David Korten On Putting An End To Global Competition
And thanks to breakthroughs in electronic communication, we now have the potential to connect every person on the planet in a seamless web of cooperation. Technology has given us the means to build a worldwide movement grounded in universal human values that transcend the barriers of nationality, race, gender, and religion. Back in the early eighties, even domestic long-distance phone calls were a significant expense, and the cost of international phone calls was prohibitive. Now we can telephone around the world for pennies. If we prefer to meet face to face, affordable airfares have made that easier, too. Add the Internet, and the joining of ordinary people in a collective struggle to create a more cooperative global structure becomes a real possibility for the first time in the whole of human experience.
My ex-husband is dying. A year and a half ago he was on the telephone with someone, and suddenly words vanished from his brain. English became a language he’d once known but had forgotten. The memory of those things called “words” was still there, but they were lumpy, pale, and almost unrecognizable, like dust-sheeted furniture in a mansion’s unused rooms.
I appreciate her boldness, and I respond with a giggle that sounds like her father’s, he who laughs. This kind of conviction can be endearing in a four-year-old, though not so endearing in a talk-show host, nor in the president of a country — people who hold the fate of so many lives in that slender gap between their confidence and their ignorance.
Things go wrong. Call it entropy or original sin or plain old human suffering. Once it gains momentum, life can go downhill at an astonishing rate. Bad decisions are famously blamed, and one I made thirty years ago eventually led to a twenty-two-year prison sentence, which I’m still serving.
It didn’t occur to me until recently that if I’d seen my mother and Al going to the graveyard, then Miss Lottie had seen them too. Anyway, one day Miss Lottie called me “trash.” I was ringing up her wine, Mogen David 20/20. People call it “Mad Dog.” It’s cheap and strong, and Miss Lottie bought it at least three times a week.
The instant Fritz sees her at Keith Gentile’s party, it clicks: Claire Raffo. The pitiful little girl he knew way back at Saints Peter and Paul grade school, who sobbed herself sick every day over lunch while the gorgeous Sister Hyacinth smiled and banged the table with her yardstick and drilled Claire in her lovely soprano to eat.