Yo-Yo Ma on The Place of Culture in a Fractured World

Yo-Yo Ma. | Image: Twitter.

Yo-Yo Ma. | Image: Twitter.

Renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma has penned an editorial for the World Economic Forum laying out the importance of arts and culture in a world where strong survival mechanisms have become increasingly necessary. Entitled "In a fractured world, we need culture to survive and thrive," the piece is excerpted below:

The truth is that politics, whose currency is power, and economics, whose currency is money, only get us so far. We also need culture, whose currency is trust. And the complexity of this moment demands that we approach our global challenges with a more comprehensive lens, in which politics, economics and culture work in concert. [...]

It is no exaggeration to say that our survival depends on it. My grandson will inherit a world filled with problems that are more complex than we could have imagined. And yet he will also have the scientific knowledge, the entrepreneurial spirit and the technological advances to meet them. The question is, how will his generation not only find a way to cope, but find a way to hope? How will they seek happiness and fulfilment? Just as it always has, culture gives us purpose and meaning – it grounds and stabilizes us through change. It also teaches us to imagine life beyond ourselves while enabling each of us to be part of a larger story. Most of all, it allows us to live our lives with love instead of fear, with understanding instead of division, with empathy instead of apathy.

Culture turns “the other” into “us.” The shared understanding that culture generates can, in these divisive times, bind us together as one world, and guide us to political and economic decisions that benefit the entire species. And this has never been more important. Technology has given us the power to determine the future of our society, our planet. Now, we must use this power for good, to build a united global community that is connected and invested in each other, and that works for the progress of all humanity. Let us choose the next step of our evolution together.

Click here to read the full piece.

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