In recent decades, the world has witnessed a threefold revolution which we are still struggling to come to terms with: a shift of power to the East, globalisation and digital technology.  The move from away from what we know towards something different impacts our sense of security.  We in the West find that increasingly we no longer call all the shots; we who have been taught to prize independence find that we are increasingly dependent on others; we who have been enriched by wonderous ‘modern conveniences’ find our paid labour is increasingly being replaced by machines.  Naturally, we become afraid.

Our instinctive responses to fear are fight or flight, that is either to attack the “other” (China, immigrants, tech companies) or to retreat from it (nationalism, independence, protests).  As a Christian Brit, I am ashamed of the aggressive imperialism in the history of both my Church and my nation.  The attack response is not an acceptable option for me.

As a technophile Sinologist, to retreat would be to become less of who I am – so that is not a viable option for me either.

“We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. For some strange reason I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be – this is the interrelated structure of reality.” Dr Martin Luther King Jr

If we can neither attack the other nor retreat from it, then we will have to deal with our fear by engaging with the other.  That means looking for ways in which we can not just survive by tolerating each other, but rather thrive by being enriched by each other.  This quest is the common thread that runs through the all diverse aspects of my life (and writings) – as a languages teacher, business developer, technology trainer, China consultant and Christian minister.

I am trying to tackle fear by closing the gap with whatever is “other,” in the conviction that:

There is no ‘them’ and ‘us’; there is only ‘us.’  Greg Boyle, SJ / ‘Invisible’ (U2)