The XXIst century and the signs of a significant social change.
Launched by the study entitled The End of History and Last Man? , this controverse brings into discussion an extremely important issue--namely, the ever increasing incapacity of large masses of people of avoiding the impression that <<something of crucial importance>> is in progress in their world.
According to the anticipations of Fukuyama, a declared enemy of any reductionist approach (especially in relation with the concepts of policy of force and economic determinism), the XXth century appears as a terrible tedious stage, a sign of decline towards a climax of ideological violence, a period setting up dangerous conditions for the manifestation of/favouring of the possible final apocalypse of a nuclear war.
No matter how drastic and relentless would it appear, this century can by no means symbolize the end of civilization, the reason being that--in spite of all its faults--it cannot annihilate the moral energies concentrated in the human being. In spite of the "boring atmosphere and of decline, manifested as a paroxysm of ideological violence", it is nevertheless capable of remaining in the space of culture, assuring the pre-eminence of the spiritual condition to the detriment of the instinctual one.
The very fact that the human being living in the end of the XXth century is still capable of remaining in the space of culture entitles F. Fukuyama to announce that the end of this age announces the beginning of a victory. Victory of what? The response of the American scientist is extremely prompt: a calm and, at the same time, positive victory of liberalism.
Why the victory of liberalism and not, for example, of conservatorism, nationalism, reforming socialism, ecologism and/or feminism?
Because, taking over the best ideas of these doctrines, and also of other, similar ones, liberalism displays a style and a temper which do induce/favour the liberty of thought and of religious freedom, critic attitudes and an impressive diversity of relations, the possibility of seeing life in most varied colours and meanings, a diminished political expansionism, a considerable encouragement of the private interests, in parallels with a large-scale support given to the most important spheres of public life (a context within which economy, religion, moral and education hold a top position). Defined as courageous , the concept of F. Fukuyama marks the beginning of a new historical cycle of humanity, an evolutive stage in which the ideology of liberal democracy triumphs over the others and in which--according to St. Sestanovich -: "violence and restraint come to play a less and less important part both in the relations among people and in the sphere of world great politics".
Obviously, the author of The End of History and Last Man? is not the only optimist convinced of the capacity of liberalism to grant to the world a new impulse, a new perspective, another direction. In this respect, mention should be made of the fact that, meanwhile, this position has been embraced by many other reputed analysts in sociology, philosophy and/or political sciences.
Which is the attitude of--let's say--R. Dahrendorf ? His analyses, included in The modern social conflict , a study focusing on the concept of "social change without revolution", states that, in the near future, people will benefit from new <<chances in life>>. In the opinion of the above-cited author, more and more numerous actions and phenomena are indicative of a soon coming society which will value both the differences and the profound links (<<ligatures>>) occurring at the level of cultural identity, namely of a society within which individualism (<<the options>>) will harmoniously coexist together with the collectivist spirit (<<rights>>). The manner in which the <<generations of tomorrow>> will live, affirms firmly the one considered as having thoroughly renewed the London School of Economics and Oxford College St. Anthony, will not aim at the <<communist society>> described by K. Marx or at the <<stationary situation>> of J. Mill, but at the <<policy of regularized conflict and at a social economy assuring optimum individual life opportunities>>. When taxes will go down and the enterprising spirit "will flourish", people's options for the "open selection possibilities" will significantly increase, blocking any attempt of preventing private actions, the "intention of breaking down privileges and of emancipating the non-privileged ones" included.
