My Personal Philosophy of Global Citizenship

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A response to the prompt "What is your personal philosophy of global citizenship" for my global studies class.

Submitted: July 22, 2012

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Submitted: July 22, 2012



There’s Nothing New Under the Sun

A look into Globalization, what it means to be a global citizen,

and the significance behind being, thinking, and acting globally.

Collin C. Anderson


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My Philosophy of Global Citizenship

Globalization is an anomaly. It is a byproduct rather than a creation. The titanic wave of civilization has been surging across the world since man decided to leave nomadism. Breakthroughs in intellect, science, philosophy, and countless other disciplines are left behind in its wake. A certain phenomena occurs when human constructs, such as the aforementioned disciplines, reach pandemic levels. The civilized world has created a network of ideas that are so encompassing, so incredibly impenetrable, that the veritable humanity inside us all gets repressed so that we can function in a society that forces its rigid normalcy upon all of whom it comes in contact with. In history, when wide spread civilization encountered new people, land, culture, and ideas, globalization is what was left in the rubble as a connection was made between the old and the new. A global citizen sees this exact connection, recognizes the value of the new culture and peoples, and works to break through the tethers of normal society to embrace them. Global citizens don’t define and stratify others; instead, they extol the beauty that exists in all humanity, and act in accordance with that principle.

*note to the reader—when I say society in this work, I mean the collective cultural memory of the masses that blindly accepts inherited concepts of economics, politics, philosophy etc. that go unchallenged i.e. the Western tradition. The populace is not society— instead, society dictates the actions of the populace, an important distinction I wish to make.

It would seem as though the human race has progressed. People seem to be living longer, healthier, and happier lives. Innovation has spewed out gadgets that make everyday life convenient. Faster, safer, and more economical ways of transportation can bring us around the block or around the world in ways unimaginable to people from generations past. Because of all of this however, the modern world has reached a point of no return. A paradox has surfaced through the development of man throughout history. All of these constructs of man that have been making life longer, healthier, happier, and more expedient have also been inversely poisoning the fiber of our being. All of human progress has looked to solve and to compensate for the deficits inherent in human nature, but as we patch up our innate shortcomings with all that comes with modern society, we also cover up the original humanity inside us all.

Humans have succeeded far beyond the expectation of any man in fixing what is identified by society as broken. In doing so we’ve created a metaphorical antibiotic, which, while getting rid of the injurious bacteria as intended, also depletes humans of the good bacteria that fortifies and protects us instinctually. History shows that we have managed to rid ourselves of the things that we recognize as ailing us, but in doing so, we have allowed a far more insidious disease to take hold. This obfuscating of our natural tendencies has proven to create problems on levels that no one is prepared to deal with, and because of this social, political, and economic disorder has gripped our world to its very core. A global citizen sees how the world is choking. They recognize the instability and disordered nature that the human race has adapted over its history, but a global citizen is not a cynic. A global citizen sees the issues that others would call insurmountable, yet sees the importance in trying. Causes that the most esteemed academics and political theorists would call lost are the same things that a global citizen fights for. In the most basic sense, a global citizen sees the turbulent, polluted, and depleted world as being not only salvageable, but also worth the all of the effort involved in its salvation. And perhaps most importantly, a global citizen never lies down to die.

In regards to my own global citizenship, I must address the roots of the status. I’ll begin with the fact that I am a very social person, and understanding humans is something that has come natural to me my entire life. My intense desire to help and understand people led me to want to major in psychology. I applied to universities with the goal in mind of studying psychology with a pre-medical track, and eventually becoming a pediatric psychiatrist. At my orientation at Providence College in June of 2011, I couldn’t help but be plagued by the sentiment that even something as esteemed as a medical doctor wouldn’t satiate my need for something bigger. It didn’t make sense to me that even when our society aggrandizes doctors as the paradigm of knowledge, wealth, and goodness, I felt like even that wasn’t enough. In retrospect, I know exactly why I felt the way I did. The realization is crucial to discovering the roots of a global citizen. I now know that the reason I was unsatisfied with the idea of becoming a doctor was because I was relying on society’s idea of what it meant to do something bigger than one’s self, and not my own. Even though I grew up in the throws of what it means to be modern and first world, I came to the conclusion that it is fine, and even necessary in many ways to disagree with the sentiment of the masses, because often times the masses themselves have no reason or rationality to their standpoints. The reason I am giving so much detail to this event in my global citizenship philosophy is because it’s the precise moment when I became one.

