...because “the center of the world is everywhere and the periphery nowhere”...
Five variables mainly contribute to making this world what it is today, referring to an infinite diversity of collective and individual situations.
First of all, the economic and socio-political couple reflects the way we have progressed, the principles and values we have established or fought against, but also the way we project ourselves according to the priorities we have elected or that we are undergoing. From oligarchies to participatory democracies, from capitalist systems to social economy, a mosaic of societies, nations, actors of various sizes and statuses, be they public or private, has thus been established, more or less renewed or renewable. A mosaic whose complex history is made up of alliances, rivalries or confrontations, whether they are financial, territorial or digital...
A third factor plays a major role in this planetary game: religious and philosophical systems, or more precisely the people and institutions that embody and interpret them. From state religions to secularism, from fundamentalist temptations to confessional communities, their influence in many fields, their way of responding to the mysteries of life and our existential choices, their conception of the educational work, as well as their plurality bearing more or less reconcilable truths, take a decisive part in the present state of the world.
Besides this trilogy, and even if it may have long seemed “secondary” to those who pretended to ignore it, a fourth variable is recalled with force and urgency: the environment into the whole variety of its causes and consequences. Global warming, so-called “natural” disasters, pollution of all kinds, waste management, water wars, access to energy, depletion of resources, extinction of species... so many issues that affect contemporary and future balances, going far beyond particular adjustments while returning the human species to its common destiny. From denial to a headlong rush, from analysis to the need for thoughtful action, differentiated or even antagonistic approaches are being adopted, conditioned by the benefits to be expected in the short, medium or long term.
Finally, a fifth component specific to our times shakes up much of what we have just stated, a variable in phase with the uninterrupted history of technology and science as well as our modes of communication: digital. In the space of a few decades, digital technology has in fact revisited a growing part of the economic, political, psychosocial, educational and media frameworks and foundations, while at the same time driving their profound change. While communication has undergone an upheaval on an unprecedented scale, many other sectors have followed, changing the way we conceive of the world and its interactions. From artificial intelligence to exhaustive archiving, from cyber-warfare to digital art, from mobile commerce to the (so-called) “intelligent” city, each advance densifies the digital hold. New and powerful players have emerged, joining or replacing their predecessors, in a significantly redistributed economic and political context.
Ultimately, whoever we are, wherever we are, we are therefore, to varying degrees, at the meeting point of these five variables, admitting or rejecting their ideological and/or identity influences. The most heterogeneous conditions thus distribute us on a vast local and planetary chessboard to which each act or thought, each judgment, each move, each purchase, makes its contribution. The complexity of the human kind, its modes of function and dysfunction attest to this, and the news does not fail to remind us of this continuously. All the criteria that define us are in fact in line with it, among which we shall retain:
in terms of socio-politics
- Our inscription in a given society, according to its distinctions, peoples, ethnic groups, but also social classes, castes... and their more or less harmonious or conflictual relationships,
- Our relationship to humanity, to the idea we have of it,
- Our consideration of gender, with all the consequences in terms of respect and rights, or their denial,
- Our relationship to family, union and kinship, as well as the place they hold in our balances or imbalances,
- Our participation in politics according to diverse systems of government and representation, including consideration of international relations and the question of borders,
- Our relationship to justice and injustice and how we define them,
- Our relationship to security and insecurity,
- Our consideration of war and peace, and our contribution in actions and thoughts.
in terms of activities and economy
- Our standard of living from extreme poverty to the most ostentatious luxury, and multiple degrees of comfort or discomfort,
- Our remunerated activities, be they sustainable or not, legal or not, referring to the range of professions and the satisfaction they provide us or not, as well as to the nature of the organisations, in terms of responsibility and ethics,
- Our idea of trade, of its nature and implications,
- Our relationship to money, its acquisition, possession, use, sharing,
- The idea we have of entertainment, festivity, game, sport...
in terms of spiritual or philosophical matters
- Our relationship to belief or unbelief, in the diversity of possibilities and their constant or occasional implementation,
- Our level of education, including the capacity for analysis and judgement, and their consideration by established systems,
- Our cultural attachment referring to the expression of habits and customs, and their renewal,
- Our relationship to meaning (signs, symbols) and its place in our vision of the world,
- Our relationship to the arts, to creativity, to the position of artists in society,
- Our consideration of science and its contribution to the transformation of the world,
- Our idea of time, its fixation, its value...
in terms of environmental concerns
- Our consideration of the universe,
- Our consideration of the earth, what we owe it,
- Our respect for life, age, death, and the balances that underlie them,
- Our consideration of materials, their resources and exploitation,
- Our relationship to living species, to the respect we owe them,
- Our access to eating, from its impossibility to its abundance or even its waste,
- Our state of health and hygiene, referring to the management of illness and care, and our relation to body’s significance,
- Our access to housing, its security, its continuity,
- Our use of energy, our consideration of its renewal,
- Our modes of travel, their raison d’être and consequences,
- Our consideration of objects, their life span, the waste they cause...
in terms of communication and digital
- Our idea of communication, of its place in the balance of life,
- Our practice of verbal and non-verbal languages,
- Our expression of feelings and emotions, according to personal or social codes,
- Our access to more or less objective and contradictory information, linked to freedom or restriction of expression, and the place and role of the media,
- Our consideration of digital means, their impacts, their extensions, their present and future uses ...
This set of criteria forms the backdrop for the pantopic approach and we have chosen one element to refer to all the others: culture, cultures. This is why we cross fragments of the world that we propose to identify according to three dimensions: thematic, spatial (linked to continents and nations) and temporal. A certain number of tools, grids, languages, projects, mobilize them in all their desire for continuous development. This priority given to culture is materialized in a call for a “Cultural growth for humanity”, itself illustrated by the idea of tracing CrossCultur’Roads together. Finally, an annual day, 21 May, World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, is an essential and periodic milestone for sharing its progress.
The whole Pantopic project is thus an invitation to think and act with greater awareness of the countless challenges of our times, their frequent contradictions, but also and above a dynamic of innovation and unprecedented transversality. Creating new concepts, disseminating fruitful initiatives, questioning the paths of progress, enriching the forms of dialogue, enhancing the ways of sharing... so many possible levers to be up to the challenge of humanity's meeting with itself. A moment of universal dignity, mutual respect and peace. A utopia, a “no place” (etym.)? Let us say rather a pantopie, an undertaking of “all places”, starting with our own, because “the centre of the world is everywhere, and the periphery nowhere”.