When discussing the socio-economic and political changes registered in recent years, A. Toffler , another well-known contemporary thinker, observes that more and more numerous signs of disintegration occur within the complex structure of power -an entity assumed to maintain--as stated on numerous occasions--the world in an as assembled form as possible. Worth mentioning in this respect is the work entitled Powershift: Knowledge, Wealth and violence at the Edge of the 21st century , according to which, in the office, in the supermarket, in banking institutions, in administrative offices, in churches, hospitals, schools or at home, the old patterns of the social life appear as fractured, along some directions unknown up to now. The head of an office and the superviser in a factory discover, both of them, that the workers fail to accomplish their duties mechanically, as they once used to. They ask questions and they demand answers. The same holds true for the officers, when faced with their troops, the chief policemen with their agents, the teachers with their students, the doctors with their patients. Outlining the fact that such relational commutations may appear everywhere, A. Toffler puts forward the idea that the human society is confronted with emancipation and secularization processes. Making mention, in such a context, of the metamorphoses registered in the psychology of the groups of patients, the author insists upon the fact that, in the glorious period of physicians' domination, they had a strict monopoly over the medical knowledge they possessed. Recipes were written in Latin, which represented a sort of semi-secrete code of their profession, giving the patients no opportunity of being informed on their condition. The medical publications and texts were produced exclusively for professional readers, while the medical conferences were not accessible to outsiders. Doctors used to control the curricula and the admission files of the faculties of medicine. A. Toffler invites us to confront such situations with the present-day one, when patients have unbounded access to medical information as, with a personal computer and a modem, anyone can access directly, while staying comfortably at home, data bases such as Index Medicus, and have scientific documents about any topic, starting with the disease of Addison up to Zygomicoza. The American analyst also makes mention that, once or several times a week, any televiewer is offered programs providing medical information of highest scientific level. Many of such transmissions warn that <<part of these materials might not be recommended to the large public>>. However, the one who decides is the televiewer. Briefly, the monopoly upon specialized medical information is wholly destroyed, so that the doctor is no longer a god.
The above examples are sufficient for asserting that an organic link does exist between what are we to live in the future and what we call liberalism. In relation with such a situation, we consider as truly reliable the assertions according to which liberalism expresses "either a primary syntax of political thinking", "the only dimension of our social imaginary social, or the only structure of power promising to transform the whole world into a variant of California, under the mirage of the material and spiritual comfort" .
Briefly, the conclusion to be drawn is that we are all evolving towards a future whose social <<scene>> will be dominated by the game of alternatives, free thinking and diversity of interpretations. It is absolutely certain that this future will impose a life style characterized essentially by discontinuity, relativism and dynamism. In spite of their limitations, individualism, equalitarism, universalism and progressivism will continue to be viewed as landmarks of all attitudes and lines of action.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS AND DISCLOSURE
The author declare that they have no potential conflicts of interest to disclose
BIBLIOGRAFICAL REFERENCES AND NOTES
[1.] Francis Fukuyama (born on October 27, 1952, in Chicago) attended classical studies at Cornell University, took its PhD title in political sciences at Harvard University, with a thesis about the external policy of USSR in the Middle East (1981). Between 1979-1980, 1983-1989 and 1995-1996 he collaborated with the Department of Political Sciences of RAND Corporation, and between 1981-1982 and in 1989 worked in the USA State Department. He is the author of several studies and articles dedicated to international democratization and economic policy. In the last years, his concerns have focused upon the role of culture and of the social capital in the modern economic life and in the transition towards the informatized society. Out of his most important works, special mention should be made of:
* The End of History and the Last Man?--New York: Free Press, 1992.
* Trust: The Social Virtues and the Creation of Prosperity.--New York: Free Press, 1995.
* The Great Disruption: Human Nature and the Reconstitution of Social Order.--New York: Free Press, 1999.
* Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution.--New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002.
* State-Building: Governance and World Order in the 21st century.--New York: Cornell University Press, 2004.
* America at the Crossroads: Democracy, Power, and the Neoconservative Legacy.--New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.
* After the Neo Cons: Where the Right went Wrong.--London: Profile Books, 2006.
* Falling Behind: Explaining the Development Gap between Latin America and the United States (editor). -New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.
* The Origins of political Order.--New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011.
* Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy. -New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014.
[2.] Bercea D. Francis Fukuyama //F. Fukuyama. Sfar[section]itul istoriei ?--Bucure[section]ti: Editura Vremea, 1994.-- P.5--9.
[3.] See: Fukuyama F. The End of History and the Last Man?--New York: Free Press, 1992 [ Romanian version: Fukuyama F. Sfar[section]itul istoriei?--Bucure[section]ti: Editura Vremea, 1994 ].
[4.] A. Bloom, for example, professor at Chicago University and expert in the Committee for social thinking, mentions that <<the excellent and courageous book of F. Fukuyama represents a turning point in an extremely important discussion for all those who consider themselves faithful defenders of the democratic ideals>>.
