The birth, expansion, success and disappearance of any human undertaking, whatsoever, is a matter of fact, in the face of which men may appreciate the precariousness of their own existence amidst the turmoil of events, on the earth as well as in the heavens !
It is also a matter of fact that, in the course of each undertaking, as men gain power, they are inclined to extend supremacy and rule, as far as they can control, by any means, be it military, trade, culture, religion or whatever...and they will always find a way, as long as they live !
Some of them, through the ages, have done it on a big scale, others on a small one, but all share the same fascination with themselves as the center, around which the whole has to be put together, the same way,- so they thought,- all the planets and stars supposedly turning around the globe we live in.
At specific times and in some places, this phenomenon took place in such a manner as to make world history understandable to contemporaries as well as to the men to come. One the earliest times and one of the nearest places was the Méditerranean area,- the very place around which we are sitting to day ! ,- Four milleniums ago : it became a center, from which people went out to inquire, discover and gain new territories, then to which they came back in order to establish connections and entertain permanent links between the core and the periphery. Nowadays, it seems difficult to speak of center, core, hub... and periphery, satellites, environment ! Why ? Because the elements of the new structure are ceaseless moving in all the directions, according to apparently arbitrary rules and laws, granting some events, places and times with a momentaneous importance, and changing from day to day, in a manner that no stability can establish where any center might be placed in the middle of any vicinity. Permanent movement, multiplicated hubs, arbitrary and shiftingt relationships between them, growing anxiety about issues, invading distorsions of all kinds, result in the loss of any sense in time and space : globalisation, sure ! But coreless, then meaningless !
Ladies and gentlemen ! I understand my task this morning, at the Carlton in Cannes, as that of a tour operator specialised in anthropology of trade and culture,- which both are, indeed, the two incentives that push and lead on and on people who have some noble idea of what
I am convinced
THE FACTS BEFORE ALEXANDRER THE GREAT : 15th to 4th centuries BC
Do we know exactly how many lands are sharing in the same Mediterranean seaside ? Today they are : France, Spain, Marocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Lybia, Egypt, Israël, Lebanon, Syria, Greece, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia, Italy, Cyprus, Crete, Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, and the Balearic Islands. More than 20 countries !
And do we know the precise in-puts of some,- almost all,- of them into the universal cultural and civilizational evolution through the world history ? Under the only pragmatic point of view, that of goods trade and war conquests, they were able to attribute to human affairs a certain shape, that kept reasserting itself through the ages.
When the small clans of the early Phoenicians decided to found harbour cities on the today Israël, Lebanon and Syria coasts, with names of Arwad, Byblos, Tripoli, Beirut, Tyr, Sidon, Akko or Gaza, they didn't consider the hinterland as their "home country", but the sea turned into their living space without hesitation. At the same time, amidst the multiple Sporads and Cyclads Aegean Islands, other clans were revealing similar ways of thinking : they were the Minoens of Cnossos, Crete, followed by the Mycenians, of Mycenes, Attica, Greece. Together, those archaïc Greeks and Phoenicians turned into clever sailors, traders and city-founders along the many mile long northern and southern Mediterranran coasts, over into the Atlantic, up to Cadix, Spain (Gadès), and down to Agadir (Senegal). The Greeks chose the northern way, plus the Lybian Cyrenaïc portion ; the Phoenicians prefered the southern way, from Alexandria of Egypt (not existing at their time), through Carthago (Tunis) along the whole Mahgreb coast ! Their short vessels, swift and safe, were able to organize a fabulous trade between more than a hundred harbours cities, founded by colons and emigrants coming from overpopulated home cities, especially those on the today Agean Turkish and Lebanese-Israeli coasts.
After the Phoenicians disappeared, the Greeks brought their full culture, art and way of life over to all those places, and every Mediterranean city, from Gilbratar to Cyprus, turned a Greek in mind and behavior. Only look at the marble vestiges wheresoever. The grandeur of belonging to so high a civilization of that time profoundly delved into the selfconscience of the inhabitants, whose heritage never ceased being transmitted from generation to generation.
