For a Kinder, Gentler Society
Foundations of Cultural Diplomacy
Politics Among Cultures and the Moral Autonomy of Man
  • Nicolas Laos
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Foundations of Cultural Diplomacy. Politics Among Cultures and the Moral Autonomy of Man
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Dr. Laos provides an original, systematic theory of cultural diplomacy which opens a new way of thinking about diplomacy, politics and culture.

He investigates methodically the relationship between culture and politics and between the reality of the world and the reality of consciousness. In so doing, he articulates a new approach to international relations theory and the concept of power, one based on philosophical arguments about reality, history and freedom.


About the Author

Dr. Nicolas Laos is a philosopher and political consultant born in Athens, Greece. The Founder and President of the autonomous international Freemasonic and scholarly fraternity "United Traditionalist Grand Sanctuaries of the Ancient and Primitive Rite Memphis-Misraim", he studied Mathematics, Politics, and Humanities and graduated from the University of La Verne (California) with Honors and academic awards. He earned a "Summa cum laude" Doctoral Degree in Christian Philosophy from the Academia Theologica de San Andres Mexico (Ukrainian Orthodox Church).

Dr. Laos has taught undergraduate and postgraduate courses in International Relations and Political Theory at the University of Indianapolis (Athens Campus, Greece), and he has consulted in Geopolitics and World Security with the R-Techno Group (Moscow), with the Research Institute for European and American Studies (Athens), and with other private corporations and think-tanks.

He has published several books and articles in philosophy, international politics, and the foundations of mathematics. He has received several prestigious awards for his scholarly and charitable achievements.

About the Book
Dr. Laos takes a stark and realistic look at the interplay between culture and politics and makes an intellectually challenging contribution to normative international relations theory. He proposes a new way of defining ‘critical’ political theory...
Dr. Laos takes a stark and realistic look at the interplay between culture and politics and makes an intellectually challenging contribution to normative international relations theory. He proposes a new way of defining ‘critical’ political theory (substantially different from the Frankfurt School’s approach) which leads to a new, dynamic understanding of history, and he argues that the chessboard of power is not so much on the surface of the earth as in the mental network formed by the communication between consciousnesses.

He presents an original explanation of the inherent inability of Realpolitik to account for reality, throwing light on deep and controversial questions of identity for Europe and the West in general.


Introduction

Existence means the continuity of a being. Consciousness, as consciousness of existence, aims at the preservation of the existence of a given being under the best possible terms. Thus, a conscious being aims not only at the preservation of its existence, but also at the improvement of its existential conditions. Therefore,...

Existence means the continuity of a being. Consciousness, as consciousness of existence, aims at the preservation of the existence of a given being under the best possible terms. Thus, a conscious being aims not only at the preservation of its existence, but also at the improvement of its existential conditions. Therefore, the intentionality of consciousness operates as an impulse to participate in the world (since consciousness absorbs the world) and also as pure self-knowledge. These functions take place at three different levels – namely: instinct, experience and intellect.

At the level of instinct, conscious activity is minimal, and existence reduces to the two basic instincts – namely, those of survival and reproduction. Instinct is a highly formalized behavioural code which reflects the logic of organic nature. At the level of experience, the intentionality of consciousness is expressed through the functioning of the senses. The senses are oriented towards the external world, with which they connect existence. Experience is about the person finding himself in some situation, and being aware of it. At the level of intellect, reason plays an active role. Thus, the conscious mind perceives and thinks in non-linear ways and it influences perception.

Through reason, conscious beings achieve their spiritual autonomy from nature. However, the spiritual maturity of humankind, i.e. its emancipation from natural/historical necessities, has been purchased at a high cost. When the human being became fully aware of its freedom and responsibility to give meaning (i.e. a reason) to each and every object of consciousness, it came across a crucial question: on the basis of which criteria should one give meaning to things? In other words, which is the original source of the meaning of things? Thus, the drama of humanity’s spiritual emancipation from the natural order of things was followed by the drama of the quest for the meaning of being, the ultimate purpose of existence.

The quest for the meaning of being is the essence of culture. In other words, I understand the term ‘culture’ as a human community’s attempt to live meaningfully, i.e., as a community of people who are characterized by a consensus on the significance of certain things. Thus, culture endows people with criteria by which they can evaluate things and they can decide on how things ought to be. Hence, culture is intimately related to the articulation of moral and normative judgments.

The fundamental issues which characterize a culture are the manner in which it understands truth as well as the manner in which it offers access to truth, i.e. knowledge. Therefore, culture underpins and determines the political and economic structures created by human beings. From this perspective, at the most fundamental level, cultural diplomacy signifies an attempt of the practitioner of cultural diplomacy to influence the manner in which other members of the international system make moral and normative judgments and, therefore, the manner in which they behave as social-political beings. As a conclusion, every discussion about the foundations of cultural diplomacy reduces to a discussion about moral and normative issues, which are the basis of cultural diplomacy. In fact, there is a deep, reciprocal relationship between culture and norms.

The need for the development of a global cultural diplomacy was stressed in Milan, on 7 October 2010, by the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, on the occasion of the award ceremony for the honorary diploma in European and International Politics, as follows:

Culture is the best gateway to the human heart and mind… We must build a lasting universal community of human beings drawing on values – culture first and foremost – that are the essence of humanity. This is the task of the new humanism… Globalization is no longer a matter of ‘contact’, as it was in the sixteenth century, but of sharing. How can we build a universal community in view of the diversity of peoples?

In the present book, based on Plato’s philosophy, I attempt to provide answers to the ontological, epistemological and moral questions which emerge from the quest for a global cultural diplomacy and, more generally, from the quest for the articulation and deployment of a new humanism.


Reviews
Chairman of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space 2010-2012 | More »
The Rt. Rev. Seraphim, PhD., S.T.D., MDiv, LLM, JD, MA, BS | More »
Constantine Aivaliotis, Member of the Hellenic Parliament | More »
Major General (Ret) Chev. Robert C. G. Disney, GCTJ, GMTJ | More »
With Dr Laos’ book Foundations of Cultural Diplomacy, the main ancient Greek political and philosophical theories are almost re-positioned as basic rules of thinking in these difficult times.... | More »

Pages 248
Year: 2011
LC Classification: JZ1305.L36 2011
Dewey code: 327.2--dc22
BISAC: POL011010 POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / Diplomacy
BISAC: PHI019000 PHILOSOPHY / Political
Soft Cover
ISBN: 978-0-87586-831-8
Price: USD 23.95
Hard Cover
ISBN: 978-0-87586-832-5
Price: USD 33.95
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ISBN: 978-0-87586-833-2
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