This month, Pope Francis is calling for the “globalization of hope…which springs up from peoples and takes root among the poor, and must replace the globalization of exclusion and indifference” (Frances X. Rocca, The Wall Street Journal, “Pope Calls for ‘Globalization of Hope’,” 10 July 2015). Respectfully, I ask him to reconsider (the syntax of) his statement. Humbly, I suggest replacing “globalization” with “universalization” because of the inherent meaning behind each word:
“Globalization” generally denotes the act of extending to all parts of the world and is thought of as a movement towards worldwide integration and development.
“Universalization” generally denotes something used, understood, affecting, concerning, or involving all or the whole that can be possessed in common, characterizes all or most members of a class, and may be applied throughout the universe to many things (e.g., an entity that can be in many places simultaneously).
Hope is a universal characteristic inherent to all individuals across political, economic, and social background. For as long as s/he breathes in life, s/he possesses hope. And like all inherent traits, this hope – in its entirety – cannot be taken away.
I repeat: by its very nature, hope is universal. Although it is not immune from diminishing circumstance(s), it remains characteristic of each and every individual as such. To say hope is something that should be globalized is counterintuitive; it is something all individuals already possess, universally.
The distinction between “globalization” and “universalization” is important. When we are globalizing something, we are expanding its worldwide application, integration, use, and/or development. Accordingly, the act extends its reach to untapped peoples, places, and things. When we are universalizing something, we are affecting what applies characteristically to an entire class of individuals. That character is what they each already possess intrinsically as a trait, with application as such.
In other words, globalization very often involves bridging distances and bringing together disparate entities that were not otherwise bridged or integrated. Hope already exists within all individuals. As a universal, it does not need to be bridged over or integrated to those who already possess it.
Circling back to the Pope’s message, it is well worthwhile to remind all individuals of their intrinsic right to and inherent possession of hope. Rather than call for a “globalization of hope,” it would be meaningful and even more far-reaching to globalize a dialogue qua global communicative action. During the course of this globalizing dialogue, the intention would be to globalize four critical pillars of this Transcendent Era: creativity, freedom, tolerance, and understanding.
Electronic technologies have already mediated the individual’s effective agency to overcome erstwhile limitations of time, space, and geography. Indeed, one person really can make a difference and s/he can do so in a meaningfully significant way. Likewise, within the political, economic, and social spheres, individuals have already bridged impossible distances in a truly globalizing manner, paving the way for meaningfully positive change.
So it is with reverence and humility that I ask the Pope and all individuals to reconsider the call to ‘globalize hope’. Instead, I ask all to globalize the four pillars. And by so doing, I call everyone to reclaim transcendence over all possible obstacles.
Now, more than ever, we must wholeheartedly adopt a defiance against repression, intolerance, terrorism, and fear. In their place, we must firmly implant creativity, freedom, tolerance, and understanding. Combined, these pillars are invincible and worthy of bulwarking our present reality and those of future generations to come.