A global citizen never lies down to die. This concept is one of the most important in my philosophy. Everything about the Western tradition, and the way I was raised, begged me to conform, and thence submit to be anesthetized by it. Our society praises compliance and obedience. It awards those who fight tirelessly to meet its strict definition of success. To succeed under the precepts created by our society has proven to mean nothing, and it shows in the one of the true travesties of our age—that in Western thought success is not synonymous with happiness. What it all boils down to is that success is measured in money. This is where a global citizen will not lie down and die. I cannot submit to the principle that money makes the world go ‘round because doing so would be admitting defeat, and accepting one of the greatest fallacies in the thought of our time. That attitude is what gives energy to the tidal wave of modern civilization. The quest for money causes all of the innovation and development that brought forth the alienation of our natural selves.

When it comes to the thought process, and beliefs of a global citizen, there is one central, yet complicated aspect. I strongly believe that a global citizen is at heart a communist, and it is absolutely fundamental in the philosophy of global citizenship. Now, as bold and provocative as that seems, I stand by it. When I say a communist and speak of communism, I am referring to the nature and ideas of communism at its origin, not the political maelstrom that came out of it. Communism, even down to the root of the word, is based in the idea of a global community, with a universal brotherhood intrinsic in all men. However, a global citizen differs in the application and implications of Marxist communism. Allow me to explain; communism as defined by Marx, relies on the belief that there are a number of universal truths about humanity. These universal truths are what he described as being alienated in the factories of the industrialized world. He speaks of workers who, when in the factory, are denied social contact, closeness with nature, pride in their work, and all individual identity. These universal truths about humanity are exactly the truths that I speak of when I say modern conveniences have repressed the natural tendencies—universal truths—of man, and here, global citizens are communistic. While Marx and Engel spoke of this idea and applied it to the factories, I am stating that this alienation that Marx said was found in the proletariat actually transcends the work force, which is where global citizens diverge in their thinking from Marx.

As a global citizen, and with the experiences and knowledge that I have analyzed, I can see this alienation manifesting itself in ways that Marx couldn’t even fathom. To tie it all together, anyone person on this earth that has a connection to money and capital experiences the oppressive alienation of their natural tendencies as money becomes the goal and means of life. Marx stratified the bourgeoisie and proletariat as different beasts, but global citizens see the alienation in every man, woman, and child, regardless of social standing. Which is why a global citizen is a communist in its nature and idea, because we crave the dissolution of power differentials that end in exploitation, but not a true communist, because we recognize alienation across the board, just manifesting itself differently at the hands of the free market. Furthermore, and perhaps more politically, when I said the idea and nature of communism is what a global citizen is sympathetic to, I meant that Marx relied on, and believed, that there would be a certain tipping point in which the proletariat would gather macrocosmically to institute a communist state, which is the most ambiguous, most argued over, and the single most crucial part of his theory.

That is the part of communism is another aspect that I cannot agree with, and the part that is so important when looked at from a globalization standpoint, and furthermore as a global citizen. What Marx is describing, even with the best intentions, is still a power differential between the rich and the poor, he just wanted to turn it upside down upon the rich. A global citizen isn’t anti-rich people, who are also alienated pawns of society at large. In regards to the crucial uprising of the proletariat I also disagree with Marx. More accurately, the reason I’m not politically a communist, is that Marx put his movement in the hands of the common people to come to fruition. The flaw in his reasoning is that he misunderstood another resounding piece of human nature—self-preservation. He neglected to look at the reality of people accepting a long term sweeping vision of the communist state versus their powerful sense of self-preservation. I can see now, and so can global citizens everywhere, that self-preservation became a weakness that the capitalist market preyed upon, and still does. It’s hard to comprehend someone submitting to alienation of person, but when self-preservative factors are added to the same hypothetical, it is easy to see how men will take any and all alienation to have food on their family’s plates, and a roof over their heads. The proletariats never rose together as one, because the market ensured that they would fail.

