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close this bookScience and Technology in the Transformation of the World (UNU, 1982, 496 p.)
close this folderSession V: From intellectual dependence to creativity
close this folderOn the edge of a razor blade: the new historical blocs and socio-cultural alternatives in Europe
close this folderMiroslav Pecuilic and Zoran Vidakovic
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentI. The new janus - Two faces of science and technology
View the documentII. The pathology of power and science
View the documentIII. The new protagonist - social movements and organic intelligentsia
View the documentIV. Dramatic birth of alternatives
View the documentV. Self-reliance and solidarity (autonomy and new universality)
View the documentNotes

V. Self-reliance and solidarity (autonomy and new universality)

Intellectual creativity is made possible only if the social ground is autonomous. The sources of new culture, of socio-cultural alternatives, are one's own society, its needs. Without a sufficient degree of autonomy dependent growth becomes inevitable. The social groups which are the executors and co-beneficiaries of the exploitation of natural resources and manpower cannot become the bearers of endogenous creativity. They develop the mentality and ideology of inferiority and dependence. Autonomous practice (or the "concept of specificity" A. Malek) must encompass all dimensions of life. Its point of departure is political philosophy - the desire of people to live their own life, to become the masters and creators of their own destiny. A social setting in which citizens would take part in governing and managing their schools, factories, hospitals, and cultural institutions is also a way of having them develop their own integrity and preserve and develop the identity of their culture. the concept of specificity includes a strategy of technological development which is not restricted to the adoption of the patterns of others ("Self-reliant creativity as against the prevailing fashion of the transfer of knowledge''). The search for alternative ways of modernizing, of industrial development which will not lead to such a dehumanization of people and their environment, which will secure increasingly the flow of the fruit of technological growth to the working people, rather than to privileged social groups and societies, is crucial. But the development of endogenous culture by no means implies confinement to one's boundaries. On the contrary, it is the simultaneous maintenance of one's own cultural creativity (autonomy, specificity) and the resolute rejection of sterile autarchy; it is the opening of bridges towards the world, and enrichment with the most valuable heritage of other cultures, with universal values.

But the new culture (SCA) cannot be built in isolation, without international solidarity. Without mutuality there is no autonomy.

The coming era opens a glorious but also critical period of overall interdependence. We are living in a planetary world society. The formerly isolated and autarchic societies, like oases divided by deserts, have come closer together, interconnected by thousands of links. Also, three continents - Asia, Africa, and Latin America - have re-entered the cent re of world history. Moved by the great forces of national liberation and social revolution they are opening the gigantic, hidden creativity potentials of mankind, bearing the most valuable fruits in the creation of a new world.

However, what the image of the world community will be like is of crucial importance. The forces of hegemony are becoming the protagonists of the negative, antagonistic aspect of the integration of mankind. They are inclined toward a world order in which the great linking of material and cultural forces will be paid for by the annihilation of autonomy, by the loss of cultural identity, by subordination. A pluralism of culture is necessary in order to have the world become a society which is not uniform and indistinguishable, but rich in its Promethean quest for a life which is worthier of man. Only autonomy, independence, and equality can be a path leading towards universal richness - a world which is being enriched by the original and unrepeatable creativity of every civilization. Deprived of this, interdependence is not a way to mutual enrichment but an obstruction to the growth of civilization.

It is a liberation of the potentials of the entire world that is concerned; not their compression into a Could, but a true encounter of progressive tendencies from all parts of the world.

Differences will remain. But the decisive question is whether they will lead to mutual complementariness, or whether they will turn into hostility, antagonism (Abdel-Malek). It is crucial to oppose the logic which disintegrates the working masses of the world, not to enforce partial practice and truth as the only ones, not to present part of the sky as the entire horizon. Eurocentrism is a distinct example of such thought and practice. The greatest challenge has emerged like fate itself. Opposing the disastrous current that would immortalize the division into the sparse world aristocracy and the proletarian village is the crucial question of the epoch. Mankind cannot survive if millions of people are being destroyed or are dying of hunger on one side while others are watching this indifferently. It cannot be sustained if the ruling minorities are preserving the growing misery of the rest of the world in order to increase their own wealth: "We are bringing ourselves closer to the sky in fast rockets, but we are not bringing hands together in human brotherhood" (P. Neruda).