A new idea: Let human achievement be the battleground
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Mesmerized -- dazzled! -- by the talented tsunami of the impressively gifted athletes who displayed their spectacular skills at the recently concluded London (2012) Olympics extravaganza, I offer herein a different approach, a new idea about how competing nations in a "braver new world" (with apologies to Aldous Huxley) might do battle in terms of human abilities rather than via the wearily conventional ways to establish or score national hierarchies.
The New Idea: using human abilities and attributes to differentiate among the world's countries, not by featuring today's tired efforts to differentiate among nations: military power, economic strengths/weaknesses, the World Series, Super Bowls and hockey championships.
Think of it. Drool over it. Luxuriate in it. Venture beyond the usual gradations for ranking excellence in these objects and enterprises: battleships, submarines, tanks, missiles, flying fortresses, space travel and wealth.
Instead, take the bull by the horns and concentrate on the breathtaking feats of athleticism at the London Olympics, along with such other human abilities as composing and playing soulful and stirring music, creating poetry and literature, ballet dancing and reposing in spiritual experiences. These and other human abilities dwarf in vitality and meaningfulness military power, economic levels and athleticism prevalent in today's efforts to distinguish one nation from another in order to construct a ladder of steps from undistinguished to extraordinary,
Yes, the "New Idea" proposed herein smacks unmistakably of an unrealistic and unsophisticated pipedream for gaining entrance into the amorphous reaches of an illusory heaven, but reach we must, for as Andrea del Sarto wistfully rhapsodized, "Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp. Or what's a heaven for?" Accordingly, by reaching arduously and aimfully, we will end up reposefully in the celestial gardens of the wild blue yonder called heaven.
The writer is Distinguished Service Professor, Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh.
First Published September 18, 2012 12:00 am