Extremes are easier tham moderation. It is easier to fast for a whole day than to have just a single potato chip. Potato chips taste good. Have one and you want more.
So too with freedoms. Babies delight in exploring their bodies and the world, using limbs to navigate and shape their world. When scared, they scuttle back to safety and comfort. When secure, they venture forth again.
Likewise, when democratic freedoms get too messy, autocrats look attractive to a host of the socially disafftected. That’s when democracies wake up, find allies and protect themselves
Democracy works. That’s why crooks, opportunists and power-mongers are constantly on the prowl looking for ways to hijack the golden goose.The goose fights back with the support of its flock. Feathers fly but the geese win out, Marauders find easier shores to conquer.
As rule by the people, democracy grows by the building of institutions. Mainting those calls for a moral social fabric. In a global digital age, flexibility and resilience are vital, as is respect for the culture and its heritage.
Global democracy shares the values of its traditional Western version but it is broader and more open to the range of values in the current global reality of near-200 countries. All are committed to democratic values through the United Nations Xharter. National legislation ranges from transgender rights to criminalization of homosexuality. Digital social media open the possibility of such protected freedoms to all worldwide. Activism cuts down on violence against such freedoms if not outright eliminate them in the most repressive societies. In all societies, the rule of law is is the standard measure of justice, local to national in context of the the international.
So far, Russia has been the only country since the Second World War to openly flout the international rule of law by invading Ukraine and continually violating other international human rights laws. The recent conflict in the Middle East is a complex situation where the human rights of Israel were violated by a terrorist organization. Israel’s response has been the subject of political and social debate relating to the same violation of rights as those by Russia in Ukraine, but only in the case f Russia do those violarions occur under the radar. Thus, democracy rules , however tenuously. Russia is the outlier still to be defined.
Ukraine just may be the pivotal point for global democracy. A formmer republic of the Russian Societ Union that collapsed in 1991, Ukraine was leaning toward European democracy when Russia invaded it, ostensibly to stop “NATO creep”, the Tans-Atlantic defense organization expanding on its doorstep. The subsequent NATO aid to Ukraine for its self-defense has fueledUkraine’s ardor for Western style democracy. It has also brought attentiion to Russia’s lawless brutality. Both factor into historical cycles of repression and liberation that all countries shelter in their arcives as they leapfrog into the global age.
In that age, Russia has its adherents but few states openly admit to a great affinity with Russia. Ukraine’s allies. on the other hand, persuade each other to greater help in line with Ukraine’s ability yo register results for the investment. In turn the human toll on Ukraine translates into deeper guarantees of aid and security in the future, especially as the transactional rapport manifests in cultural impact.
Ukraine’s fight for democratic values came to the fore just as the United States needed a reminder following its first ever coup-attempt. Ukraine’s proximity to Central Europe was a reminder of the hardships faced by former satellites of Siviet Russia, which also served as a reminder to Western Europe that it owed a debt to its neighbors for its freedom and prosperity. That outward spiraling of the democracy then serves to equilibrate internal forces at odds between liberal and repressive. It is a living dynamic unparalleled by any system.
When faced with change, the easiest path for humans is one of two extremes, either hard line autocracy or bleeding heart liberalism as an antidote to harsh injustice. Onthe global stage of near-200 countriesthe nuances of the median path are hard to get across but that is the realm of democracy, as demonstrated by the global effect of Russia’s illgal invasion of Ukraine.
The current model of “The West” as informed by history has created a relucatance to support Ukraine by the very countries most hurt by imperialism in the past. Their refusal to honor the sanctions regime intended to compel adherence to international law has put an undue social burden on “the West,” which itself has proven to be far different from the world’s stereotpe of its compositio, particularly regarding the all important trans-Atlantic partnership.
Deeply connected by cultural history, Europe and the United States are lierally an ocean apart geographically. Europe is contiguous with the rest of the world and has a millennia-long history of peace and rivalry with it. Across “the Pond,” the US is stuck in the western hemisphere where its culture id overrun by Hispanics seizing on the easiest rout to the outmoded “American dream.” In an internationalist world, the “American dream” of democracy calls for the adaptation of those ideals to the needs of emerging countries and not to their perversion by opportunists, traffickers and unprincipled politicians.
Democracy is rule by the people. That means that if people want to rule, they have to work at protecting democratic rights against easy gain tyrants or opportunists out to usurp those rights and distort them for narrow selfish purposes.
In a global world of near-200 countries digitally united by technology, democracy takes many forms depending on culture, form of government, economic system and position in the prevailing geopolitical landscape. But beneath those variations, vast as they are, all people the world over are in the same range of personality types and most like to be comfortable
Comfort has been a tall order for humans from time immemorial. Adventure versus security is still the purview of philosophy. But in the modern world of global challenges, the big question for humans everywhere is whether they want to rule themselves or let somebody or something else do the job for them.