[5.] Ralf Gustav Dahrendorf (May 1, 1929--June 17, 2009), a German-British sociologist and politician. During the Hitlerite regime in Germany, he was arrested, together with his father, and accused of anti-Nazi activities. He was the President of Deutsche Gesellschaftfur Soziologie, member in the German Bundestag, parlamentary state secretary at the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, member of the European Commission and director of the London School of Economics and Political Science, co-founder of the University of Konstanz and member of the House of Lords starting with July 15, 1993. According to the British tradition, in the House of Lords he was given the title of Lord Dahrendorf. In his works he criticized the Marxist concept of the struggle between social classes. In the English variant, its selective bibliography may be presented in the following manner:
* Dahrendorf R.G. Class and Class Conflict in Industrial Society.--Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1959.
* Dahrendorf R.G. Essays in the Theory of Society.--Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1968.
* Dahrendorf R. G. Society and Democracy in Germany.--New York & London: W. W. Norton & Company, 1967.
* Dahrendorf R. G. The Modern Social Conflict.- Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1988.
* Dahrendorf R. G. Life chances: Approaches to Social and Political Theory.--London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1979.
* Dahrendorf R. G. Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: In a letter intended to have been sent to a gentleman in Warsaw.--New York: Random House, 1990.
[6.] See: Dahrendorf R. G. The Modern Social Conflict .- Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1988 [Romanian version: Dahrendorf R. G. The Modern Social Conflict .- Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1988].
[7.] Alvin Toffler (born on October 4, 1928, in New York City) is a reputed American writer and futurologist. Along more than forty years, he was one of the most influential and well-known voices in both business and intellectual domains. With the issuing of his first work, Future shock, a new discipline--futurology--centered on the study of change and of its influence upon both business and culture, has been established. A. Toffler is especially endowed for defining the forces and tendencies on which our advance towards tomorrow are based. Apart from Future shock, Alvin Toffler wrote The third wave, War and anti-war, Power shift and, recently, Creation of a new civilization (some of them coauthored by his wife and long-life partner, the talented Heidi Toffler]. A.Toffler is an important consultant of several military and espionage communities of the world, laureate of the McKinsey Foundation for his contribution to literature and honorary co-president of The American Committee for the Development of the UN Fund for Women. The list of the most important works of A. Toffler includes:
* The Culture Consumers--New York: St. Martin's Press, 1964.
* Future Shock--New York: Bantam Books, 1970.
* The Futurists (editors)--New York: Random House, 1972.
* Learning for Tomorrow (editors)--New York: Random House, 1974.
* The Eco- Spasm Report--New York: Bantam Books, 1975.
* The Third Wave--New York: Bantam Books, 1980.
* Previews & Premises--New York: William Morrow & Co, 1983.
* The Adaptive Corporation--New York: McGraw-Hill, 1985.
* Powershift: Knowledge, Wealth and violence at the Edge of the 21st century--New York: Bantam Books, 1990.
* Creating a New Civilization--New York: Turner Pub, 1995.
* War and Anti-War--New York: Warner Books, 1995.
* Revolutionary Wealth--New York: Knopf, 2006.
[8.] See: Toffler A. Powershift: Knowledge, Wealth and violence at the Edge of the 21st century--New York: Bantam Books, 1990 [Romanian version: Toffler A. Puterea In miscare.--Bucuresti: Antet Publishing House, 1998].
[9.] An impressive inventory of the references on liberalism, on its significance and perspectives has been elaborated by A. Craiufu (see: Crdiupu A. Un tunel la capatul luminii? Note despre retorica marilor transformari In Europa de Est//Polis.-1997.-Nr.2.-Vol.4.- P.56-79) and by A. Mungiu-Pippidi (see: Mungiu-Pippidi A. (coord.). Doctrine politice. Concepte universale si realitafi romanecti.- Iaci: Polirom Publishing House,,1998.- P. 17-73).
Mihai SLEAHTIJCHI--Ph. D. in Psychology and Pedagogy, Chisinau, Republic of Moldova
International Free University Republic of Moldavia Department of Psychology and Social Assistance No. 52 Str. Vlaicu Parcalab, Chisinau, MD--2012, Republic of Moldavia
Submission: February, 7th, 2016
Acceptance: April, 28th, 2016
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|Title Annotation:||Multidisciplinary contributions|
|Publication:||Bulletin of Integrative Psychiatry|
|Article Type:||Critical essay|
|Date:||Jun 1, 2016|
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