• Victor V. Motti

Good Future and the Planetary Identity   

Updated: Feb 12

In my book, Alternative Planetary Futures, obviously a key focus is an advocacy for a planetary identity. It can be achieved by learning how to adopt in our adulthood the new virtues that define fluid, colorless, and decentralized identity. This should make a contrast and therefore a counter-trend against the common trend of rising nationalist-religious, and sometimes ethnicity based, identity politics. For me, a preferred future is that when the placelessness will triumph all over the world. So I cannot hide my exhilaration about the recent Oscar movie award for the best picture given to a Korean director, Bong Joon-ho, for the movie Parasite (2019). Even more exciting was the key theme of another award winner who delivered his message during this year movie awards ceremonies in the UK and the US. The theme of the planetary identity was both emotionally and masterfully highlighted by the actor Joaquin Phoenix. He drew our attention to gender inequality and racism and made a deep point about the fight against injustice. This is a fight against the belief that one nation, one people, one race, one gender, or one species, has the right to dominate or control, to exploit the other with impunity--to echo his touching words. Planetary identity, in my view, is indeed a call toward terminating radical ethnic or national-religious identity or superiority of certain group of people. Some key players in the digital platforms are also focusing their efforts at fighting the myth of centrality of a group of people which often results in more hatred, violence and even people killing their fellow humans for nothing other than an illusory belief of superiority. For example, YouTube is now actively deleting videos on Nazi history, in particular Hitler's speeches, through its crackdown campaign on hate speech. However, such an approach is not wise, holistic and integral by itself. It is simply erasing the problem statement without offering much effective and practical solution. The problem will continue to exist in the mind of people who support extremism. Making laws to forbid expressions of such visions and enforcing decentralized identities are also not enough. History will repeat itself tragically if people are not well convinced in their mindsets to reconsider their firm beliefs shaped generation after generation throughout history.

Truth is that even among more progressive people it is quite accepted as a norm to use terms such as Asian-American or African-American but rarely German or Irish or Italian or English-American. This treatment shaped on a background of still alive colonialism is more visible when authors or speakers from non-Western origins who have lived and worked many years as immigrants in their new countries are often introduced in publications, conferences and events as someone born outside. They say, for example, meet this Indian, or Pakistani, or Middle East born author or speaker. They add such qualifiers even if those successful immigrants talk in general about the world affairs from a colorless perspective and do not like to self identify in that line or pigeonholed category.

Therefore the challenge of building a planetary identity is two fold. On the one hand, a group of outright extremists who are openly condescending. They are against other races or identity groups and attack them in broad daylight. On the other hand, another group has mentally and automatically adopted the same set of virtues or attitude albeit in a more subtle and implicit worldview. Planetary identity is about the common roots of humanity, period. Neither explicit nor implicit offenses should be tolerated. Today we are facing mostly the challenge of identity crisis primarily based on geography and world power structure. However, in my vision for the alternative planetary futures, even job based identities or professional disciplines should be dealt with too. We are tended to say that we are somebody by making our job titles or our field of expertise as having a greater role or importance in society. In a jobless future that could happen because of the technological full structural unemployment what will we do or say? Are we prepared to call people who do not have a job, nobody at all? Defining our identity by linking it to the job titles will become a problematic issue as to be somebody versus to be nobody will be an emerging binary opposition of the longer term future. This is essentially the same challenge when native nationals of world powers or believers in a particular religion consider themselves somebody and the rest as nobody. So what is the solution? Is it preaching to the choir? Or it is better to become more sensitive to unwise labels of identity now and in the future. We should go to talk to our colleagues, coworkers, family members, our country men and women and convince them to change their minds. We should help them answer in a wise manner the question that why they are making bold their centralized identity. For this aim, we not only need award winner actors to raise the public awareness, or laws restricting the expression of hate toward the alien identity and thereby enforcing a fake respect for the other, or even erasing the harmful content from the web pages.

We need to learn, to apply and to teach the art of persuasion. We should purposefully make an impact on the evolving conscious mind of ourselves towards the good future which will be built by Humata, Huxta, Huvarshta , or integrally Good Thoughts, Good Words, and Good Deeds together.


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