Seeing AVATAR

“Did you like AVATAR?” my friends ask when I tell them I finally saw it, the blockbuster James Cameron 3-D film. How could I not? I’m “green” to the core, an environmentalist, and my favorite Bible story as a child was always Eden. The film let me disappear for several hours into a digital fantasy chock full of exotic wilderness, deep kinship with the rest of...

Rates of Change on a World Stage

I’ll have to admit that my ideas about change have been moved around a great deal, prompted by flying half-way around the world. What I saw in China created a dramatic contrast to my own backyard. In China I traveled for two weeks in an area called “the Golden Triangle,” an aggregate of large industrial cities in the Yangtze Delta. In an area just barely bigger than South...

The Big Global Dance

Four weeks ago in my first column about my trip to China I wrote how I hoped to encounter China’s “cultural core,” its Confucian “root,” and experience it. During my two weeks in China I did encounter what I might call China’s ancient core a few times-in a ceremonial smudging outside a Buddhist temple and the timeless view across West Lake in Hangzhou, in the...

Wilderness in the Balance as China Climbs

A friend wrote today in an email and said “Save the Earth” at the end of her note. I’ll admit I’ve thought about the problems of “saving the earth” a great deal since we touched down in Shanghai. The pressures on the planet here are seriously extreme already, and it’s obvious they will mount in the next few decades. The scholars who have lectured us have...

First Dispatch from Tomorrow

This sets my personal record for distance learning. I’m half-way around the world in China’s largest city, Shanghai. It’s Day Three of the Wofford Milliken Faculty Development seminar. I think it’s yesterday where you are, or maybe it’s yesterday here, and today there. Time is just the first of my concepts under renovation. This morning the only thing I know for...

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