UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres addresses the General Debate of the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly at the headquarters in New York City on September 19 (XINHUA)
Editor's Note: The 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly was held in the UN headquarters in New York where top politicians gathered to discuss how to preserve stability, security, human rights and international law as well as how to reform the world's largest inter-governmental organization and to create more equitable world order. David Scott Clegg, Chief Executive of UNITE Education, argues to get rid of the zero-sum game and create "one sum game" and he continues that the destiny of each nation, all nations in their diversity, is to complete the picture of one world in its entirety. His article follows:
What does it mean to have a destiny? And are we destined to know the truth of our own reason for existence, as individuals, as nations--as a race? These are the questions of the age--the Human Age--if we desire to go higher, and not merely expire.
With yet another UN General Assembly (UNGA 72) concluding, one that se our collective consciousness on "Focusing on People: Striving for Peace and a Decent Life for All on a Sustainable Planet," perhaps it would be useful to look at the state of mankind under its current set of rules, games, conditions.
We seek nations united. In a world that remains divided. With each serving their role in part, yet falling well short of the whole that may only be realized when the many act as--and become--one. I speak of unity, of a united face, one that understands, embrace the vital role that each country, each individual plays in assuring the whole remains viable, sustainable. And by "whole," we are talking humanity in its entirety.
A United Nations. United by ideals. Divided by degrees of willingness, cooperativeness, and innovativeness.
The proof is on display. The case studies are many. Conflict. Climate change. Clean food, water, health issues. Human beings and our less that admirable doings. Any media view will provide ample example of a number of games in play that contribute to this dichotomy of direction, this disharmony of humanity. Games that had their genesis in childhood but have become tragically familiar on the adult stage. The boys grew up. The games remain the same. And these "games" tell a story of the fate of humanity living the definition of insanity: the same games, over and over, with the expectation of a different outcome.
From Capture the Flag, where one team defends its flag against an aggressor that has but one mission: take the other team's flag and leave them empty handed.
Or Musical Chairs, where there exists one less chair than the number of players, thus guaranteeing there will always be someone left outside the group.
And maybe we can recall the famed Simon Says, where one plays the leader and all the rest are systematically eliminated until no one is left standing.
All examples of some form of zero-sum game, where in order for someone to win there must be someone who does not. Old ways. Old means. And old path to a predictable and not so pleasurable and of nations, for the collective.
Is this our destiny, as nations, as society in its entirety? Can we not imagine another way, through the course of greater cooperation, innovation, elevation? Imagine it, and then make it so?
A new game
There are those who propose a new game. One forged by the highest set of rules, documented by rulebooks of various structures, systems, beliefs that govern people under the highest authority--our integrity. For the moment, let's call it the One Sum Game, a game where no human being of His doing may corner the market on the commodity known as humanity. This ensures the highest laws at work--nature and beyond. One where all must play. No exceptions. If you're here, you're in.
In the One Sum Game, each player contributes his or her value to the cause at hand. Let's call this cause the Survivals of the Species. Where one player lacks in vision, expertise, resource, the others fill the void accordingly, in accord with the before mentioned highest law (reminder: all must play and no one is allowed to lose). In this game, nations contribute what they can, what they know, have, taking turns in the leadership role in accordance with their knowledge and abilities--with proper checks and valances in place in case one dare forget the true purpose of the fame at hand. The table is round. Everyone participates. No one is left behind. There still remains free choice, but only one will. For in the One Sum Game, one only wins when all win. There are no losers the fame is over only when all players have made it safely home. Where humanity meets with integrity, the only outcome allowed under The Law that governs All.
Confucius shared, "The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home." And by "home," perhaps the divine master was speaking as well of a more divine place within, for the human race throughout.
The One Sum Game. We find China playing by a similar set of rules. The People's Republic of China in recent years has begun to fill the void in Stewardship, global leadership into a new age of thinking and behaving. This void was created by the absence of inclusiveness by certain Western nations who are still playing the fame of competition over cooperation, and perhaps more importantly as gatekeepers for ideology and global activity. It is an output of capitalism, not as envisioned by Adam Smith and other patriarchs of free market systems but of the individual centric version that is symptomatic of the zero-sum game that has engulfed the U.S. and other nations over much of the last half century. And China has recognized and responded to the void created.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi in his recent address to the UN General Assembly highlighted China's position on global development, and its role as a responsible peacekeeper, enabler, bridge builder--literally and figurative, while others speak of walls with harmful, divisive rhetoric. Its active role in supporting the development of Africa's infrastructure and capabilities in a responsible, sustainable manner, along with its Belt and Road Initiative proposed in 2013 which focuses on connectivity and cooperation between Eurasian countries, are just a couple examples of what may only be described as an astute assessment and display in cooperativeness and innovativeness. China is playing the One Sum Game. And as such, it is winning in the game of diplomacy and viability as a leading force into the unknown knowing that is our collective future as humanity. And it is doing so through the type of win-win spirit President Xi Jinping called for his address to the UNGA in 2015, with reminder of this provided us by the Chinese Foreign Minister in his address last week to the same body.
Given the current state of humanity and its proclivity for making the simple difficult, I propose the following as an undeniable, unavoidable, entirely attainable truth: simply, the destiny of each nation, all nations in their diversity, is to complete the picture of one world in its entirety. And to do so with integrity. This is the vision of a "united nations," with an organization of the same name that remains as the single greatest construct of hope for world peace forged through despair of world war. The UN is symbolic of a planet of great diversity governed by the element of commonality--our humanity--yet has experienced marginal success when faced with the task of representing its noble ideas and ideals among a membership whose primary agenda is largely self-preservation through self- representation. Add to this the verity of each nation beholding to its own destiny, its own karmic reality as with each human incarnate, and you have a varied audience with varying agenda seeking solidarity. And of equal significance, the challenge in moving thought to action on a global scale. No easy task. No easy task indeed.
So then, how would one profess to change the paradigm of present, and provide for a series of nations united under common theme and, more importantly, uncommon action? A complicated path with a common beginning. It begins, as always, with a raised consciousness, an awareness that sees the sum of all parts as greater than each individual piece, with each nation and its respective destiny conducted in such harmony as to change mere not (and noise) to symphony. It begins with a model of partnership over partisanship collaboration over competition; inclusiveness over individual-centrism. It begins with awareness, understanding, and moves through responsibility to requisite activity.
It begins with each of us. And ends with all of us. There is simply no other game in town. And win or lose, we are in it together.