The Singaporean diplomat Kishore Mahbubani points in his stimulating book "Has the West lost it?" (2018) at a curious paradox.
In many ways, the world never looked better than today.
People live longer and healthier, more peaceful and safer than any moment in history.
According to Mahbubani, this enormous improvement in human destiny is due to Western practices and ideas that have seeped through to other societies.
Namely: the ideas of science, liberal democracy, free market and the Enlightenment. And yet opinion polls show that people are nowhere more pessimistic than in the West.
That widespread pessimism is harmful. Anyone who wants to create a better world must first believe that such a thing is possible at all.
Westerners who have lost their faith in progress soon fall into fatalism and cynicism.
In addition, exaggerated doom images can also inspire panic reactions, because of which we opt for remedies that are worse than the disease.
Examples are the desire to build a Wall, isolationism and nationalism, anti-migration, white supremacy thinking and populism in politics.
The book of Kishore Mahbubani is only 98 pages, if you don't include notes and register, but it is a huge cold shower for Westerners.
Kishore Mahbubani, a former diplomat, is professor of Practice of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore.
For centuries, China and India were the two largest economies in the world. Only in the last two hundred years Europe and America became successful.
There is no Western leader who dares to say that this period of Western hegemony is coming to an end.
But the population does experience the consequences of this landslide every day. Trump as president, the Brexit and other politically remarkable events can partly be explained by it.
There is no question of a coherent strategy for dealing with the new situation. Instead, the West goes wild
by attacking Iraq, bombing Syria, imposing sanctions on Russia and inciting China and recently the murder of an Iranian governmental official.
In his polemic book, Kishore Mahbubani states that the West can no longer impose its will on the world as a whole.
It must learn to share or even cede its current position. Is that going to work?
If you may believe the pessimists around us, we are awaiting a dark future.
The contemporary black viewers and pessimists can be reduced to four basic types.
Each has a different perspective on the course of history, but what they share is their rejection of belief in progress.
It is enlightening to distinguish the four types from each other because each has different shapes that you would not immediately associate with each other. Each also has its own pitfalls.
Let's start this short project and the year 2020 with great optimism. May the new year bring you good health and a clear mind....
Thank you for your attention.....
MacMillan The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd edition
Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1995
Dagblad TROUW (2019)
Dagblad TROUW (2019)
[13:16] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman
[13:16] herman Bergson: In the next lectures we'll discuss the different pessimists :-)
[13:16] CB Axel is wondering what type of pessimist I am
[13:16] herman Bergson whispers: Interesting question, CB :-)
[13:17] herman Bergson: We'll see :-)
[13:17] bergfrau Apfelbaum: thank you Herman and happy new year you all :-)
[13:17] herman Bergson: I distinguish four types, but maybe none of them will fit you :-)
[13:18] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): maybe a caring for the world one CB:)
[13:18] Al Michigan: i always thought , the war mongering of today was about keeping the dollars value, because if the dollar falls,.... So being the dominant factor in trading energy, is the only and last lifesaver for the USA(the petrodollar...)
[13:18] herman Bergson: Yes....a fifth and unique type ^_^
[13:18] CB Axel: I think you're right about that AI.
[13:19] Al Michigan: that would mean , since that fight will be lost in the end, that war will have made the whole world our enemy...
[13:20] Al Michigan: for being white and there for being complicit... you inow what i mean?
[13:20] herman Bergson: There still is no war
[13:20] CB Axel: I think Europe is beginning to get smart and not trust the US any more.
[13:20] Al Michigan: i was thinking about the way trump is like bullying the whole world
[13:21] herman Bergson: That is one good point CB
[13:21] Al Michigan: the war he is waging with Europe, with russia, china, africa, arabia... south america.... central american countries
[13:21] herman Bergson: and it is what Mahbubani writes.....The West has to lower its voice and big mouth....
[13:22] Al Michigan: if us loose that war,... who will be his ast friend?
[13:22] Al Michigan: or will the usa be torn to pieces
[13:22] Al Michigan: but Europe is also bullied
[13:22] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): there is no war yet
[13:22] herman Bergson: We have 10 months to go with Trump at the US helm....
