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Culture Wars and the Global Village: A Diplomat's Perspective Price: $32.98 Write a review | No reviews for this product.
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Why is there so much conflict in the Balkans, the Middle East, Africa, and many other parts of the world? Is there something innate in human nature that makes it next to impossible to achieve peaceful coexistence? The answer, says career diplomat Carl Coon, must be sought in the distant prehistoric past when intergroup hostility became ingrained as a pattern of cultural evolution. For thousands of generations our ancestors organized themselves in distinctive groups that competed with one another. Sometimes the competition was peaceful, but more often than not the struggle took violent forms. Today we still witness the vestiges of these prehistoric roots when the intermingling of different ways of life results not in harmonious cooperation but in animosity, conflict, and violence.

Coon suggests that we have recently embarked on a new phase of cultural evolution, one comparable in importance to the dawn of the Neolithic, when our forebears graduated from a hunter-gatherer way of life to agriculture and animal husbandry. At that time many diverse cultural groups were subsumed by larger, better organized groups whose talent for organization was necessary to manage the complexities of a new agricultural and technologically more sophisticated society. Today this process has reached its culmination with organization established on a worldwide scale and societies becoming ever more multicultural. With the emergence of the global village the world is experiencing the natural atavistic impulse toward violence in certain parts of the globe just as the mechanisms and technology are being put in place to further inter-cultural cooperation. The challenge for enlightened men and women in contemporary society, says Coon, is to realize that cultural conflicts are an inevitable result of our evolutionary heritage; to use this insight to help manage the transition to a new, global society; and then to focus in a cooperative fashion on the new global priorities of environmental preservation and the promotion of an equitable, prosperous, and peaceful world community.

Carl Coon served in the US Foreign Service for more than thirty-five years, during which time he lived and worked in many lands and cultures in both the East and the West. He was ambassador to Nepal from 1981 to 1984.

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