Editor: Those of us who are trying to promote the spirit and culture of interdependence among people around the world recognize that interdependence is not all for the good. It can be dangerous, indeed lethal — as is evident in the gargantuan waves of the tsunami that charged over the Pacific from Japan to the California coast and the insidious radiation traveling invisibly to who knows where from Japan’s damaged nuclear plants.

It is important to respect the phenomenon of interdependence as an ecological, existential challenge and to recognize that it is our challenge. We are floored — swept away — terrified by the happenings in the world that seem to be beyond our control and at the same time are ours to deal with.

Between the recent natural disasters — culminating in the triple debacle in Japan featuring an earthquake, a tsunami and a nuclear breakdown — and the serial democratic revolutions in North Africa and the Middle East, particularly the Gadhafi-charged Libyan one, we are unsettled.

We thought that we might be nearing a new post-Cold War world order.

Instead our world is in vast disorder — physically, politically and socially. The leaders of the free world are scrambling — effectively, in my view — to get a handle on the situations that elude understanding and control. But they’re working together and, in the process, strengthening their collaborative skills and getting results.

We can’t afford to fall apart — we don’t have that luxury — and we can’t say the problems are “theirs.” In fact they are theirs and ours. We are, more than ever, unavoidably, inextricably connected. It’s a “new now” calling for a “new we.” It’s frightening, but at the same time, there are inherent in this new now the seeds of a more profound sense of mutual responsibility that bodes well for the future.

Times-Tribune, March 26, 2011

New now, new we