The Human Face of Globalization

Institute for Communal Contemplation and Dialogue
Exercising Contemplative Power
Reflection – The Human Face of Globalization

June 2012

In approaching the topic of globalization, I had to think about Teilhard de Chardin and his articulation of the concept of the “noosphere”. His prayer and thought brought him to understand that all of creation is evolving/developing and that we humans have come to know that we know. We know that we are evolving together and we appreciate that we are connected in that knowing. In this evolving and developing we have come to a knowledge and connection with the rest of creation and in particular the rest of the world that we did not have 50 or 100 years ago – our life experience has become more globalized..

In this process we move ahead with our own experiences and come to live out of those experiences. Thus this process of becoming has taken on different meanings for different people. In thinking about globalization we see that for some it is a great opportunity to enhance the bottom line of a corporate finance report, for others it is a way to exercise power over a people militarily or financially, for others it brings home the oppression and violence of trafficking and slave labor, for others it is an opportunity to connect with other cultures, an opportunity to learn from the traditions of brothers and sisters around the world, for others it is an opportunity to share resources, creativity, and passion for making the world a better place for all of us.

For our purpose here it is not necessary list the incredible gifts that globalization has given us nor to enumerate the statistics of oppression and destruction brought about by globalization. Rather it is important to focus on the human face of globalization to take us to another place. That place is one of joy, hope, pain, sorrow, and despair, touching our hearts rather than our minds and providing a different lens for our moving forward in this evolutionary journey.

There is John, a 20-something young man from Minneapolis, holding an orphan in Mother Theresa’s orphanage in Port-aux- Prince. The look of love on his face is incredible. The poverty of the child is also incredible – a malnourished infant living in a crib among 40 other malnourished infants in cribs in a room with perhaps 3 caretakers, changing diapers, bathing, feeding their innocent charges. Who has the time to play with, cuddle, talk to, sing to these incredibly unique children? The other human faces are those in government office who negotiated (forced) a trade agreement which brought the rice farmers in Haiti to their knees because now the US can sell its rice for less than the farmers can grow their own. And the face extends to the worker in the agribusiness corporation who is working to provide food, shelter, clothing, and education for his/her family by processing that rice for Haiti.

There is the family in Gaza welcoming two visitors from the US into their home. The family survives on one meal a day. The visitors were received with unforgettable hospitality and generosity¬–served a Thanksgiving Dinner including chicken. All of the members of the family were not able to enjoy the chicken because there was not enough to go around. The next morning we were served a breakfast including eggs…the only meal for the family for that day. The other face of that situation is the oppression and genocide of the Palestinian people on their own land. It is the face of a fearful soldier carrying out the orders of his commander even as he knows he is killing a fellow human being, one who has the right to his home and land that may be the very place where the soldier is living. The oppression and genocide is supported with US taxpayer dollars through the policies of legislators who know that their job depends on standing in solidarity with the Israeli government.

There are the faces of hundreds of people from around the globe who came together at the Hague Appeal for Peace a number of years ago. People from developing countries with very few financial resources to make the trip to the Netherlands, people of political power like Queen Noor of Jordan, people with great talent and influence like Judy Collins, ordinary people with a passion for bringing peace to this planet. We all gathered to bring hope that this evolution of mind and heart would bring us to a better reality as we move ahead on our journey of globalization and coming to a new oneness.
Also in the mix are the faces of leaders and workers at Department of Defense corporations who truly believe that they are making the world a safer place by making weapons for the US military to use.

You, too, have many examples of the human face of globalization.

How do we take the faces into our contemplative practice and being? How do we take our gifts mind and heart, of community, of struggle and pain to the next place of being as Barbara Marx Hubbard invites us to in her description of evolutionary consciousness as we live with our humanity and with the gift of creation?

Written by: Mary Ellen Gondeck, CSJ

© 2012 Institute for Communal Contemplation and Dialogue
Reprint with permission

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