Meanwhile some Greek sailors, more courageous- and not a few of them,- undertook to turn around Africa, not knowing that it was so big a continent neither where they were going to, only forward ! They say, some others crossed the straits of Hercules (Gilbratar) and sailed on up to the British Islands and Norway ! The truth is that we can find lots of devices, coming from the Mediterranean Sea and from those times, in the North-European excavations. They surely may have been taken up there by the Roman Soldiers, settling at the Roman Wall, in Scotland or by the Mosel River, at Trier, Germany.
Sailors, traders, city founders, artists, explorers : never satisfied with their present situation, always pushed towards a future which had to take place farther and farther away !
11- ALEXANDER THE GREAT + 323 BC
It seems to be quite evident, but it is of great cultural importance to emphasize the statement that the first ever so large movement from one part of the then known world to its counterpart initiated in Europe, in Greece, in Pella, from inside the Mediterranean world ! And from that time on, nobody ever heard of such a move initiating in that counterpart of the world and coming up to the inside of the Mediterranean one : with the notable execption of the Vandals at the end of the 5th century AD, devastating everything from Central Asia down to Spain.
Beyond his military conquests, Alexander created the hellenistic civilization : that is greek civilization transformed by and assimilating all the influences which were the Assyrian, Persian, Egyptian, Syrian, Iranian, Parthian, Scythian, and, at the end, Indian and Buddhist geniuses ! Hellenism was to be granted such a descendance, down to the Baroque, that is down to the 18th century AD !
And with the soaring of the Roman first Republic, then Empire, and the subsequent tremendous developping of the Silk Roads and all its legs, the Roman Hellenistic Civilization spread its influence as far as the capitals of China, the Paeksche and Silla Kingdoms of Corea and, nec plus ultra, Nara and Heian, the capitals of Yamato, the ancient Japan.(In Nara, there a special Museam, the Shoso-in, containing all devices and items made in all the countries crossed by the main Silk Road, and among them lots of objects made around the Mediterranean Sea)..
Again : conquests, trade, art, explorers, and city founders (the only Alexander founded more than ten cities after his own name, among which everybody remembers Alexandria of Egypt and Iskendrum of Turkey).
12- FROM THE FALL OF ROME (468) TO THE CRUSADES (13th CENTURY)
It was the only time period when Europe was busy with Europe only, because of the numerous quarrels between Popes and Emperors. In the mean time, the Arabs/Muslims conquered the lands from Morocco to India and from the Sahara to Poitiers (732) and settled down in Spain up to the 15th century.
That too was an incentive to a new impregnation of the Mediterranean civilization, with new elements coming from the Southeastern part of the area : the Arabian desert ! From then on, with the foundation of the kingdom of Granada, inside the triangle of Andalusia (Seville and Cordoba), a new melting pot was created between Christians, Muslims and Jews : ie. of the most productive place and time for philosophy, theology, natural sciences, medicine, mathematics, physics and art (architecture, painting, poetry). Scholars from North Africa, Egypt, but also from France and Italy rushed down to that new Athens, to that second Alexandria !
For more than 7 centuries, the other ultimate part of the Mediterranean, – near the Atlantic ocean at the straits of Hercules,- was the second modelling muster of an integrated way of thinking and expressing, the same way and time as the first hellenistic period was at the most eastern side of it (the Aegean Turkish coast) !
So, the Mediterranean needed around 15 centuries to reach that completed cultural circle, bringing together the inputs of nearly 20 countries lying on more than 8000 miles of seacoast. So, from then on, the Mediterranean actually is no more just one sea, as the other seas may be ; it is one liquid country (the traffic water area) surrounded by land (the coastline).
The main characteristic of it remains and remained untouched : whatever may and might happen, the coast looks and never ceased looking to the sea, to the open sea leading to the other sides of that multiple hub which could now undertake expeditions towards the rest of the world, eastwards and westwards.
13- FROM THE CRUSADES TO THE CONQUEST OF THE NEW WORLD
Just 2 facts, in order to emphasize one more time that irresistible trend of the Mediterranean people to transgress all limits, be they geographic or ideologic !