Many people approach globalization thinking that the first world ignorantly exploits the third world through irresponsible consumerism. Others might say that a small population hoards all the world’s money, and through greed they deny it from others in need. The way a global citizen looks at globalization is different. The idea I posed about alienation transcending the proletariat means that not just the poor are subject to victimization. As a rule, no one from the general population of the first world would personally, one on one, exploit another human. I might sound optimistic, but this is a firm belief of mine that human nature is not intrinsically bad. The reason that the first world is equally victimized, just in a different way, is that society and the free market force these naturally good people to starve, injure, and kill others indirectly through consumerism. On another level, the people in the first world submit to this alienation for the same reason the poor working class would—self-preservation. The free market has the system so soundly arranged that if consumers from the first world didn’t submit to this principle, terrible consequences would ensue. Anyone who challenges the system becomes a social outcast, loses his or her job, is forced to move from the safety and comfort they know, and encounters countless other issues. Society has the entire system designed to make all humans a tool for capital.

As a global citizen, I am not a cynic, and I see a solution to this problem. The silver lining is that now that the society has exhausted the new places in which it can manifest there are only two options an individual has anymore, to submit to the alienation, or to work outside the system. This is what global citizens do the best, because there is no other way to solve global issues. Making grassroots efforts based on universally experienced problems seems to be the sole outlet remaining for shaking off the chains of everything I’ve just detailed. I have come to realize that people, especially those in a democratic state, rely on the collective judgment of the population to solve problems. This bystander effect cannot continue. A global citizen takes responsibility in the collective shortcomings of man, and creates his or her own solutions. Through the pages of Walk Out Walk On, and numerous other accounts like it, we see global citizens identifying ways in which they fall short, but are ever working to restore themselves as humans in a global world. Creating your own rule book is the very essence behind the idea of walking out, and walking on. Deciding to not let society oppress you gives you an autonomy that endures, and then naturally manifests beyond your own spheres into the global community. A global citizen becomes a balloon that, when released from its ties, soars. People from the ground often can’t discern our trajectory, our height, or where we will end up in our quest, and quite frankly neither do we. What we do know is that as we race upwards into the sky we are truly free.

Now, while I could have approached writing this philosophy by rattling off the various research and experience that shows sad and starving African babies, Asian women being forced into the sex trade, or Latin Americans being turned into wage slaves, and saying that it’s a global citizen’s philosophy to help them. Well, of course I wouldn’t have been wrong that a global citizen must act, but that only discusses the topographical layer of global citizenship. Anyone can volunteer, or make a donation, and those are both very commendable and vital deeds. But someone who sends a monthly check to feed African children is not a global citizen. Someone who flies to the Philippines for a week to build a health clinic is not a global citizen. My philosophy of globalization has little do with action, because going out and acting is a natural result of becoming a global citizen, instead what I have been detailing is exactly as it should be, a philosophy of its origin. Someone who is a true global citizen understands that humanity at its core is beautiful and worth fighting for. Someone who is a true global citizen rejects conventionality, as it is an anesthetic, that forces submission into the system. I am a global citizen now, and with that role comes permanence, as well as a promise to fight to my wits end for the justification of mankind. I have dedicated my life to preserving the natural and universal part of humanity at the face of its greatest threat, submission. My job, as well as that of global citizens everywhere is thankless, tireless, and difficult, and will be around for all of posterity. A global citizen realizes that history repeats itself, leaders fall, legends are forgotten, and that there is nothing new under the sun, so we must make an impact on the globe while we are alive. We all feel a duty to do something bigger than ourselves, and we will.

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