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Archive for the ‘cosmopolitanism’ Category

Cosmopolitanism in Music

Posted by dgreening on March 3, 2009

Once again, the BBC comes up with something really interesting.  The 2006 edition of the Reith lecture series in Berlin, presented by Daniel Barenboim, discusses the part music plays in everyday life.  In his third lecture, Barenboim illustrates a musical equivalent to current global issues and cosmopolitanism.  He asks the question of whether we should want a variety of orchestras from different countries, all naturally adept at playing their native music, or orchestras that all have the same sound, all able to play many pieces by different composers from a multitude of countries equally well.  The present world doesn’t have accepted standards like the ancient world did, and in democratic societies, people see only the rights that come with democracy; very rarely do they also acknowledge the responsibilities.  Essentially this culminates in people making judgements without having to take responsibility for those judgements.  In the context of music, Barenboim worries that people do not have a point of view about classical music, and this will result in it slowly dying out, becuase, as he points out, there is no point in music if one does not have an opinion about it.

However, the most interesting idea came up when Barenboim talked about a piece by Wagner which is well known for the fact that it doesn’t resolve a chord progression, leaving a tense silence before continuing on.  This propagated questions concerning how we define progress, and whether people are afraid of that tension, that moment where no progress is being made and silence prevails.  Our definition of progress works well enough for technology and GDP, but less so for the development as human beings as a whole, and also  one’s own personal development.  Music, then, could also be a starting place for how we define progress.

Finally, the question of music as an esperanto came up.  Music is indeed incredibly accessible to almost all people around the world, but, like language, has so many differing forms it seems inconceivable to think of one single type of music for everyone.  This is a problem for many facets of culture, and demonstrates how far away from a cosmopolitan world we are.  Music is probably is a widely understood form of communication, and to think that even this is in no way close to becoming part of a common world culture, illustrates how very far we still have to go.


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Anti-semetic Acts Up in London

Posted by mykela1 on February 17, 2009

In London, anti-semetic acts of violence are on the rise according to the Community Security Trust, a NGO that has been tracking anti-semitism in England since 1984. As stated by a recent CNN article, “[t]he group recorded more than 200 incidents in the month of January alone, the highest monthly total it has seen since it began keeping records….” This increase is said to be a direct affect of the Palestinian/Israeli Conflict in the Gaza Strip. But, in order to combat this problem, London hosted it’s first ever international conference to discuss solutions to this issue and ways to fight anti-semitism. People from over 35 countries took part in this two-day forum, and according to the article, most of the policymakers were not Jewish, lending itself as a great example of one of Shattle’s Secondary Principles: Cross-Cultural Empathy.

Posted in cosmopolitanism, global citizenship | 3 Comments »

Score One for the Cosmopolitans or Did Hegel Go Far Enough?

Posted by bklunk on February 11, 2009

Cosmopolitanism, Rightly Understood «

I found this post in the interesting blog Dispatches.  The author takes on the notion that cosmopolitanism is flat and bloodless:

I admit I’m rather biased, having benefited greatly from growing up overseas. But there’s something deeply unattractive about the sort of self-satisfied parochialism that holds any knowledge of the outside world inevitably demeans our appreciation of hearth and home: “To love the deep emptiness of a blue winter sky, or a gnarled oak dangling a tire swing from its twisted fingers; to prefer bacon and eggs really and truly to a croissant: these are the first stirrings of a truly human existence.” I confess a certain weakness for croissants, but that hasn’t compromised my ability to appreciate a hearty Southern breakfast. If anything, exposure to a world outside the United States has done wonders for my understanding of our storied national inheritance. How does one celebrate one’s home without understanding its unique place in the world? How many jaded expatriates have gone abroad and then come back, exclaiming “You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone!” Obnoxiously multicultural hipsters raise everyone’s hackles, but real cosmopolitanism sharpens rather than dulls our appreciation of  where we come from.

Is this real cosmpolitanism?

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