Circum-Navigating The World Island, Among Enemies
Everyday our vision travels across time and space. We see images in the media about atrocities, disruptions, crises, famine, and wars. And in each case, our sense of injustice is awakened. We feel outrage and indignation based upon our ideals and value systems, which were formed through our traditions and religions. But in this age where the power of media and information is so powerful, what we see is often manufactured to appeal to our values. While these values circulate among the images we see in cyberspace, these manipulations are rooted in certain realities: geography, natural resources, and power relationships. Our values are managed to serve the control of resources and territory. They serve the deeper reality of geography and geopolitics. How then are these ideals and values created, manipulated, and opposed across various pivots or boundaries, between East and West, between the individual and the collective? Through English geographer Sir Halford Mackinder’s concepts of “pivot” and “heartland”; German philosopher Carl Schmitt’s importance of “nomos”; and French writer Victor Segalen’s reflections on the loss of cultural diversity, we outline this priority of geography. By examining these writers, we can begin to ask if our ideals and values have any real moral or theological significance, or if they are merely effects of the competition between powers. Can ideals and values lead to real change and development, or are they merely leashes to guide us based on the aims of power?
Carl Schmitt; cultural diversity; geography; geopolitics; Halford Mackinder; natural resources; political theology; Victor Segalen