How is it possible to change the multicultural diversity from fear, discontent and complaints to a creative human security and to a mutual respect? – Lets open the fan!

How is it possible to change the multicultural diversity from fear, discontent and complaints to a creative human security and to a mutual respect?

Lets open the fan!

Swissair/Sabena Training-college, Zurich 13th of July 2000




Dear Mr. …

Dear Mrs. …

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen


It is a pleasure for me to be here, to have been asked by Mrs. Zambiosi – who feels deeply responsible for the psychological well-fare of all the persons working in this huge Organisation (and especially in this Department) – to contribute part of my knowledge to your efforts in modifying the complicated and often unsecure conditions of human life and of multicultural professional work in the actual situation. I will be trying

  1. a) to enter into the hidden human cores of the actual uneasiness or the plaguing and harrassing problems that are connected with the unsecurity caused by the merger of national companies, and
  2. b) to enter into some possibilities and ways of building up – or of restoring – a creative and confident co-operation of men and women of different nations in this Organisation, like in a common citizenship, considering especially the anxiety caused by the unknown future of  personal and familiar life, and of technical and organizational development, which is constantly connected with the hasty accelaration (or even precipitation) of reality, but considering also the humanistic values of a growing interchange and comprehension of personal and linguistic meanings, also the values of a better knowledge of the differences of culturel consciousness.

I think that one of the most important aspects of the first part of my reflections is to enter into the psychical rôle of language, connected  with the feelings of personal and national identity, and into the multiple considerations about the meaning of culture, the own one with it‘s differences and that of other national groups living together.

What is the importance of language? The possibility to learn to speak is for every child in the whole world, in the abondant multiplicity of languages, the first manifestation of the psychical and the intellectual part of his inner life, of his sensitivity, his feelings and his needs. Very soon, in the first time of living, the words offer to the child possibilities of entering into a dialogue with the mother and the father, with the persons around him. I consider the possiblity to speak as one of the most important and earliest expressions of human liberty. All the words that a child is learning while he/she is growing, the tones as the musical part of  the language,  the expression of the meaning of subject and object, of the actual or the passed or the unknown time, of feelings and emotions, of questions as an expression of the unknown, then the entrance into a complicated grammatical order – all this is an important part of the unlimited effigy of what identity means. But the opening of the inner liberty is escorted by the first experiences of not being understood, of feeling the differences of meanings, of rules and rôles, and in the meantime by the first experiences of the power of other persons and – eventually – of the own weakness. What „identity“ means is in fact not suffently explained by the pass-port, but by the connection of the name, the age and may-be the nationality with the personal story of the budding language. The way to understand and to explain who we are, and why we are like we are, is connected with the complexe story of all the conditions of live of the parents, the grand’parents and all the ancestors, and this story has an expression in our names, in the visible and sensitive images that we represent and display, for instance in our  behaviour – but one of the most important elements is the way of speaking, is our language.

The fact that there are uncountably many differences of human beings and of languages, is not new at all, even if the fact of the global mergers can‘t allow now any inner repression. It was so in the whole human history. You certainly remember that in the oldest document of  western culture, in the first part of the Bible called Tora or Genesis where the beginning of the world and of human beings living together – the Creation of the earth – is told,  there is a description of the importance of language as well as of the beginning of linguistic confusion. It is told that first there was just one language with the same words for all the descendants of Noahs three sons, of  Shem, Ham and Japhet, living in all the nations spread abroad the whole earth. But after many generations, human beings developed an unbridled power. In chapter 11 it is written that they said to each other: „Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves; otherwise we shall be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole world.“  It is written that after the realization of this plans, the Lord came down to the city and to the high tower that the human beings had built and that he said: „Look, they are one people and they have all  one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. Nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language there, so that they will not understand one another’s speach.“

I think that it is a chance of human life to know the normality of differences in speaking since the beginning of cultural history, also to know the necessity of accepting the differencies of linguistic expression (or translation) of human feeling and thinking, even in the own language, to know subsequently the important necessity of listening and of  trying to understand the individual meanings as a manifestation of the human person. The chance is connected with the need of respect of the own personal expressions and, in a deeper sense, of the own identity – and this chance and this need is comparable between all human beings.

