Premises for an Inter-Cultural Gathering
- / -
of Towards Transformative Conferencing and Dialogue: Collection of papers and notes, problems and possibilities on the new frontier of high-risk gatherings concerning social development
1. Meaning of "the way forward": There is a need to articulate
understanding of what could be meant by "the way forward" in an inter-cultural
2. Seeing things whole: There is a need to explore new ways of seeing things as
a whole -- without losing sight of the parts for which each culture is responsible.
3. Inter-cultural maps: There is a need to come to an understanding of where
each cultural concern is located on a map of the functions essential to sustainability --
functions which, when pursued to excess, result in unsustainability.
4. Overall pattern: The complex of issues under discussion should preferably be
viewed as forming some meaningful overall pattern. Individual issues can usefully be seen
as pieces of a systemic "jig-saw puzzle" that we do not as yet fully understand
how to put together -- or what the completed "picture" might look like.
5. Beyond isolated bargains: There is a need to move beyond isolated bargains --
often only achieved at the price of unsustainable compromise in other areas. In this sense
"local" (namely cultur-specific) agreements tend to be achieved at the price of
6. Function of differences: There is a need to acknowledge the function of
differences between cultures. This contrasts with the hope that the differences can be
rendered insignificant within a global consensus -- thus making any such consensus a
competitive exercise in tokenism.
7. New patterns of communication: There is a need to struggle with the challenge
of understanding and articulating new patterns of inter-cultural activity, namely new
patterns of communication to sustain sustainability -- conceptual "ley lines".
These need to enhance understanding of the whole rather then focusing exclusively on links
between selected and privileged parts.
8. Necessary cultural constraints: Unless each culture recognizes the conditions
under which its action should be constrained, a culture of cultural self-righteousness
prevails. This imperils the emergence of any sustainable global pattern of new
9. Challenge to comprehension: Unless a culture can recognize how it is part of
the problem, it must necessarily be unable to understand the nature of the sustainable
10. Collective learning: The inter-cultural challenge may be seen as a challenge
of designing a collective learning process.
Think functionally, act strategically
Configure globally, challenge locally