There may come a time when all those seeking power have the highest public good foremost in mind. Until then, people decide whether their rights will be advanced or repressed by those to whom they allow to have power over them.
That democratic form of government is the current concensus among all near-200 countries of the world, all of whom have signed the United Nations Charter based on the United States Constitution spelling out the democratic ideals without ever naming them by that title. The United Nations Charter adopted after the Second World War spells out those ideals and names them as democracy. Those ideals and values are now under challenge the world over due to loopholes and democratic due process.
Crime is quick. Law takes time. It takes work. It takes understanding and patience. It takes teamwork. Law is building a social fortress while criminals burn down houses for ill gain.
Democracy is rule by the people and rule by the rule of law. In the democratic world of today as established by the signing of the UN Charter by all nations, the assumption is that most people who like comfort also like the social comfort of knowing that the rule of law holds. That is the very essence of democracy that now threatens democracy worldwide.
Criminals in older stable democracies have seized the democratic ideals and distorted them for their own gain. Criminal elements in more fragile democracies exploit the legal process worldwide. They extort both the needy and greedy in fragile countries with promises that burden established countries and stoke resentment. A stronger enforcement of the rule of law would be the sensible solution. Humans are ,ore complicated.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has upended the logical progression of democratic rights and freedoms heralded by the outcome of the Second World War. That war had been sparked by exactly such a violation of international law put in place by the League of Nations after the First World War. In a heroic attempt to prevent a third world war through the collapse of the democratic rule of law, established democracies have allied with NATO to help Ukraine defend itself against the crimes that led to the last world war, namely the invasion of other sovereign countries and the genocide of peoples or cultures. Historical grudges notwithstanding, the democratic process seems to hold worldwide even as Ukraine pays the highest price in human toll while also saving democracies worldwide.
Democracy in its many forms as it exists in the wor;d’s near-200 countries is now called upon to voice a vote. Does Russia yield to the rule of law and cease its illegal assault on Ukraine an thereby regain its rightful place among the community of nations? Or does it join the outlaws of history who have tried to destroy democracy only to have failed?
The reason for why outlaws ultimately fail is grounded in simple human nature. Humans are social animals. complex to be sure. They like comfort and security. They like privacy, don’t like others invading their space but do like visitors invited in, asked to stay and even welcomed into the family. In essence, each of the persons in each of the world’s near-200 countries likes to be the captain of their own ship by a process that first begins at birth.
Newboen babies seem helpless but many psychologists think they’re born with s sense of omnipotence. Their every need is met and even anticipated. Reality sets that notion straight.
Young humans without proper nurture often perish before they realize their misery. But most human babies given adequate care thrive to adulthood by a push and pull dynamic. Parents are the driving anchor. They ptovide security while encouraging the young one to explore the world. When the world beckons beyond the limits of what the parents offer, good parents are there to soothe the bruises and guide future exploration. That is the basic democratic dynamic at work in a global world of near-200 countries at nearly that number of stages in development to a workable world.
People in all countries like to be both secure and free. In the world’s poorest countries, people are neither secure or free. In a global digital world, that condition itself is a worldwide concern. People are pulled to the better life and there is not enough of a home structure to suggest the possibility of building a secure future. Add in the ever-present criminal temptation and the push-pull forces can erupt in conflict. Those conflicting forces are most deadly when they are manipulated, poorly managed, predatory or negkected. That upper stage of democracy is its biggest bane. It opens loopholes tempting to exploit.
The push-pull forces in individuals and nations are as varied as the proverbial snowflake. Rich or poor, the moral range is the same and it is all based on the natural law that precedes all others, the innate sense of knowing right from wrong.
No dog steals a bone from another without skulking and no dog lets go of that bone without a growl. A child cane be coaxed to give a toy to another but nearly every child howls if a toy is yanked away. Nature and nurture determine the degree of the response and consequences of the actions. That is the same basic moral sense that is shaped or distorted into an adult social role within any given society. Nature and nurture still entwined, personal ambition in either right or wrong direction determine how far ambition can rise.
Monarchies and shiekdoms have clearly defined upper limits on certain parts of social climbing. Short of those rarified heights, advancement in democracies follows electoral rules. Communist systems allocate social roles for individuals to fill in accordance with projected social and economic needs of the society. Complete totalitarian regimes like the Taliban in Afghanistan offer no freedom apart from the prescribed regimen. They are the ultimate practitioners of the devices that kill democracies.
Chief among those democracy destroying tactics is the suppression of the indomitable human spirit. In societies where that spirit has been subdued by less extreme measures than the outright assault now being perpetrated by Russia in Ukraine, an empathic pathway is roused by common interest groups across the democracies at differing stages of stability.