[13:22] CB Axel: I downloaded that book just now. I can't wait to read it.
[13:23] Al Michigan: 10 months and 4 more years, mr bergman...
[13:23] herman Bergson: It is interesting reading CB
[13:23] herman Bergson: We'll see, Al :-)
[13:24] Al Michigan: the only one that is possible to avoid that is a bullet between his eyes...
[13:24] herman Bergson: But I must agree....I don't see a strong opponent at the Dem side to face T
[13:24] Al Michigan: 8 million dollars had been offered to them man that kills him, by Iran army
[13:24] herman Bergson: That would be very wrong Al, that would made him a martyr of the white supremacists....
[13:25] Al Michigan: indeed
[13:25] Al Michigan: it would make the position off the muslim in us hopeless.
[13:25] herman Bergson: But we aren't discussing here T. but the strange fact that typically the West shows such pessimism....
[13:25] Al Michigan: US*
[13:25] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): are you a muslim Al?
[13:26] Al Michigan: i am a qoranist.
[13:26] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): what means?
[13:26] herman Bergson: World order is changing ...that is for sure
[13:27] Al Michigan: there is the islam off the imams, and there is the islam off the qor'an
[13:27] Al Michigan: a qoranist believes the qor'an
[13:27] herman Bergson: Yes...there are differences
[13:27] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): ok
[13:28] herman Bergson: But it is a bit questionable to believe in a book, unless it is a science book ^_^
[13:28] herman Bergson: However...ethics is not a science....
[13:28] Al Michigan: indeed there is a difference to BELIEVE a book, and to know science.
[13:29] herman Bergson: But our hope can be based on our export product: logical reasoning
[13:29] Al Michigan: indeed!
[13:30] Al Michigan: a believe doesn't need logic, or science.
[13:30] Al Michigan: and science is not much interested in beliefs.
[13:30] herman Bergson: let me add to that this....Aristotelian logic...from the old Greeks... there are scientists that claim, that he got the basic ideas from India
[13:31] herman Bergson: A belief even doesn't need rationality, Al
[13:31] herman Bergson: and that is a worrisome aspect :-)
[13:32] herman Bergson: the pessimists we'll discuss are also believers
[13:32] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): we can believe anything, can't we?
[13:32] Al Michigan: tru
[13:33] herman Bergson: yes, of course.....we can believe that there are Martians on Mars
[13:33] Al Michigan: i even believe it s harder to not believe, that to believe, especially what we want to belief
[13:33] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): Santa on the norht pole:)
[13:33] CB Axel: well, everyone believes in something.
[13:33] Al Michigan: black Peter being racist
[13:34] herman Bergson: We can't escape believing....a lot of science is based on assumptions (believes)...take for instance the BIG BANG theory...
[13:34] Al Michigan: omg, yeah the big bang.... if there was ever a believe...
[13:34] herman Bergson: But to me the most important thing is, that the deductions from such assumptions can be tested factually
[13:35] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): hi Aletheia
[13:35] AletheiaThrale: hi
[13:35] herman Bergson: Hello Truth ^_^
[13:36] herman Bergson: My Greek is rusty, but I may be lucky here
[13:36] AletheiaThrale: pretty close...
[13:36] Al Michigan: alopetia,... isn t that a disaese?
[13:36] AletheiaThrale: :)
[13:37] herman Bergson: Welcome Aletheia :-)
[13:37] Al Michigan: hi aletia!
[13:37] AletheiaThrale: thanks herman
[13:37] AletheiaThrale: hi Al
[13:38] herman Bergson: But I have to disappoint you...the lecture is over and we pleasantly tried to stay on topic in our discussion :-))
[13:38] AletheiaThrale: oh no!