The trend towards East ! As he learnt that Gengis Khan should be crowned in Kambalik (Mongolia), the Pope sent an embassy from Rome to him. And after months along the Silk Road, a Franciscan Archbishop reached the place, and then founded the first Roman Catholic diocese and cathedral ever in Peking, the new capital of the new Yuan Dynasty, created by the brand new Emperor ! ...Almost at the same time, a Venitian family wanted to take advantage of that new situation by making trade with those potential new partners. The Polos organized two approach expeditions to the far flung Chinese Empire. During the second expedition, the young Marco, not only reached the target, but also became so clever both in the Chinese language and administration skills that the Emperor himself gave him the Southern capital of Hanghzou to rule !
The trend towards West ! Nobody ignores the long, uneasy, most prepared and nevertheless often hopeless efforts of another Italian 'captain of industry', Christopher Columbus, to get three vessels and the permission of the new rulers of the new Spain (1492), to try a western way to reach to the Indies. The Americas were "discovered", and one more time, it was by a Mediterranean and named after another Mediterranean Amerigo Vespucci ! ..That liquid country of ours got an immense extension over the ocean : Latin America became an extension of Spain and Portugal, the same way as later North America turned into an extension of Northern Europe : the WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants) !
But it was another ambivalent achievement of the Mediterranan people to provoke a never heard of new business, by transporting black slaves from the African middle coasts (Angola, Liberia, Sierra Leone...) to the Americas : Bahia de todos os Santos (Brazil), Cartagena de Indias(Columbia) and then the Southern States of the new North American Confederation ! The Afro-American culture was marching on, consisting of Mediterranean stuff mixed with African and North European elements : the whole having started from those inner seacoasts looking over the ocean towards the West,...the same way as the Polos,- two centuries earlier,- looked over mountains and deserts towards the East...
Now that Mediterranean cultural civilization was exported both to the West and East !
14- FROM THE 16th TO THE 20th CENTURIES
Globalisation is not only a present day phenomenom : This has been the situation every time a single cultural civilization was in a position of hegemony. From the beginning of Western history inclusively up to the discovering of America, it was the Mediterranean. Of course the East,- China and Japan,- went their own way, but they never interfered into the Western course of historical events. We never heard of a sino-japanese Alexander, Marco Polo or Columbus, not only conquering the West, but also impregnating the conquered territories with such a culture and civilization, that both became an their own heritage ! Of course the Vandals, the Huns, Gengis Khan were great conquerors too : but they destroyed what they found on their ways, without having left behind themselves anything else but a tremendous memory of terror and cruelty !
To be historically correct, it must be said that globalisation always was and is a function of the then known world. What happened during that last period before the 21th century gave globalisation a more comprehensive meaning and coherence.
One more time, with the beginning of the century of Louis XIV of France, the sea and far trade mastership, started with the inner Mediterranean sea fleets to get out of it, through Gilbratar and Suez, and connect with the New world on one hand, and on the other with all the coasts and islands of Southeastern Asia, together with English and French, of course, but also the Dutch, Spaniards and Portugese. Globalisation in today’s meaning started exactly when John I, King of Portugal and his admiral Vasco de Gama discovered the new sea routes to those far destinations ! The world became one, and that too was an achievement of Mediterranean people !
If the USA grasped and is firmly holding the leading global position in today’s situation, it is "thanks" to the two World Wars, which dissemated strenghts and men all over Europe, including Russia : for one century, -and the consequences are not yet resolved. Just look at the Balkans situation,- the central Mediterranean coast and immediate hinterland have been the prey of racial, religious, ideological and political fights. In the mean time, the new Europe tried to unify itself first through a common market, now a common currency, later ( ? ) common political institutions. The USA legitimely took of it, in a way that is still enforced after the fall of the Iron Curtain in the nineties.
The question is now : can the Mediterranean potential show again the world a way, as it once was able to so consequently do it ?
