Monday, August 11, 2008
Watching the opening ceremonies of the Olympics with a friend of mine, we both had the same reactions:
1. It was an amazing visual spectacle.
2. China has thrown down the gauntlet: they are going to define the coming decade.
Later, talking to another friend, she mentioned that out of the past ten centuries, China has been one of the wealthiest nations in the world for nine. I do not necessarily think that China's rapidly ascending star bodes well or ill for the larger world, however, I do think that it will raise important questions about human ethics in the coming years.
By all accounts, China is a kind of totalitarian wild west. Our challenge will be to reconcile five-thousand years of tradition in a world that has--for the duration of the industrial revolution--been shaped by a Western worldview. How can our nation or any nation(s) convince the looming Chinese juggernaut to be more compassionate...in every sense of the word.
Interestingly enough, since China's booming economy has resulted in a culture of affluence informed by lux Western brands (Gucci, Dior, Chanel, BMW, Mercedes Benz, etc...) it might prove to be a fertile market for artists. Then again, one must reconcile with the idea of doing business not with Communists, but with a people as voracious, and (in many ways) amoral we are once were...and could possibly still be.