|The world is changing rapidly. Some think of the end of the Cold War, the defeat of socialism and the triumph of capitalism, as the biggest change going on. But it is my belief that the change we are witnessing is not simply change in the political sphere but a broad wave of change sweeping simultaneously through every field of human activity - economy, government, society, science, philosophy, art and culture. And it is a change not in volume but in essence, a structural change rather than a changing rate of growth or decrease.
The world is moving toward a new order for the twenty-first century. In this book I discuss this paradigm shift to the evolving new world order from several perspectives: 1)the shift from Eurocentricism to the symbiosis of diverse cultures, from Logoscentrism and dualism toward pluralism, toward a symbiosis of plurality of values; 2)from anthropocentrism to ecology, the symbiosis of diverse species; 3)a shift from industrial society to information society; 4)a shift from universalism to an age of the symbiosis of diverse elements; 5) a shift from the age of the machine to the age of the life principle.
The ambition of this book is to suggest that symbiosis is the keyword for predicting and interpreting, from these various perspectives, the new world order that will appear in the twenty-first century.
The subjects of architecture and urban planning are raised from time to time in the book to make the discussion easier to follow. I did not write the book for architects or urban planners; my intent was to stimulate thought and discussion among all who have an interest in the new world order and new world that are fast approaching.
The "philosophy of symbiosis" that I have articulated has had a wide influence in Japan, and it has become a keyword of the new age in many areas, including government, business, science, art and culture, and philosophy. Since the publication of the English translation of the work, symbiosis has also received much attention from abroad.
President Hirakawa of Keidanren, which leads the Japanese business world, has formed a Committee on Symbiosis and is investigating symbiosis as major economic policy; a Japan-Great Britain Symbiosis Committee has also been formed. Symbiosis was also discussed in the Japan-US Trade Structural impediments Initiative. And an increasing number of private organizations are now calling for the symbiosis of people and nature, development and preservation, men and women.
The new parties that have split off from the Liberal Democratic Party also call for symbiosis, and a growing number of prefectural governors are sympathetic to the philosophy of symbiosis.
More and more people overseas are also offering new ideas sympathetic to symbiosis is in such fields as biology, chemistry, philosophy, and physics.
Another important point is the fact that the roots of the concept of symbiosis are to be found in Buddhist philosophy and traditional Japanese culture. We can identify a strong current of tradition in the history of Japanese culture for seeing people and nature, past and future, the part and the whole, art and science, different cultures, economics and culture as existing in symbiosis.
In that sense, symbiosis is a key concept in understanding Japanese culture.
It is my hope that this Internet version will bring these ideas to wider audience of readers and provoke thought and discussion among many, in Japan and elsewhere.