Moti and others laid the foundations of the great Chinese kingdom and civilization. In India lived Buddha Mahavira and the thinkers of the Upanishad, while it was King Asoka who unified the Indian subcontinent.
In the Middle East the Jewish prophets were wrestling with the concept of the Oneness of God out of which later emerged the religions of Christianity and Islam, while in Greece great philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle opened the way for our modern secular philosophy. It was Karl Jaspers who called the epoch of the fifth century BC the Achsenzeit, i.e the axis of history which still till today influences our life in the world. The people who have not been influenced by China, India, the Middle East and the Greece and Rome of that time are still primitive even today.
It is in this context interesting and important that among the thinkers who attempted to explain the simultaneous upsurge of social and cultural creativity around the fifth century BC, it was Alfred Weber who came to the conclusion that the simultaneous social and cultural upsurge around the fifth century was caused or at least related to the utilization of the horse as steed and draft animal. The man on the horse is a being different from the pedestrian: he has more self-confidence and another feeling of time and space. It was the use of the horse with power and speed which enabled the establishment of the great Chinese kingdom, the unification of India under Asoka and the unification of the Middle East and Europe under the Romans.
It is clear that viewed from this standpoint we are today in an incomparably greater epoch than the fifth Century BC. Only compare the speed of the horse and the airplane. As stated the borders between nations disappear. A new world society and culture emerge greater than any in the past, while the nation states have to organize themselves in a new world-federation. Only then can the devastating danger to the world and humanity be overcome, since the member states of the world federation would not need to arm themselves in the organization of the world-federation.
But today we are still very far from that situation. A new attitude of universal solidarity has to emerge so that the rhetoric of exclusion disappears, to be replaced by the universal communication of togetherness and solidarity, in other words by a Culture of Inclusion.
This excerpt was taken from Alisjahbana’s unpublished paper, which presented for the International Conference on Other in Discourse: the Rhetoric and Politics of Exclusion May 6-9, 1993 in Toronto, Canada organized by Victoria University. Prof. Alisjahbana was made the honorary president of the conference in absentia as he was unable to attend due to health problems. Alisjahbana died on July 17, 1994. The publication of this article is a part of the commemoration of the 100th birthday of the writer and scientist.
Sumber: Jakarta Post, February 13, 2008