In the actual life-conditions of to-day, of the worlwide connections with technical and scientific development, with economical and practical conditions – for instance in the air-line transports of human beings and of good or bad, even dangerous merchandises –, the necessity of respect of the human differences and in the same time of the equal human need of respect is of an urgent importance. It is connected with ethical thougths that in every human crisis, since the first philosophical documents – for instance of Heraklit in the 6th century before Christ – were a way of preventing and/or of healing soufferance, caused for instance by presumptuous arrogance. In Fragment 43 Heraklit says that human arrogance is like a conflagration that has to be quenched before it is burning human beings. A period of time later, it is especially Aristoteles who develops a deep consideration of the human responsability in practical life, a consideration still very useful in our time. The fact that there are persons who feel and realise the responsability in a good way and others who do it badly, is explored by him comparably to modern psychological ways of understanding. For instance, Aristoteles considers „nature, custom and instruction“ as the most important influences on  human behaviour. The aristotelical meaning of „nature“  is comparable with the historically influenced conditions of life of a human being,  the meaning of „custom“  with socialisation and with experiences of relationship, finally the meaning of „instruction“ with theories, advices, rules and instructive power.

If we consider the actual human conditions, constantly under the pressure of globalisation of business with the consequence that human beings are mistaken with busy machines – or abused for this purpose -, and under the squeeze of a stormy speed of changes in the technological development, which is stifling the possiblities of quiet and humanly attentive dialogues as well as it is pressing away persons who do not follow quickly enough the technical changes, it seems that the importance of  responsability conformable to a profound human/humanistic ethic got lost or was pushed away. Between a lot of  consequences, the value of existential time goes lost, and the need of an exchange and a respect of human feelings, especially of family security is abolished. A fear of fallacy and a souffering loneliness burdens the heart of many persons, who’s thinking capacities and working engagements are especially high, may-be even ideal.

Again, how is it possible to heal all the consequences of the hasty modern development?

It is really necessary that possibilities of building up or of restoring a creative and confident co-operation are unrolled and realized between all the persons who are understanding the grief of insecurity: the loss of security of the human value of time as well as of the value of human differences. If hearts are nearly paralyzed by the loss of an according order between their existential time and the extreme acceleration of technical and of virtual time, especially by the fear of the unimaginable, hidden future of their live and the live of their children, the development of business must be analysed in an ethical and psychological way, not exclusivly in a commercial way. Even if virtuality will be maintained as a kind of developing playing ground, the human needs are never virtual. They must be considered with deep attention. The respect of the needs is a way to their realization – and to the realization of the own needs.

I think that one of the most important needs is a correction of the alienating disproportion between the own personal reality of life and the intellectual construction of a virtual reality, connected may-be with a strong dependency of the power of organisational management and eventually also of the conditions of a globally growing up of commercial winning, connected with mergers and with constant changes of  personal responsability. The question, if the breathless running to the winning-post is not connected with a deep illusion – or may-be with  a hard disillusion – must be carefully reflected. Also the importance of an inner security – in the midst of the fascinating multitude of  representatives of other languages, cultures and nations – must be respected. A way of realization of this needs is opened by creating  possibilites of calm exchanges of experiences, free of any fear of degradation. All this could be realized in groups of thinking persons, without rivalization and without discrimination, even if the responsability and the grade of professional work is not the same. This really could be a way of building up a creative international culture.

There are thousands of books about the story, the character and the nature of national specialitites, about the differences of Frenche, Spanish, Italian, Portuguees, English, German, Belgian, Swiss, Austrian, Polish, Sweedish, Russian and….and all the other cultures. But if we read other books then those about the characteristic national specialities, I mean the precious pieces of litterature – of wonderful novels or of poetry, sometimes also of philosophical thinking -, we can be touched by the nearness and by the inner relationship of human needs as well as of the fortifying and/or destructing experiences of live. It might be helpfull to exchange and to compare the knowledge of important litterature, in order to understand the comparable human needs and the diversity of historical reasons of difference.

If the complexity of life and work conditions is suddently feeled like a deep pain, the imagination of a fan and of its effects may help in a symbolical way. If it is possible to open all the parts of its complet form (or of ist nature), also those which are may-be sticked or glued or closed up with plaster, the effect is touching in a wonderful way: like a fresh air restauring or even healing the deeply closed psychical respiration.


I hope that all your efforts in thinking, understanding and changing the globalised conditions of existence can be feeled like the effects of a precious fan.


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