The word “globalization” can be interpreted many ways, both positive and negative. In these uncertain economic times, many people think globalization is equivalent to job loss and trade protectionism.
Whatever negative experiences we have had with economic globalization, we must not lose sight of another, more human, aspect of globalization. We should recognize that recent developments in science and technology can achieve an unprecedented level of sharing and communication around the world. In the best of times, this human globalization will lead to new levels of understanding and empathy between people and countries.
A stunning illustration of how technology can promote the positive, human aspect of globalization occurred at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, Japan (1). I recently surfed across a YouTube video of Seiji Ozawa conducting the 4th movement of Beethoven’s Symphony #9 in D Minor during the Olympic opening ceremonies. Mr. Ozawa conducted the orchestra, soloists, and chorus at the Nagano Prefecture Cultural Hall. At the same time, a system designed to eliminate the time delay typical of satellite transmissions allowed Ozawa to lead a cross-continental performance of 5 additional choirs in Berlin, Sydney, New York City, Beijing, and Cape Town. All of the performers were projected on large screens in the Olympic stadium. It was the first time that images and sounds from around the globe were united in a simultaneous live performance.
This movement of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, which is also called the Ode to Joy, was a brilliant choice of music to celebrate the Olympic spirit, and the inspiring performance by musicians around the world was presented in a dazzling way. What an incredible technical and artistic accomplishment. Watch it and be amazed.
Every now and then it feels good to celebrate what could be right about the world.
If that knocked your socks off, just wait until you see our next cool topic.
Only one way to find out – come back soon.
1. Strom S. The XVIII winter games: The latest sport? After a worldwide effort, synchronized singing gets in. New York Times. February 7, 1998. http://www.nytimes.com/1998/02/07/sports/xviii-winter-games-latest- sport-after-worldwide-effort-synchronized-singing-gets.html. Accessed June 5, 2009.