Iran, for example, was a traditionalist Islamic society that underwent rapid Western liberalization under a secular Shah leader. The mandate for compulsory compliance to new rules led to a religious backlash in the form of an ultimate Ayatollah religious dictate on every aspect of society. The brush with democratic freedom, however, planted a seed that has recently erupted in a violent resistance to the diminishment of women.
In short, freedom beckons but mandating its implementation portends its own peril. As much as people resent being deprived of rights, they hate being coerced. It’s the push-pull human behaviors in action through a lifetime.
The curiosity that draws a child to explore the world can be nurtured throught a lifetimeincluding that od an entire society over centuries. But a corresponding tendency also operates, the natural nurturing instinct to protect what has been earned or gained. Freedom has nothing to lose. Social integration accumulates assets and triggers defenses against upset.
As people get comfortble, they become increasingly risk averse. Life may not be perect but it’s good enough, a state of mind that screams an invitation to the unscrupulous ambition hound. Across a broad spectrum of democracy development levels, the Putin-Trump duo hit the Achilles heel of democracy.
Protect comforts, safely exploit your grievances.
It’s the sweey spot for mesmerizing the ego by stoking the id with no upward development into superego goals.
Civilization began as a simple social pact. Two people agreed on how to hunt a dinosaur and how to split the carcass. It likely started in the delta where Asia and Africa meet, now known as the Middle East. Over many, many millennia it spread out in dynasties like Mesopotamia and Egypt. Eventually Greece wrote up the basic tenets of democracy in the thoughtful city of Athens while sister city Sparta plied the tradition of warfare. Swashbuckling Rome came next, complete with a set of gods.
Religion became a major cultural factor with the idea of a single God in charge of worldly affairs. This happened with Christianity in the west, Islam and Hinduism in the east. Many offshoots arose from these while the earliest monotheistic culture was Judaism, already stigmatized by conflict with established societies where they were driven.
The marriage of religion and culture went through phases. The infamous Spanish Inquisition. was one. The Dark Ages of science denial were followed by the Renaissance in Europe. The Crusades took Christianity to the far east where Arab nations bumped heads with Mongols and occasional Japanese intruders. The period of European expansionism struck gold with the discovery of America and the Caribbean region.
All the Americas became the new focus for European commerce The slave trade that had existed in Rome as an offshoot of war became big business for all except the slaves themsels. Portuguese outposts in Africa fueled ethnic wars for a tiny profit the winners earned. The British, French, Dutch, Belgians and Spanish became middlemen. They also established expansionist hubs in key hubs like India, Africa and the Philippinesl. The commodities there were natural resources and strategic location.
“Location, location, location,” reads a common commercial real estate ad. In the digital age, the truism applies to all sectors of society at all levels from national to regional and global. At all those levels, the collective power of the single individual is the driver of sustanable growth. TLessons learned from European expansionidm serve as a model for gauging the location of a nation on the global cultural map.
Colonialization was bloody and brutal. It was hugely demeaning to the native peoples conquered. But as the civilized tool of diplomacy advances, phyical force to maintain social order becomes ever more a vestigial organ. Like the human appendix, it serves no purpose and in fact can lead to fatal sepsis. Territorial overreach like Russia is doing in Ukraine is dead in the water for any kind of long term gain, History is the proof of the pudding.
Psychologist Abraham Maslow has laid out a heirarchy of needs. Those include basic needs for food, ahelter and clothing; psychological drives like curiosity and sex; and finally the social drives for safety, love, belonging, esteem and self actualization. Obviousy, the cultures that best meet the needs are most successful. The greatest xrises arise when reality cmes crasing up against an ideal.
However great the scars, resentments and guilt that stem from the age of colonialism, they are potentially workable if parties are willing, resourceful and tenacious. Some situations seem intractble they are so convoluted. Haiti, for example was the site of the first slave revolt in the Americs. The effects of French retaliation still reverberate. Israel was set down on land where Palestinians lived. The region is still in turmoil. On and on around the world but possibly most glaring is the status of American blacks
As former slaves in the mekka of equality, Americans fight for their rights as fiercely as Ukrainians on the verge of losing the freedom already hard won. But the fight of American blacks for Constitutional rights comes as those rights in the general population are eroded by a would-be strongman who managed to capture a dangerous portion of the public. Blacks spearhead the drive to save democracy but they remain largely in a vaccum as enablers of the strongman weaponize rge red alert buzzword of immigration.
All that occurs as cultural values decline in the US. Much of that is due to traditions such as fetishes for guns and new electronic gizmos. A corporate culture of unbridled profit puts corporate interests ahead of the individual by a country mile, as the saying goes. In short, America may be on the verge of becoming a plutocracy where an elite class rles instead of we the people.” But even if that happens, Euope is ready to hold the fort until the US either comes to its senses or is forced back into it be global economic realities..
and self-actualization. ong all oppressed poples, slaves were the first to revolt. The French retaliation for the slave revolt in Haiti continues to reverberate. Native peoples slaughtered during conquest, including in Australia and Canada, have just recently been recognized as victims. Yet the African slaves who were freed by the American Civil War remain stuck in the vortex where reality is in a chokehold with the ideal. Ukraine is the global equivalent of that clash.