" Evanova ou Andrea ", that's the names of the new TV news announcers : two CW creatures that are supposed to replace the two flesh-and-blood ladies doing the job so far. CW news given by CW journalists for eventually future CW clients ! In a short time to come, it can be imagined an artificial world moving inside itself, by itself, for itself. Living men will turn obsolete. A virtual relationship between virtual partners is taking place for that 'brave new world' to come ! Already in the film 'Blade Runner' of Ridley Scott, Harrison Ford played the role of a police officer in charge of annihilating a few 'replicants'- artificial 'human beings',- elaborated for certain jobs and programmed to vanish after a certain while : but one of them,- a beautiful 'artificial' girl,- was programmed with some historical memories borrowed from a dead person and she has not only gotten another person's past, but she seems also to have integrated it with her own. She has memories from a time when she was not yet living !
Cyber-individuals or replicants : our computerized society is actually producing a world where human creatures are no more necessary, only those who once conceived, and now master and control it ! The rest,- all the others,- have nothing left but to obey orders given by the leaders through the machines. E-trade, -information, -stock echanges, -meeting,- decision making, -checking,- ordering etc... is the invading powerful answer to all the questions and affairs that so far needed human contact and reciprocal responsability. From now on, nobody will need to speak to, see and appreciate anybody else. Down with loss of time and sensitive influences, that are true impediments for swiftly resolving problems and offering alternatives.
To morrow mobile telephones are to facilitate internet, E-mail and television connexions ! ! !
Let's consider some items where changes are most remarkable and meaningful.
21- THE BASIC FACTORS OF THE HUMAN CONDITION : TIME & SPACE.
The MMS emphasized space as the maturing factor of any undertaking whatsoever. The aim of discovering and colonizing new territories was not to reduce distances, but to find places where overpolulated areas along the Aegean sea could be discharged and to which overpopulation could so be sent, in the new loction. Men then transformed men through the generations. It was a process where time was integrated and preserved spatial evolution through a harmonious rhythm of in and out.
The CB swallowed both time and space through at-once potentialities : no more spatial distance, no more time delay between in and out. The reign of immediateness. No more opportunity of maturing whatsoever and permanent obsolescence of any information whatsoever, because of the wholeless continuity of the historical events and their wholeless E-report 24 hours a day !
By means of its capacity of virtuality, the CW can even go quicker than history or human capability : the CW can 'propose' acceptable, more adequate, politically or ideologically more correct issues as alternatives to the not yet happened events ! History and human involvment too may become not necessary any more, as far as 'they' are no more relevant inside a world where that which counts is that which is valuable to a group of 'high leaders' who know better than anyone else what is good for everybody. That is the new 'truth', the new 'pravda', the new 'gospel' ! We already can see the reactions of the 'normal' world to the WTO or IMF meetings at Seattle or Washington. Does global trade mean emergence and development for some happy few and stagnation and empoverishment for the remaining unlucky many ? Actual injustice through virtual suppression of time and space delays ?
22- THE FATAL DESTINY OF INFORMATION
A queer statement is that information and informatics proceed from the same meaning root : FORMA. « To FORM » is a specialized philosophical term, and means the 'gift of life in the world of nature'.The ending suffixes TION & TICS respectively mean the ACTION and the MEANS of FORMING, the prefix IN denoting the simple process..
It seems that the 'means' overwhelmed the 'action' : and every 'gift' to transmit is permanently surpassed by the next to come for tranmission. Switch on Channel Bloomberg on the cable TV : you are put in a situation to read more than 20 ceaselessly changing, one- or many-digit, colored information bytes at a glance, meanwhile a charming girl or a 'yuppy' looking boy announcer is speaking general news or interviewing some commercial, political or economic specialist. A new reign is soaring : that of OBSOLESCENCE because of a practical impossibility of assimilation.'To be aware' turns 'to superficially surf' upon the skin of 'what happens',- in more than 20 fields, for Bloomberg, for example,- and so to eventually forbid anybody to get at any moment a clear idea of the state of the things.
We sure must come (back ! ) to practice the "complex thought'. This means that any consideration has to be multi dimensional and to connect together with many correlated fields as the treated theme demands. A specialist can no longer be the one dimentional scholar we knew in the a short time ago. He must as much as possible master the inner related multi-layers of his study.
