Jim Forest will deliver this lecture as part of "The Emotional Turn in Contemporary Public and Academic Debates' series taking place at AUC.
|Date||20 April 2021|
Many people define themselves, and often are perceived by others, by nationality and by race. Both terms are invented categories: there is only one human race and national identity is a modern invention. In reality, the most important facts about us are the fact that we all belong to the same species, homo sapiens, and all of us depend on the same planetary environment: the same atmosphere and the same water. We all have the same address — the third planet out from a star we call the Sun. Our small planet happens to be uniquely and perfectly placed to develop and sustain life. That we are Earth dwellers is at the top of the list of identity tags and ought to shape our major choices about how we live on our “Blue Marble,” as it has often been described by astronauts who have seen the entire planet fitting within a single window. It’s a view that awakens awe and turns the most business-like person in a contemplative direction. National identity becomes a footnote. Being Dutch or American or Russian or Chinese or whatever alternative geographical tag is secondary. Many of those who have seen the Whole Earth from space describe it as equivalent to a mystical experience. Many astronauts afterwards devote themselves to efforts to prevent war and protect the Earth’s environment. Words like “love” and “love of enemies” take on a new meaning and urgency.
Jim Forest is an American writer, Orthodox Christian lay theologian, educator and peace activist. He knew closely and wrote about such thinkers and peace activists as journalist Dorothy Day, Trappist monk Thomas Merton and famed Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh. Jim lives in Alkmaar, the Netherlands.
Dr. Maxim Kupovykh