“I pity the poor immigrant,” wtote Bob Dylan in 1967. He was the American singer-songwriter who became a Nobel laureate in poetry. He was writing about the immigrants who built America into the economic powerhouse to be mugged by today’s immigrants because the first immigrants turned the land of opportunity into green fields for the greedy.
Young America earned its reputation as the seat of democracy because of the values set out in its 1775 Constitution. Democracy actually started in Greece and became a worldwide movement against prevailing monarchies at when America spelled out its principles in writing. It sparked the French revolution among many others. At home, America was land f the free and of opportunity as it trampled the rights of occupants already settled inAlwas a vast wilderness. Always prone to hypocrisy when high ideals clashed with selfish greed, In the digital age, America suffers from a split personality disorder.
Possession is 9/10s of the law,, according to a common cathraphrase of law. Conservatives in America seem hell-bent on staying in power ever since America elected the first nonwhite head of a western industrialized nation. America’s democratic majority is divided into moderates, progressives and the ultra-progressives the ultraconservatives have derided as “woke.” As the world’s economic leader stews in its vacuum of domestic concerns, the world gallops ahead with American values pitted against other models of governing in an enlarged mirror image of America’s conflicts.
Racial reckoning is a major global concern as climate change, political upheavel and ethnic conflicts drive migration north and west. Europe is the current fulrum of the newly evolving world order as tested by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine for a range of reasons all centered on democracy and democratic ideals.
The ideal of equality between all peoples of the world is a romantic fantasy at best. The smallest town in any of the world’s near-200 countries has a henhouse pecking order social structure that is of great interest to individuals and the groups they join. The ideal thus strikes a false note rectified over time by larger cultural forces. The best that can be achieved at any time is to narrow the gap betwen reality and the ideal.
Global events like the Olympic games are great equalizer for bringing reality closer to the ideal, especially in the digital are. Law is also a powerful tool for advancing equality. But the greatest driver is information sharing, a virtual Swiss army knife wielded by all sectors of societies.
Vladimir Putin invads Ukraine because he sees the soft West encroaching on his hard turf. China conducts intimidation exercises in the South China Seas to exert its power even over international waters so as to pre-empt unrest. Donald Trump seduces 1/3 of the US and most of its conservatives just because he can. Three types of authoritarians, three prototyps for others in the world to follow.
Throughout history strongmen have arisen to attempt ruling the world. . From Julius Caesar to Genghis Khan, Alexander the great and Napoleon, their campaigns ended because of overreach. The last of these was Adolph Hitler, brought down by a global coalition topped off by the introduction of the potentially annihilating nuclear bomb.
In the 80 years since that time, only Vladimir Putin of Russia has expressed the intention to rule the world, presumably all near-200 countries. The notion seems absurd in the rapidly evolving world accelerated by development programs to avoid a third World War and income disparities are known to spark violent conflict. But Putin is a real threat even if he stops short of the nuclear weapon he has threatened to use.
Ivan the terrible is a Putin idol. Apparently, he believes religiously in the Macchiavellean principle of rule by fear. Russia is a huge country covering 11 time zones with plenty of people with the value of an individual life is somewhat less than that of a Chinese Uigur. That large group of Russian peple has been further worn down by a century of oppression under communism.
Clearly the Russian people are in no condition to resist anything their leader does. It also comes as no surprise that happy Ukraine would fight so fiercely to being dominated by Russia again. What is not known is how deeply in cahoots with Putin are the world’s other would-be despots, particularly the lifelong chiseler Donald Trump of the US.
Married to Czech Ivana, Trump made his first trip to Moscow in the mid-1980’s as the Iron Curtain was about to tumble in the perestroika of Brezhnev and Gorbachev. Putin was not a fan of easing tensions. He was ready to spring into action and played coy as Trump wooed him all the way until he made it ibto the US presidency.
When Trump failed to regain the presidency despite all underhanded efforts. Putin began an all-out invasion of Ukraine. While he failed to roll over Ukraine as expected, he like Trump has refused to admit defeat. And while the US leads the alliance supporting Ukraine, big tech is the major threat to democracy in the world leading US.
Unregulated technology combined with an eroding culture may yet doom democracy in the US. It may then be up to the rest of the world’s near-200 countries to save it.
Democracies and dictators all come in different sizes, shapes and structures these days. The key to mobilizing them lies in understanding their relations to each other.
Meanwhile, Brazil wins a run-off election in favor of a left leaning position on cleaning an environmental mess left by its version of the new global phenomenon, the celebrity dictator.