I don't feel that the CW prepares anybody for that multi disciplinarian structure of mind. On the contrary, I permanently meet with people who know a lot,- almost all ! ,- about one precise, narrow and boring cyber thing, and are totally and tremendously ignorant about so many things that are important to their happiness ! The MMS has always shown its predilection for the universal ability of every citizen to be educated in a stereophonic way, in a way that implicates the diversity of life and of what is living. An information which sterilizes all the other ones and the ability to receive them, is something against nature, against life, against human beings !
23- WHAT IS COMMUNICATION ?
The MMS demands that every citizen feels responsible of his relationship to the other citizens, because the correct way to be a righteous Mediterranean consists in being able to listen to and to be listened to by the others. Personnally. Face to face. Person to person.
But the way the CW is actually going can lead but to anonymity, banalization, depersonalization and eventually dehumanization of any human relationship. The sex- phone, -Email, -TVprogramm and –websites are the most deplorable examples of what is spreading more and more, as a terrible human epidemic : the incapacity to practice a true and satisfying sex & love relationship and the necessity to refer to ersatzs because of that desease !
A global communication is supposed to allow, enforce and support more satisfying relationships between all beings living on the earth, relationships that would enhance nobility of feeling, reciprocal responsibility and better universal knowledge. They say, it was the very dream of Alexander the Great : to create such a unity between West and East, that the mutual fecundity of both civilizations should bring to life a new way of being a human in all the places of the hellenistic empire.
Profit may be a noble target to reach ; big profits may bring progress together with the necessary means toward progress. Profit is also the witness of success and capability of creating success. Profit is positive. But profit must remain the legitimate coronation of a universal service to human kind. It seems that the CW organization pushes toward hegemony and not toward service : it appears like a new kind of war, a computerized one, where the generals in chief are the chief executives of the major Computer Companies, considering the whole earth as a battle field at their private disposal. The Mediterranean world was a hard one too ; the conquest of new markets, especially the sea trade, was surely a pitiless activity. But the foundations of the harbour and city colonies granted those enterprises a certain touch of beauty and aesthetics that I miss in this our CW !
Here is, I presume, the greatest difference between the MMS & the CW : the creation of a virtual reality. It is a philosophical and religious topic.
The MMS had integrated into its various components the possible existence of an immaterial world, consisting of what they used to call divinities, heroes, angels, saviours, messiahs, spirits etc.. That they believed (had faith) in them or not is another question ! Some of the populations, ethnies, communities...spread along the Mediterranean seacoasts did believe, others didn't. But the only hypothesis of reality is a structural element for the way of living one's own destiny. We know what happened, in regard to these kinds of matters between the Near East, Egypt and Greece, then in Rome. The elaboration of doctrines had so great a destiny that they have been completely transforming empires and societies so far !
Now the time seems to have come when new fantastic worlds are no more to be just imagined, but also can be created in a sensible manner : we can see and hear them, enter them, make them change, give them a certain autonomy, move inside them. We can adapt them to our desires and needs, even imagine new desires and needs to then satisfy them !
The only existence those new fantastic worlds are endowed with, is the product of our techology and know-how. They have no proper existence, only a virtual one : but this virtual existence appears to be so near to the the true one, that some confusion will be secreted inside the user's mind. The absence of enough discrepancy between reality and virtuality may lead the user to a schizophrenic attitude in front of the real conditions of daily life and existence. The generation to come will surely be less and less prepared to cope with the objective reality as it is, because it is accustomed to mastering an artificially computerized reality : the latter may be changed, left and replaced according to one's wish and mood ! While the objective one resists any kind of change with violence : it doesn't allow itself to be treated like a lifeless object, because it has its own life ; it demands to be considered as a negotiation partner ; if not, it goes on its own way and pushes one out of its way ! The objective reality is most of the time unpredictable, unexpected and unprogrammable ! It is free of its moves ! If the new generation becomes accustomed only to machines and computerized programs, it will be unfit to live and to give life !
So the CW poses the philosophical and religious questions of 'What is life ? ', 'What is a human being ? ','What is happiness ? ' and so on...The CW has no mission to answer those questions : it only pushes one to pose them.
