1. A Stranger
A staring stranger in a crowded car
buzzing from Kamakura to Tokyo
a listening dumb in a humming lobby in Roppongi.
(21 September 2009)
Sustainable Urbanism and Its Challenges to Civil Society.
By Marco Kusumawijaya
We are entering very interesting decades of the 21st century: The whole humanity is mobilising to survive together the climate change in order to prolong their existence into the next millenium or so. If they succeed, they will be able to question many Gods –big or small, singular or plural, ancient or recent—so far conceptualised, between two possible extremes: reinstating them into absolute existence because of the awe that humans will experience of the ecological changes, and totally gettig rid of their divine necessity, because of a new, self-instigated confidence. In all possibilities, being made more humble or arrogant, humanity will have a profoundly restructured existential understanding of themselves and the universe.
Or, maybe not.
Date: November 6 (Fri), 2009 1:00-4:30 pm
Venue: Iwasaki Koyata Memorial Hall, International House of Japan
Admission: Free (reservation is required)
Language: Japanese/English (with simultaneous translation)
People all over the world are constantly tinkering with democracy to make it serve not just the majority but the whole of humanity, as our diversity increases while we discover more about the marginalized, the oppressed, the forgotten, the discounted, and those unable to voice their interests because either they do not yet exist (our future generations) or do not speak human language (other species). The state and the market, arguably the two most important inventions of our modern day, seem to have partially failed us; the state is becoming more distant from the people, not representing fully our collective capacity and accommodating our diverse nature and needs; and the market seems to represent only our competitive nature, rather than our collaborative nature. We realize that we may have relinquished too much of our power to the state and the market, and that we need to revitalize our capacity to act as voluntary associations of individuals and communities, as people, as civil society. In this context of global challenges, Asia is emerging both as problem and solution.