Current international challenges recount fundamentally deep concerns relating to the increase and escalation of intercivilizational conflict. This idea of a “clash of civilizations” originated by Samuel P. Huntington has generated much discussion and controversy. Reaction to his thesis has ranged from affirmation to criticism to a complete rejection of his hypothesis. At the same time, the text has been perceived by many as key document of a new kind of discourse: that civilizations culturally differ and must be prepared to struggle and even prevail over one another.
If the assumption of international polarization founded on the increasingly significant component of ideology and culture is to be seriously considered, the crucial question is : can decades-old adversaries with stereotypical images along cultural and ideological lines be vanquished ? Can a new paradigm from World think tanks for the categorization of international relations, subdue or conquer the "clash of civilizations" cliché? . For the answer to be resoundingly positive, constructive approaches towards understanding the dynamics of such type of conflict must be put under the microscope. Moreover, the central challenge for the development of strategies that can promote goodwill, moderation and commonalities among cultures and civilizations would play a significant role. The media could be invoked to spread the message.
Visibility of political tension and increasing alienation along civilization and predominantly cultural-religious lines makes it all the more important to reflect upon the need for entering into a dialogue . Apart from its epistemological relevance , dialogue would an enabling factor in creating an alternative paradigm to construct a common ground , drawing protagonists into a bridge-building process . For the dialogue to be fruitful the factor that could play a key role could be one of healing memories . For this, while sustaining distinctiveness and uniqueness of each civilization, a syncretic approach instead of an antithetical one would be both interesting and productive. After all civilizations have borrowed from one another. An objective perspective that is free from historical grudges should be the parameter of our dedication to forging an alliance of civilizations.
Worthy of our attention should be the affirmation of sharing and exchanging rather than of resentment and misgivings . Transcending the paradigm of differences , an attitude towards one's implicit understanding of the world is also indispensable for the development of tolerance towards other civilizations.
Rich with symbols that appeal to hearts and minds at many levels, several issues could spontaneously surface in the dialogue among civilizations. Engaging in complex issues varies in accordance with the context in which this subject is raised. At times, it fuels arguments and at others it is brought up in reminiscence, but the danger lies in the cultural and historical phenomenon that imposes its presence, not as a chapter of history that is gone by but as a human experience in lessons to be taught to us for the present. This narrative can be elevated to a different level. It can be revised and guided by a principle of “interdependent co-operation”, whereby the world is understood as an interdependent turf, where the stresses and strains of sustainability require a innovative kind of global approach .
The appraisal can lead to a healing of memory, a process that requires bringing to the table fresh deliberations of the human experience of the world where one can find a place to be heard in manner conducive to compose and build a contented and effective alliance toward our shared human future. Taking up the challenge using wisdom and the deep human as well as spiritual requirements of human living, rather than simply serving technical and commercial interests , we can endow our tumultuous and beleaguered world with the peace it is silently seeking.
Our combined endeavor will lead us to the light of wisdom compelling us join hands in partnership and friendship to obliterate the pain, healing the wounds that we have unwittingly given ourselves and from which we collectively suffer.
(Paper to be published)