By Leonardo Boff
There is presently strong resistance to the process of globalization, aggravated by Donald Trump, who has forcefully pushed the idea of “The United States First”, or better said, “Only the United States”. Trump advocates war against global corporations, in favor of those wholly within the United States.
It is important to understand that this is about a struggle against the huge economic-financial conglomerates that control a large part of the world’s wealth, in the hands of a very small number of persons. According Joseph Stiglitz, 2001 Nobel laureate for economics, we have 1% multi-millionaires vs. the 99% who are dependent or impoverished.
This type of globalization is of an economic-financial character, dinosauric; as Edgar Morin puts it, the iron stage of globalization. But globalization is more than economics. It is about an irreversible process, a new stage in the evolution of the Earth, that began at the moment we discovered her as seen from outside, as the astronauts showed us from their spaceships. Then it was clear that Earth and Humanity form a unique complex entity.
The testimony of John W. Young, the North American astronaut, on the fifth trip to the moon of April 16, 1972, is impactful: «Below is the Earth, the blue and white planet, amazingly beautiful, shining, humanity’s motherland. From here, the moon would fit in the palm of my hand. From this perspective, there are neither Whites nor Blacks on Earth, nor divisions between East and West, communists and capitalists, North and South. Together we form a single Earth. We must learn to love this planet of which we are part».
From this experience the 1933 words of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin become prophetic and provocative: «The age of nations is over. If we do not want to die, this is the moment to shake off the old prejudices and build the Earth. The Earth will be conscious of herself by no other means than by a crisis of conversion and transformation». This crisis is instilled in our minds: now we are responsible for the only Common Home we have. And we have invented the means of our own self destruction, which increases even more our responsibility for the whole planet.
If we look carefully, this consciousness arose early in the XVI century, precisely in 1521, when Ferdinand Magallan circled the globe for the first time, empirically proving that the Earth is round, and that we can get anywhere from whatever point where we find ourselves.
Globalization began to take form with the Westernization of the world. Europe commenced the colonial and imperialist adventure of conquest and domination of all the discovered and to be discovered lands, putting them at the service of the European interests, as manifested by the will to power, which we can very well translate as the will to unlimited enrichment, the imposition of the White culture, of their political institutions and their Christian religion.
From the point of view of the victims of this process, this adventure was carried out violently, with great genocides, ethnocides and ecocides. That adventure was a trauma and tragedy for the majority of the peoples, the consequences of which can be felt today, even among those who were the colonizers, who introduced slavery and forced surrender to the great imperialist powers.
We must now rescue the positive and essential meaning of the word planetization, a word that is better than globalization, given its economic connotations. On April 22, 2009, the United Nations made official the nomenclature, Mother Earth, to give it a connotation of something alive that must be respected and venerated, as we do our mothers. Pope Francis used the expression Common Home to show the profound unity of the human species that inhabits the common space.
This moment is a step forward in the process of geo-genesis. We cannot go back with a diminished consciousness, and close down, as Donald Trump pretends, within our national borders. We must prepare ourselves for this new step that the Earth has given, this living super organism, according to the thesis of Gaia. We are the moment of consciousness and of intelligence of the Earth. We are the Earth that feels, thinks, loves, cares and venerates. We are the only beings of nature whose ethical mission is to care for this sacred inheritance, to ensure that it is an inhabitable home for all of us, and for the entire community of living beings.
We are not rising to this call of the Earth herself. Therefore we must wake up and assume this noble mission of building planetizaton.
Leonardo Boff, is the author of more than sixty books in the areas of Theology, Spirituality, Philosophy, Anthropology and Mysticism. Most of his works have been translated into the main modern languages.