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Pursuit of Knowledge

September 30, 2009

I have been percolating the idea for this blog for awhile. There are plenty of people writing about international politics, plenty of people who have something to say about international food. And while I have strong opinions (and cravings) on both subjects (and I am sure I will touch on both areas in my writing) that was not how I wanted to focus my thoughts.

I recently read a book called The Age of the Unthinkable by Joshua Cooper Ramo. A very thorough book which uses examples of successes and failures in the video gaming industry, venture capitalism, global health initiatives, and many other areas, in order to discuss the changing landscape of international politics and the need for revolutionary thinking as we approach new issues that just cannot be solved by the same formulas and policies that have been successful in the past. He makes the argument that we need more empathy in our decision-making, even when dealing with an issue where empathy and understanding are detestable to us. In the end, he says that “what matters is beginning to explore the idea that we can do unthinkably decent things with our lives, from starting schools to leaping into that ‘caring economy’ Unger described to investing years of our lives to understand cultures different from our own” and it is from a similar thought that my pursuit of knowledge stems.

If you are like me, then economics will keep you from jet setting to Zimbabwe to really understand the culture, but even if you are not, it is still not likely that you will be able to jump from one country to the next on an indefinite basis. But here in Chicago we have an amazing amount of resources available to us. It is possible to spend today at Chinatown’s Moon Festival and tomorrow exploring the work of Spanish comic book artists, and the day after that absorbing the words of heads of state or foreign ministers.

It is that diversity and availability that I hope to take advantage of and to share. At times what I write might just be fun, at others it might be intellectually challenging, but I hope that it will always be educational and contribute to an ever growing dialogue on our expanding and increasingly complicated world.

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