One fall out of the global digital age is the speedy acquisition of new tools to reinforce the security that the status quo offers. When the status quo is based on cut throat power dynamics, the result comes off as lame but deep-rooted enough to hang by a thread. Once in power again, the status quo tyrant strengthens the roots for the next cycle. The roots in all that time have remained discretely hidden.
Greece just squeaked by with a democratic leader over a conservative opponent. Pakistan is facing the same question as Israel and the mighty US. Should a leader even suspected of being a corrupt politician be able to be considered a viable leader of a globally competitive economy?
The economy and the social culture supporting the economic system are a closely tied duet singing in the global chorus. The democratic principles agreed to after the diastrous Second World War are the benchmarks.
Intransigent repressive regimes stand small chance of gaining the global stature needed to be considered a serious player in pitching a country’s strngths and needs. Most likely the leaders holding those positions are aware of the global reality. They play to the national audience or regional at best. They hold their cards close to the vest and at best they rattle sabres.
Nuclear sabres make a loud noise in a global world. It’s the weapon Russia used to extort the world into letting it savage Ukraine. It’s the wild card Iran holds in the opaques Middle East where Israel is an open secret, theAfghan taliban are repressive enough to spark a confident underground movement and the North Korean leader is a joke with a wild nuke.
On the global stage, extremist regimes depend on conservatives to keep them in play. Criminal elements provide the platform that ties them into the mainstream. And still, it is the individual drive for the freedom to satisfy curiosity that breaks through the hardest resistance,
Democracy is rule by the people. The ideal was first introduced by the classic ancient Greeks. It went underground during the Middle Ages and rule by religions and empires. It sprang to life with the founding of the United States and the ensuing clamor for freedom and fairness that swept over Europe and Asia in its wake. Democracy became an assumed way of life for the Western beehive of civilization through the great industrialization. It was clarified with two world wars in the 20thcentury. In the digital age of the 21st, the many forms of democracy are consolidating into into an overall schema of where nations stand regarding it
Democracy is a form of government that is intimately tied into a country’s economic system. The beauty of democracy is that it takes many forms and can adapt to changing economic situations. That often happens by trial and error, as happened with African countries after the decolonization that gained steadily after the Second World War. But ties with former oppressive colonizers often helped to stabilize newly emerging democracies.
India, Kenya, Nigeria, Singapore and the Philippines are prime examples of a successful tranfer of power from subordinate to self-goverment. Like other nation states, the form of govnments is tied in with the economic system. Those configurations range across democratic monarccies or califates to democratic socialist. China has an electoral communist form of government-economic interface. The United States is a Constitutional republic, as is Russia. Also as is so often the case, the devil is in the details about government..
The many components of government include the Constitution and the courts that rule in cases of dispute. Also relevant are the political system, the private sector, that funds campaigns and the communications apparatus that delivers a campaign message to “we the people or “we the peoples” in UN terminology. That entire democratic edifice is constructed for the sole purpose of letting every citizen have a say in how their country is to be governed.
That profound image hits hard ground when it confronts reality. Pitfalls are common knowledge throughout the world while many people throght the world don’t even know of it. Nevertheless, it is a notion so powerful thar peole are willing to die in the effort to secure it for the future of their children once they hear of it.
Those are the people who renew the democratic dynamic whenever the status quo powers become entrenched enough to threaten it. Ukraine is fighting for that future right now as a nation against a foreign invader intent on crushing it. The power of Ukraine’s resistance has mobilized the global democratic dynamic in support of its aim. That success will go a long way to solving other global ill, most crucially the many challenges to demoracy itself iin all its flexible forms.
Democracy is the creative driver of prosperity
Creativity is an innate drive that gets human babies from birth to adulthood and beyond. Creativity is an outgrowth of the curiousy that draws toddlers into the walking stage as part of exploring the world. Creativity is also a wild pony in need of a jockey, trainer, arena and event.
As most creative artists know, talent and even genius can wither without the discipline to produce tangible work. As history has shown, even genius dies early without an audience most often secured by a third party. That third party is an intermediary. a person who appreciates the talent and know how it can satisfy the needs of others. At best, all three levels of creativity work together. That is the democracy dynamic.
American poet Walt Whitman said it was a beautiful truth that all people contain something of the artist in them. That quality of delight in glimpsing some new aspect of the world is obvious in children, who become part of the world in stages.
Curiosity gets babies to reach for shiny mobiles. It prompts toddlers to dart forward for a toy, then retreat to the comfort of a caring adult if scared. That same curiosity guides kids through school, teens through the heavy-duty socialization phase until young adulthood sets the person onto a life path. That path depends on variables that can nurture or impede.
