Introduction for CONSTELLATION BEYOND ‘THE CLASH’ – SUSTAINABLE TOURISM BETWEEN ‘THE CLASH OF CIVILIZATION’ & ‘THE CLASH OF IGNORANCE’ IN GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT; ZUZANA ZWIEBEL (2012)

Albert Einstein said: “Watch the stars, and from them learn”. We will use that metaphor to describe connections among globalization, geopolitics, sustainability and tourism. At first sight this may seem an obvious link, but it is important to establish the dynamic nature of the relationship and frame it within broader concept of whole global envionment or universe, as was poetically described by Albert Einstein.

Constellation
Photo: Zuzana Zwiebel – Tamil girl reading future from the palm, Galle, Sri Lanka, 2009

Civilizations all around the world through the history of human being were turning their eyes on night sky, gate to universe limited only by space and time. Stars, symbolised for them hope and light of wisdom, on the dark sky of ignorance. Stars were giving them directions on their life pilgrimages. Civilizations drew their maps on the earth surface, which bordered their territories and divided their space in the world. Parallely civilizations drew imaginary lines on the night sky, which connected them with eternity of the time, where they were trying to find the answer for their questions and predict future. (Is not it Hägerstrand or Harvey time-space concept built on the same principles?).

Parallel world on the sky gave them space to escape from everyday life and to see fantastic pictures on the sky formed by group of stars. Each civilization had its own star constellation usually based on mythology.  The ancient Babylonians, and later the Greeks (as recorded by Ptolemy), established most of the northern constellations in international use today. When European explorers mapped the stars of the southern skies, European and American astronomers proposed new constellations for that region, as well as ones to fill gaps between the traditional constellations. Today, boundaries for each constellation are drawn up precisely, so that every point in the sky belonged to exactly one constellation. (Is not it geopolitical sphere of political influence built on the same principles?)

Constellation
Photo: Zuzana Zwiebel – Tamil girl reading future from the palm, Galle, Sri Lanka, 2009

In modern astronomy, a constellation is an internationally defined area of the celestial sphere (not patterns of stars, as in the common use of the word, but areas of the sky). These areas are grouped around asterisms, patterns formed by prominent stars within apparent proximity to one another on Earth’s night sky. Although the stars in any given constellation may look like they’re neighbors, they can actually be many light-years apart. Final constellation depends on the configuration of influences at the time. (In that context is very important our point of view, from which we form our world view and is not it geographical and geopolitical imagination built on the same principles?)

Role of geopolitics in global system can be compare with astrology – belief system which holds that there is a relationship between visible astronomical phenomena and events in the human world. (If we can read future from the stars, would we be able to read the future from the time – space path of human being on earth surface?)

Constellation
Photo: Zuzana Zwiebel – Tamil girl reading future from the palm, Galle, Sri Lanka, 2009

Principles of constellation can be applied to any system, group of people, institution or states. The work with representative perception has proved itself as an effective tool for laying open interrelations in a system. As a representative, an individual finds they can go beyond themselves and expand their awareness to experience themselves as part of the system. (Is not it sustainable tourism built on the same principles, emphases on personal experiences, which teach us, that “different” does not mean worse?)

In the constellation, a mirror image of society appears. The hierarchy, conflicts of interest or co-operation made visible, reflect the dynamics that operate in social, economic or political systems. And what is important to emphases, constellation introduces society from wider point of view and place it in time – space dimension, where (as it was mentioned: “Although the stars in any given constellation may look like they’re neighbors, they can actually be many light-years apart.”) potential conflict situation can look different from different point of look. (Is there really “clash of civilization” or is it only “clash of ignorance”? How far we have to travel to understand, that things, which seem to be far away are closer, than we think? Can tolerance be that third dimension?)

Text: Zuzana Zwiebel


ART OF TRAVEL: www.shaktitrails.com

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