Imagine There’s No Countries . . .

Considering the Possibility and Practice of Global Citizenship

Global Citizens of Yore

Posted by rfrankl on January 23, 2009

Schattel tries to grapple with the idea of “Global Citizenship” by not looking at it theoretically or abstractly but by listening to what a variety of people are doing, thinking, and saying but I have discovered something that takes that concept to its logical extreme by not looking only at what the men of the present do, think, and say but what the men of the past have thought. I’m reading a book of the collected writings of the Renaissance Humanist Desiderius Erasmus. Not only are his ideas taken from all over from Classical, Scholastic, English, and Italian learning but his actions were a reflection of this broad, global(at least in term of what was known at the time), and cosmopolitan sensibility. He never lived in one place but always moved from one city of learning to another. Some of his learned friends, such as Sir Thomas More urged and begged him to stay in one spot but he had a longing to see new people, new ideas, and new tastes. This curiosity or longing to know must be thought of as an essential characteristic of a cosmopolitan man.

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One Response to “Global Citizens of Yore”

  1. bklunk said

    A. I keep a portrait of Erasmus in my office.
    B. Perhaps some kind of mobility is critical to global citizenship.
    C. I am reminded of what Terence is supposed to have said, “Homo sum: humani nil a me alienum puto.” I am a man, therefore nothing human is foreign to me. Which raises the question of where to draw the line between cosmopolitan curiosity and being a global busybody.

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