Children learn to navigate the world by darting forward from the caretaker comfort zone. Courage in venturing ever further depends on the security of knowing comfort and safety are there if needed. That pattern continues throughout life in various ways and to different degrees based on a combination of personality, opportunity and experience.
Career practitioners of any art are the lucky ones in a society. They are free spirits, dedicated to self expression. Unfortunately at present, society does not recognize artists as central to its soul. The Covid pandemic may have sparked a revolution in the direction of art.
Isolated in a series of shutdowns, people deprived of routine distractions found life empty. Pre-pandemic jobs were boring and not worth the security that servitude offered. The creative seed had seemingly found fertile ground but society had to till the soil if the flower was to flourish.
A Google search shows creativity as synonymous with innovation and its value is measured by income. A search for social and cultural creativity brings up a whole slate of different countries, half of them with emerging economies. Perhaps this current divergence in values points to a happy future world with art having a central role in the soul of each country.
For such a change to occur, the west would venture forth from its current tech comfort zone. The United States in particular would drop its disdain for intellectual pusuits. Liberal arts degrees would be promoted as much as MBAs and they would be mainstreamed so as to free the intelligent from their current Ivory Tower prisons. Most importantly from the perspective of a writer, the current social media dumpsite would take on meaning.
Mark Twain and Ernest Hemingway were just two of the many writers throughout the ages who stressed the importance of experience to writing. “Write what you know,” Twain advised. In today’s highly structured society, independent experience is a hair-raising venture.
Churchhill once said that success is the ability to go from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. By that measure, a writer becomes good at the craft by chasing daily success in the form of faith in the process despite the lack of external acknowledgment. Writing a tweet can take little or much effort. Only the writer knows whether the words conveyed the idea intended. Number of follows, retweets or responses bear little or no relevance to the writing.
As an expression of thoughts and feelings. writing is iniquely poised for precision. A writer knows when the sweet spot has been hit. When it hits that same spot in thr reader, eureka!
In the social media age, words fight through jungles before that mutual sweet spot is hit. By then, those wordsa have already made the laborious trek from mind and heart to the screen. Alas, evidence is scant that many writers brave the rigors of honing words to great precision. Yet the classics prove the value of the effort, however tedius the reading by modern standards. “To be or not to be” is as relevant as ever.
Scholars, students and esoterics read the classics. They are a joy to know. Those who write in the classic mode are in for a hard struggle. Posting on social media calls for suspending all the the rules that help a writer express deep thoughts and feelings.
Personal, Local, Global
Creativity is hazardous to internet drab. It is also a victim of the cautiously limited transnational business model being slowly devised.
Commerce aims for profit. Creativity takes a back seat in business plans. But the free-market scramble for attention has created a quagmire that chokes creativity, especially in the most developed countries where the patience needed for creativity to sprout is in short supply.
.People in the poorest or most troubled of the world’s near-200 countries are busy surviving. They have little time, energy or resources to spruce up refugee camps. In the richest countries, adults are too busy chasing careers to devote enough nurture time to develop creativity in kids. Pacifying electronics take the place of hide-and-seek. Safety is prized more highly than the development of curiosity and adventure. But creativity is a life force that can explode into a genius beyond any AI construct. It can also fizzle if neglected or prematurely forced into a narrow focus, which leads to poverty of the spirit.
Cave drawings show that humans had a creative instinct that cried out to express itself. Drawings of animals, weather events and tools show humans striving to make sense of the world and bring it under control by making pictures. Indulging the urge to express the self may have led to the bonding that eventually led to civilization. On the near end of the spectrum, humans have not tired of speculating what space aliens may look like.
Today a creative work will be overlooked by search engines set to SEO rules. It will also go without feedback from followers looking for number of emojee-driven interactions alien to content. The ansence of visible impact has always thrown cold water on creativity. But if the creative force is strong enough and the drive to communicaate endures, the creative spirit faces challenges that would inhibit its development.
The internet is a trove of handy information of very limited reach. Compare the web thesaurus with the print version and the relative anemia is alarming for creative thought. Further, the mechanics of sorting through a million repetitions of the same sources eats up time, as does the management of ever new devices. That time is the indispensible nutrient for creativity to flourish.
An old New Yorker cartoon showed a man in a beret sitting at an easel doing nothing. The caption read â€œcreativity at work.â€ A well known saying ascribed to a number of writers states that I hate to write but I love to have written.â€ The American writer Mark Twain said the difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. Coming up with that right word is the agony of creatvity.
Long periods of solitary pondering, procrastinating, diversion and temporary retreat from the project can go into a creative work. For some, contemplation itself is a satisfying activity & cloistered communiries fill their need. Others get enjoyment from making thoughts & feelings concrete That was the realm of diary jounaling until the internet came along as a vehicle for mass gut-spilling. But a work of art elevates those internal workings into an otside object that packs a punch as powerful as a jab from legendary boxer Mohammed Ali..
Psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud described art as a sublimation of other basic drives, mainly that of sex in the Victorian thinking of his time. But creativity that is indulged can be a battle for control of the driving energy. The battle can be all consuming and the result can be no more than some deep insight. But the sense of relief that comes with the eureka of discover is as liberating as sexual release in a bodily orgasm.
No doubt Newton felt that jolt of a creative payoff when he saw gravity behind an apple falling from a tree to light on the concept of gravity. Einstein must have felt it repeatedly as he zeroed in on E=mc squared. Surely Picasso felt it throughout his life as he saw a growing number of dimensions he tranlated into his paintings. And for sure Mark Twain felt that spark when he noted that the difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. That there is the big difference between art and commerce. Art looks for the right word while commerce has constraints.
Those devoted to the arts are exceptional people who have retained the ability to see the world as a child before attention was reined into specialized directions. That perspective is a gestalt view of the world. They see the world as a totality without prejudice for any part. They indulge in the pure joy of the senses. The pragmatics if life take a back seat. For those lucky enough to land in a career that allows for such an innovative voice within its fold, the future is relatively rosy. For those who need to forge their own path, the future is challenging indeed, with commerce as a constant companion.
Fogarassy came of age at a time when writers were supplicants looking for acceptance and space on the pages of respected periodicals and the imprints of major publishers. The SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope) was a requisite inclusion with the submitted work. It usually came back with a printed rejection or an encouraging note that said try us again. Rejection was routine and led to a renewed effort to better the craft of writing and aim at the target.
Over the years, Fogarassyâ€™s work has been deemed by editors to be everything from profound to most overwritten ever seen. Those critiques are aptly applicable to a writer thinking in complex Hungarian as expressed in straight-forward English, on who sees the world in the subtleties of an artist with the awareness that the message must be simplified for the pragmatic marketplace. The challenges of Fogarassyâ€™s calling have been monumental. The rewards made the effort more than worthwhile.
Early short works were published in literary magazines such as the Texas Sidewinder and the Canadian Queenâ€™s Quarterly. Two dozen of the short works were published by literary magazines throughout the world when her first novel was published by Quality Publications of Ohio.
Mix Bender is a novel about complex Hungarian-American immigrants meeting on a carefree Caribbean island. â€œA lively, intriguing and gutsy novel,â€ wrote international journalist Lydia Ferabee. Other reviewers described the novel as â€œexhilarating,â€ â€œintelligent and entertaining,â€ and â€œa fascinating novel of personality, interactions and complex emotions.â€
Her non-fiction Mission Improbable: The World Community on a UN Compound in Somalia was enthusiastically received by numerous publishers, including Howard University Press. Even so, only Lexington Books published the work. The US perception of events in Somalia during the intervention was considered too strong to afford any sizable interest in Fogarassyâ€™s first-hand record of events.
Even so, the book was well reviewed by Abdul Rahman Turay of Sierra Leone, head of the UNOSOM Somalia Mission. He said the book set the record straight. The Mission in Somalia was succeeding but nobody in the greater world knew of the success. He said the book was a provocative argument for humanitarian intervention in global cires.
George Parker, head of the Press Section at UN Headquarters in New York, said the work was an accurate and comprehensive view of the Mission. It provided a unique insight into UN operations and shed a remarkable light on the peace the Somalis were trying to achieve after a jump-start from the UN with US help withdrawn just short of the mark.
Among others who expressed support for the views expressed in the book were Richard Holbrooke, Jonathan Howe, Jimmy Carter also on behalf of wife Rosiaynn, Bill Clinton and Anthony Lake. Their views, like those of Fogarassy, are of long-term duration, spanning the inevitable ups and downs of forward progress in mutually beneficial global relations.
Fogarassyâ€™s simultaneously published novels about global relations were the first to enter into the cyber-age. Light of a Destiny Dark about the contrast between the European and American experience of the Second World War era, has been called unrelentingly dark. The Midas Maze about the vast UN global network is a novel in search of an audience. While the mighty United States was the driving force behind the United Nations aimed at preventing another world war after the Second, America has remained complacent about the rest of the world and has denigrated the diplomatic solution to problems that it first championed.
A global pandemic may have changed that course, particularly under an administration that came to power after the country made great strides as a global leader by electing the western industrialized worldâ€™s first non-white head of state. As the world grows global and details merge, differences and similarities become clear. At bottom is the basic human connection.
Nobody anywhere likes to be poor or insignificant. All strive for the maximum impact they can make on the world within their circumstances. Achieving that goal requires a balance of risk and retreat to safety grounded in personal circumstances.
