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THE ORIGINAL QUESTION: AM I MY BROTHER'S KEEPER? - PERHAPS, AS WE REACH THE OMEGA POINT, THE ANSWER IS AN UNEQUIVOCAL "YES!".|
It is unhealthy for the news media to keep focusing on conflicts and power plays among the major powers of the world. It invites fear and despair, a bad combination for any person to have in his head, going forward. It would be a lot better for everyone, if the news media would play a constructive role and emphasize common values, common goals, and mutual respect. One cannot expect the world to be in constant harmony. But one should expect it to try.
Let us take China and Japan, with lots of bad blood between them, but with the losses far greater on the side of the Chinese people than on Japan. Would it not have been better if Japan and China could shelve their differences regarding the sovereignty status of Diaoyudao/Senkaku, and keep it out of their relationship as long as possible? Or, the rivalry between the West and Russia? There is something to be said about Pope Francis' admonition to Putin to exert "great effort" to achieve peace, which when lost is so hard to regain. Of course, peace requires the efforts of all sides, as there is no way to wage "unilateral peace" if even just one player insists on waging war. It takes two to tango, but both sides must know and practice, as well as execute the steps, in the hope the other side will reciprocate. This logic is all too obvious, even to children, that it is surprising how difficult it is for highly educated adults to practice it.
As in the era of the Warring States, China can contribute her Confucian philosophy to the current debate, by insisting at all venues, that one should not do to others what one does not wish others to do to oneself. It may sound too naive for those hardened by the challenges and ordeals of the jungle, where the fittest, the strongest, and the fastest survive, often without wasting time to ponder the Golden Rule before acting to preserve themselves, at the expense of the rest. But, those are the easy victories where the law of the jungle seems to prevail. The hard battles often have no clearcut winners, and for these, the Confucian way might be the best possible outcome for all.
We have been too obsessed with the logic of survival in these pages, that we forget that cooperation may be the ONLY way for survival. As the risks grow bigger with advances in technology, we might find it harder and harder to imagine any victory of any degree without achieving it through cooperation. In short, the world may be so dangerous that we might have to choose between win-win solutions and lose-lose outcomes, with nothing in between. If so, we would have turned the curse of Cain into the blessing of Abel, and made every success we achieve, a success for the rest of mankind.