[13:38] herman Bergson: It is every Tuesday and Thursday at 1 PM SL-time, Aletheia
[13:38] AletheiaThrale: I wasn't clear-- I thought it was-- but then you were here-- so I became hopeful again
[13:39] AletheiaThrale: so I am thrust back into my usual pessimism
[13:39] herman Bergson: we're not yet done.....four lectures to go still to be certain of that ^_^
[13:40] AletheiaThrale: Im hoping a rationale for optimism will be forthcoming
[13:40] herman Bergson: A second goal of these lectures is to find out what kind of pessimist (alleged) CB is :-)
[13:40] CB Axel: :)
[13:41] AletheiaThrale: ah-- well that would take some investigation
[13:41] Al Michigan: i thought i am i person with a lot off hope
[13:41] herman Bergson: Me too Al, but we can't deny the existence of pessimists in the West
[13:41] AletheiaThrale: I'm generally absurdly hopeful for a brief period as I start the day and then lapse into a profound malaise
[13:41] AletheiaThrale: which is certainly largely composed of pessimism
[13:42] herman Bergson: People in China and India for instance are very optimistic about their world
[13:42] AletheiaThrale: in India?
[13:42] Al Michigan: tru, Jordan Peterson would say, that this society give less and less opportunities for young men to lift some responsibilities on his shoulders
[13:42] Al Michigan: their shoulders*
[13:43] AletheiaThrale: maybe young man are more given to indecision or less disposed to lift such burdens
[13:43] herman Bergson: Read Mahbubani Aletheia :-)
[13:43] AletheiaThrale: burdens it seems to be are usually plentiful
[13:43] AletheiaThrale: mahbubani?
[13:43] AletheiaThrale: hmm
[13:44] Al Michigan: maybe the point that society here are more and more lost in protocils have a lot to do with it...
[13:44] Al Michigan: a protocol takes the responsibilities away.
[13:44] herman Bergson: Kishore Mahbubani , "Has the West lost it?" (2018)
[13:44] AletheiaThrale: oh-- yes-- I see-- sounds interesting
[13:44] AletheiaThrale: I rather think we have
[13:45] Al Michigan: and the possibility to chose, and with that, feel the full-filing responsibilities a job can give if you take that and make the right choices
[13:45] AletheiaThrale: just a sec-- doorbell
[13:45] herman Bergson: Interesting....a doorbell :-)
[13:46] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): everyone makes his own choices Al
[13:46] Al Michigan: well what else, except for raising a boy, is there for a man to do with his life?
[13:46] herman Bergson: Raising two boys or a girl?? :-)
[13:46] Al Michigan: and become some one he can bare to see in the mirror at the end off his life?
[13:46] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): raising a girl perhaps?
[13:47] Al Michigan: you know what i mean...
[13:47] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): no
[13:47] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): tell us
[13:48] Al Michigan: raising a kid is doing some thing with your subconsciousness... it relieves a natrural ruche
[13:48] Al Michigan: same as with sex
[13:48] Al Michigan: you ever met a men that is a virgin?
[13:48] Al Michigan: and with work
[13:48] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yes several
[13:48] Al Michigan: what makes it satisfying?
[13:48] herman Bergson: All nice and well, AL, but this is a bit of topic
[13:48] Al Michigan: making right choices
[13:48] Al Michigan: so it works
[13:48] Al Michigan: ,... because off you
[13:48] Al Michigan: there is not some thing els to do.
[13:49] Al Michigan: sorry mr herman
[13:49] Carma Caerndow is offline.
[13:49] herman Bergson: Well, I am more optimistic.....you could be a scientist or a social worker too
[13:49] Al Michigan: i just gave answer to a question
[13:49] Al Michigan: but then too you make decisions, and the at will make you happy
[13:49] herman Bergson: That's ok
[13:50] Darks Adria is online.
[13:50] herman Bergson: And that is why we'll discuss our Western pessimism here.....it leads to the wrong choices for the future, I fear ...
[13:51] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): the glas is half full, not half empty
[13:51] herman Bergson: So, unless you have that final question or remark......
[13:51] herman Bergson: I wish you an optimistic 2020 as a conclusion of our discussion today ^_^
[13:52] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman
[13:52] herman Bergson: Class dismissed.....
[13:52] Al Michigan: lotsa optimism for you too mr bergson!
[13:52] CB Axel: Thank you, Herman.
[13:52] Al Michigan: thanks mr herman
[13:52] herman Bergson: See you all next Tuesday to discuss pessimist type One ^_^