As a writer driven to express her experience of life as encountered, Fogarassy has presented her work to literary and commercial outlets. She has been called profound. She has also been deemed the most over-written writer ever met. The range of views about her work represents not only her stabs at finding her voice and target audience,but also the structural demands of society at large,
The trick today, as throughout history, is to push a personal experience out into the greater world to make an impact. Great or small, profound of over-written, the bottom line is to make a mark worthy of the feeling that the mark has been hit. Progress has been made by experiencing life as it presenlf and the experience has been passed on to others through the workds and contacts of a lifetime.
Like all blessings, technology is mixed. It unites the near-200 countries of the world but in doing so it obliterates nuance. It provides a wealth of knowledge but the information is superficial compared to what human wisdom requires. Thanks to technology, world society is speeding. The modulator for this rapid dynamic is the wise leader among myriad cultures able to elevate the respresented people into the global mainstream.
According to common psychological wisdom, humans like all animals are born ignorant and are trained to navigate the world around them by their nurturers. In human, the quality of that nurture varies widely but certain constants prevail.
Humans raised with the ineffable quality of love learn to absorb tech advances with guidance. Along that timeline, they also develop the human qualities that can lead to wisdom, including curiosity, courage to take measured chances and the ability to discern between truth and falsehood.
Mass communication did not start with the tech revolution. It started with Gutenberg back in the 1600â€™s when he made prints of the Bible it had taken Scholars centuries to transcribe by hand. Mass communication is a phenomenon has evolved through Town Criers, Yellow Journalists and now to Social Media. Communication among the masses of the world calls for a new assessment of the personal need to communicate.
From the first yowl after birth, all humans and animals demand to be heard. The social media have satisfied that need. A tech world need now is to active the editor function through the system developed over time since the Gutenberg Bible.
TMI, too much information is the watchword of the modern sociual media tech world. Control of that runaway Infor Highway train is counseled by historical advisors from a simpler age.
Classical American author Mark Twain made the point succinctly over 150 years ago. He said the difference between the right word and the almost right word was the difference between lightening and the lightening bug.
Based on personal experience and observation of the oputside world, the right word seldom appears fully formed with the first thoughts on a subject. The forum of social media, however, can lead to exchanges that lead to deeper thought.
Significantly enough, the social media of developed countries like the US focus on personal stories, such as the finding of a lost cat. The social media of emerging countries focus on national cries for help in freeing themselves from tyrannies.
Communication across cultures in the worldâ€™s near-200 co9untries all speaking different languages is a formidable challenge. It beings with the individual becoming a comfortable part in the home culture and then extending the bounty to those deserving a shot at getting a leg up in a complex world.
presenglobal demeaOther markers of global change have come to the fore with Russia’s invasion of Ukrine. India, for example, has recently overtaken China as the world’s most populous country. It is potentially a huge market for global products, services and trade. Rich in cultural traditions, its values align with democratic principles. But its history with European colonialism has made it reluctant to join the NATO Alliance for defense of Ukraine. Its ethnic and religious complexities also seem too nuanced for Westerners to navigate.
Thus the Asian powerhouse India follows China’s lead in undercutting Western sanctions against Russian aggression. And while China’s influence in emerging markets is limited by distrust, the lead of trusted India makes a huge impact in China’s favor. The global balance of power would definitively shift if China were to broker a peace deal for Ukraine like it has signalled it was eager to do. But a China-brokered peace deal for Ukraine would leave nothing resolved. The element of trust and confidence are the real issue at stake.
China is mistrusted by different countries for various reasons, most of them based on experience. China approaches emerging countries or regions with great opportunities to quickly build up infrastructural capacity for needs such as roads or bridges. If agreed upon due dates aren’met, China presses and settles for resources. It takes a “pound of flesd,” as Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice would say. By contrast, Russia approaches investment targets with promises of protection in exchange for strategic concessions such as access to transit or waterways. Russia’s deals are notoriously open for corruption.
Mistrust of America stems from its vast power to influence other cultures by default. It produces products that have global appeal with no regard for the market culture. It is seen as a bully in promoting its values in global trouble spots it meddles in, then hi-tails out when the going gets rough. The US is also seen as aloof and interested only in profit, closing its eyes to ills if the get in the way. Hypocrisy and greed are the flip side of the generosity and innovation that endear America to the world, also making it a target of resentment and envy to some..
By contrast, European countries in the EU are known for a pristine adherence to law and respect for diversity but only at a distance. In some countries and regions, Europeans are seen as preachy do-gooders with tight purses and stern demands. These qualities came to the fore. In the NATO Alliance to protect Ukraine. Also emerging through the Alliance is the wide cultural gap between East and West Europe as a result of Soviet occupation.
50 years of isolation behind the Iron Curtain have left a deep scar on Eastern Europeans. Those scars are evidence that Western democracy is far superior to communism as economic and social drivers. They also prove the intractible effects of oppression aside from otherwise shared cultural factors. In that way, American blacks have a lot in common with Eastern Europeans and with much of the emerging world