The Mediterranean Greeks had expressed a statement, relative to this situation. They said : 'The human being is just a sad consciousness in the sunshine'. The CW is interested neither in what is human or not human in one human being, nor to discriminate between a happy or a sad consciousness : it is not up to it to do such a task. The CW is in charge of making itself work, generating profit, and of bringing more and more people under its influence sphere. The CW has no consciousness : it is unable to have any idea of what a philosophical or religious topic may look like ! The CW is a machine : it works mechanically.
'Economic achievements are the results of human doing, not planning' : such is the statement of Friedrich von Hayek, recipient of the 1974 Nobel Prize for economic sciences.
It clearly means that economics is first of all 'action', whatever may have been conceived, thought and planned before action. It too means,- and this seems to me to be still more important,- that the actor plays the decisive, but also the ethical role in the matter, which is the trend to be pursued in our quite interdependant world.
Who is this actor ? Who is the emergent new world partner ? Who is the 'Homo Oeconomicus', the Economic Man to come ?
The task of the new globalization is to integrate together economics and culture, to create a new reflexive mental attitude, in direct continuity with the heritage of the Mediterranean humanist permanent movement, initiated a long time, three millenia ago,- that is to say : yesterday ! This task is urgent : on it the future of our civilization depends. If we don't grasp the challenge,- here and now,- we condemn the generations to come to a growing and growing definitive alienation to consumption and manipulation. We are responsible for it.
I would like to close my communication with a idealized description of mine, of the type of the emergent partner we need for that task to be done. I am convinced I am inspired by all that has been elaborated through the 3000 years inside that melting pot which the Mediterranean area still is !
That emergent partner in the CW could correspond to the following characteristics :
Everything cannot find either its beginning or ending with the Internet, which represents neither a complete new foundation of economics, nor a second birth of humanity. It is only the last moment of a tehnological revolution, concurrent with a deep transformation of the economic system.
Internet is a logical process of communication, exchange and sharing of information. As such, it is a powerful incentive stimulator to accelerate and spread communication. On the other hand, it basically transforms the access conditions to information. But the economic activity is not reduced to communication : it mainly consists of producing and exchanging, and of finding organized ways to do it : mecanisms of coordination and rules to fix conflicts, rising from work, company and market organizations. The question is : how will the Web affect that organized structure of the economy. On all this will the new hypothetical economic patterns and new growth dynamics depend !
They say, the Internet is supposed to facilitate the emergence of a totally transparent, global market which can put sellers and buyers in direct connection and free people from the institutional barriers that are opposing information, merchandise and the free flow of assets. In short, the Internet can incarnate the utopia of the perfect trade ! Negative ! The Emarket still needs 'intermediaries', to guarantee transactions or to bring together offer and bid. And it is not true that the Emarket is transparent, because of information overflow and leurre technics.
Another illusion is to suppose that the Internet could lead to a perfect profiling of the organisations and of society : that companies would turn virtual and would horizontally coordinate almost like independant individuals ; that social relationships would be organiszed according to the style of communities, spread over the space and consisting of autonomous individuals, mutually offering adapted services. In short, the global market would turn into a global village, the market would become one to one, and the whole of society would become unified, liberal and democratic !
That is totally stupid. The technologies of information impose no organization model, even if they offer new possibilities of exchange and sharing information. Above all, they let new organizational models emerge, at the same time that they reinforce the efficiency of ancient models. The web of webs can turn into a means, more at the disposal of families, communities and institutions, to reinforce social links and identities.
The technological fascination which has apparently gained the attention of the elite and is being ceaselessly used as a loud speaker by the sellers, must not hide the freedom margins that we might dispense with, to lead the economic and social models where we choose to go.
It can be said one more time that the economics, as an emerging global phenomenon, is the reality of the new millenium and the generator of a new culture. If we, citizens of the world, keep thinking that freedom,- even when it makes errors or is even degrading,- remains the most specific human characteristic, then we may wish for
the economics to turn into an art and for
the 'homo oeconomicus' to turn into an artist,
developing his know-how (trade and financial abilities),
balanced with his know-be (ethics and noble heartedness) and
putting his art at the service of humanity.
Welcome to the new Millenium !