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Walter Truett Anderson

      . . . postmodernizer & globalist. Dr. Anderson is president of the American Division of the World Academy of Art and Science, an associate editor and columnist for the Pacific News Service, and a founder and fellow of the future-focused Meridian Institute. With a PhD in political science and social psychology, Dr. Anderson‚s many books include All Connected Now: Life in the First Global Civilization, The Truth about The Truth and Reality isn't What It Used to Be.

Excerpts3:35 secs
[This Program was recorded March 15, 2002 in Atlanta, Georgia, US.]

      Humans today are reconnected to each other for the first time since we left Africa to colonize the planet. At the same time, we are reaping the harvest of changes set in motion when the first single celled organism divided, observes Walter Truett Anderson. Embrace delight along with the discomforts we are all experiencing, he suggests, confident we are already quite different from our forebearers.

      Walter Truett Anderson has spent a lifetime thinking and writing about and reporting on the rapidly accelerating changes of this era. He is president of the American Division of the World Academy of Art and Science. With a PhD in political science and social psychology, Dr. Anderson left academics to become an independent scholar and thinker. He is associate editor and columnist for the Pacific News Service and a founder and fellow of the future-focused Meridian Institute. His many books include All Connected Now: Life in the First Global Civilization, The Truth about the Truth, and Reality Isn't What It Used To Be.

      The exponential curve is the true symbol of our time, says Dr. Anderson. And he, unlike some others, is confident humans are capable of living in a multicultural, multidimensional world that is increasingly interconnected, where the rules do change in the course of our lifetimes and where we have to learn how to get along as members of multiple communities. He thinks we may even come to like what we‚ve become -- global citizens.

      Yes, there are profound implications to the reality that geography no longer constrains and defines us, Dr. Anderson acknowledges. Entire systems we used to think of as discrete -- ecosystems that are political, economic, cultural and biological -- are unstable, altering, being threatened and collapsing. Add in that there are now new connections between these systems, connections that simply did not used to exist. Each one of us is connected to all of these systems, he says, and they all interact.

      "Globalization," he assures us, is a lot bigger than economics. That one dimensional way of looking at it obscures what Dr. Anderson sees as a complex of responses on the political front. He suggests we expand the palette to include liberal and conservative globalists and anti-globalists, whose own boundaries are permeable.

      Dr. Anderson is enthusiastically confident that we are up to the task of dealing with our changed reality. It is the specialty of humans to adapt, he reminds us. And the genuine leaders of the 21st century, he believes, will be people who embrace learning.

      The emerging realities require us to define ourselves anew, Dr. Anderson counsels. The choices that 21st century humans have are not absolute and we may be wrong or unsuccessful. But, says Dr. Anderson, we each now have the freedom to declare, "This is the drama of which I‚m going to be a part. This is the role I'm going to take in that drama." And he believes, in spite of the uncertainties, having these choices is wonderful. We do not get to be comfortable, he acknowledges. But we can be joyous.

Conversation 1

Walter Truett Anderson assures Paula Gordon and Bill Russell that rapidly accelerating change is now a fundamental reality of human life, human evolution and evolution in general. He shows how it fits into his multi-faceted definition of "globalization."


Conversation 2

The exponential curve is the best visual symbol of our time, Dr. Anderson says, and gives examples. He distinguishes one-dimensional ideas about globalization from what has been happening since homo sapiens departed from Africa to colonize the earth. For the first time since then, he points out, the entire human population is now reconnected. He describes what is happening as geographic constraints on human activity decline. He reminds us that the ideas of "a world" and of the human species as a biological unit are historically relatively recent, then revisits technology‚s central role in humans‚ experience.


Conversation 3

To be useful, we need to expand our concept of "globalization" beyond simply the economic, Dr. Anderson says, urging us also to include political, cultural and biological phenomena. Each, he says, is a system and all four systems are interrelated, with their boundaries unstable and collapsing. New and increasing connections between these systems affect us all -- politically, economically, biologically and culturally already global citizens. He speaks to how these realities define and shape the kind of beings we are, humans living in the 21st century. He shows how fundamentally different we are today from people even a generation past. Demonstrably altered realities, however, do not decrease the power of the concept of "identity" for people, he says, even as the idea of nation-states withers.


Conversation 4

Dr. Anderson reiterates the importance of accelerating change, offering a variety of ways to describe our current condition. He suggests different skills we must develop in order to function as multi-community people. He expands on how different sets of rules and expectations now shape all of our lives and argues forcefully that adapting to this new reality is entirely within our human capacity to adapt. He is confident, he says, that people are capable of living in a multicultural, multidimensional world that increasingly interconnects, where the rules change in our lifetimes and we learn to be members of multiple communities -- and that we can even like it! He describes what a "leader" looks like in today‚s world, then explains why we no longer get to be "comfortable."


Conversation 5

Dr. Anderson draws a sophisticated map of contemporary global politics, using familiar left-right/globalist-anti-globalist descriptions. He gives a series of examples out of current political, economic, cultural and biological events. He offers examples of how everyone knows more than we think we know about what is going on in the world. He reiterates his belief in humans' remarkable capabilities for learning and adaptation.


Conversation 6

Reminding us that "culture" is only another way of describing the bath of information in which we all live, Dr. Anderson summarizes today's world. He describes how much of his expanded idea of globalization has already come to pass and points out the irony of how global "anti-globalization" movements themselves are. He encapsulates the range of choices we humans have in the 21st century and marvels at opportunities those choices offer us all.


Acknowledgements

Dr. Anderson has had the courage to take his intellect and wisdom beyond the traditional confines of the academic world, giving voice to some of the most important concepts of our rapidly changing times in his intellectual pursuits, his books and his reporting. He has been profoundly gracious in sharing his insights and visions with us in a wide variety of ways, for which we are deepy grateful.

Related Links:
All Connected Now: Life in the First Global Civilization is published by Westview Press, a member of the Perseus Group
Among Dr. Anderson's many important books are Reality Isn't What It Used To Be, and The Truth about the Truth: De-Confusing and Re-Constructing the Postmodern World, which Dr. Anderson edited, a Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam book, published by Penguin Putnam.


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