UANT Presents: Santa Claus Comes to Antarctica
Dear Student or Patron, please take a look at the proposition of UN / UNICEF's David Inkey, latter day Santa Claus if there is yet one, for a better condition for our children around the globular mass on which we trod.
P C !
by SANTA CLAUS!
Since wars begin in the lives of children, it is in the spirits of
children that we must seed the dreams of PEACE.
I have come here today to discuss with you only eleven designs of PC,
planetary concern, planetary conscience, planetary consciousness,
planetary citizenship, planetary curriculum, philosophic champion,
peace concern, peace construction, peace council, peace counsel,
and personal commitment... On October 20, l995, eleven of my most faithful
elves, although deeply engaged in preparations for the Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the United Nations and equally committed to assisting the Great
Pumpkin with all of the O’Lantern Clans and all the children of the world to
celebrate October 3lst, a festival popularly known as Halloween and not widely
enough recognized as UNICEF DAY, urgently called to put me on alert that the
Toor Cummings Center at Connecticut College was in the process of organizing a conference to which I should contribute with singular personal commitment
from my multiple experiences, as a Planetary Citizen, as a retired
international civil servant, as THE UNITED NATIONS
PHILOSOPHER!, as THE UNITED NATIONS SANTA, as the Founding
President of Antarctic University, as author of I WAS A KINDER GARDEN
DROP OUT!, as the sole human representative at the fantastic (decode as
“fantasy”) Galapagos Interspecies Peace Conference (The GIP-C) held in l990
in preparation for UNCED, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, and most particularly as a philosophic champion, summarized in my
logo, "I am not the champion of lost causes, I am a champion of causes that have
not yet been won.”
Since Time Immemorial, or at least for as long as I can remember, member and pre-member, I have been a sometimes traditionalist and through literature,
the arts, music (though I am tone deaf), snow and ice sculpture and a goodly
and Godly number of other liberal and conservative arts, I have contributed
to the imagination, knowledge, skills and virtues I believe requisite in all gip-c
trauma and triumphs, where among other definitions gip-c is counted as global
identity and planetary concern. (Note, gip-c is always pronounced as the English
word of different shape but similar sound, gypsy...)
I am not a great pragmatist, except in caring for my own Walden, cooking beans, growing yellow roses, studying about cabbages, giving candy canes and sharing
love, so I would place less emphasis on seven of the nine pragmatic elements you
list in your announcement than you grant. Similarly, your conceptual praxis
confines my ever boundless spirit. I would not reject the attention you give to
seven of, or eight of, your eight topics. I could (would) even be generous
enough to add enough to give you a dozen or a baker's dozen of concepts. Some packaging gives products cheaper by the dozen, not just in film and literature.
I would simply, and not so simply, pre-order (like for Christmas), re-order and
order (like in new world order-ing) the primal quality as prime, The Spiritual.
Theilard de Chardin has taught me and a few others that we are not human
beings in search of a spiritual experience but that we are spiritual beings in
search of a human(e) experience. The old French anthropologist may have done
us very few favors digging up so much of our human skeleton(s), but he did us
many favors in global and universal thinking. Students and faculty, and drop
outs and drop ins, spiritual ones at least, will soon enough discover, uncover,
recover or create, re-create or rec-reate that all the other factors on your
conceptual list will crowd in, avalanche us, and give us more than ample cause
for soulful reflection, flexion and pre-flexion... All of this pre and post
action is derived from Stephen Hawkings marvelous quip that we have no (or
little) trouble remembering the past but why cannot we remember the future.
In Santa’s Workshop we have appreciated the prototype, but we have remodeled Hawkingsware and pre-structured his language...
If you have been a diligent student of mythology, you know that I am perhaps
the most renowned being in the universe in respect to workshop management.
You may not have universe retrieval systems, so let us rely sufficiently on our terrestrial accounts. Santa's Workshop is so globally famous that, I suppose
I should offer to present a modified virtual simulation thereof for you and
your colleagues as you study the future of international (read ‘global’) studies
in the liberal arts context.
First, let us dispel a scandalous warning many humans use in the Christian
tradition when preparing for Christmas and for the many rituals of giving,
receiving, loving, forgiving, etc., that have developed around this sacred,
s-a-c-r-e-d, day in one of the major religious traditions. "People" sing or
shout to children, you better watch out, you better not cry, you better be good,
for I am telling you why, Santa Claus is coming... Have you ever analyzed the
calumny, libelous and character assassination aspects of that little song?
Parents, especially, but also many others, have for generations scared,
s-c-a-r-e-d, children and scarred kids and bribed “brats” into "good" behavior
rather than, in sacred semblance, enchanted them into goodness because goodness
is a form of Godliness, first presented by some anonymous anyone who
dyslexically forgot that one "o" is for God and the other "o" is for exclaiming
You want a bibliography before we know the clients or you want an abstract
describing the "needs, objectives, and vision for (your) institution in the area of international studies and liberal arts." Hmmmmm... Since, both at the South
Pole and at The North Pole, we do not suffer from the disciplinary divisions you
have established in your institutions of higher education, we do not belabor
faculty, administrative staff and students with unnecessary cargo cults of
“needs, objectives and vision.” We work with the remnants of imagination and
creativity we have salvaged from traditional schooling systems and we insist
that our students of every description (even some of whom are undescribable)
"own" their own education. Our objective and our subjective behavior is doubly premised on a love, perhaps an insatiable love, for learning...
Nevertheless (neamoins, as the poetic French say), I give, yes, give outright
with no wrapping, strings, or bows connected, a bibliographic package. I
suppose I would place PETER RABBIT at the top of the global identity
inventory because I remember with unfading joy how much I enjoyed THE
TALE OF PETER RABBIT in my childhood and how I member yet in my
childness how much glee and geography he taught me, always to be curious about
what is on the other side of things... TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE
CHRISTMAS will help my workshop participants understand where I am
coming from and what are some of the multitudinous and marvelous tasks
I engage at Christmastime. (Note to the Surgeon General and to anti-smoking
lobbyists, I stopped smoking 25 years ago!) Further, I will have to explain that
Santa works 366 days (on leap years). HAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON
will help participants remember or recapture (rapture) some of the awesome
creativity of childhood. THE VELVETEEN RABBIT and Veblen's THEORY
OF THE LEISURE CLASS will help us understand class and consciousness
distinctions we too often suffer and/or inflict upon others. THE OTHER
AMERICAN and LISTEN YANKEE! paint and re-paint a part of our pathos.
Tolstoy's THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS WITHIN and Thoreau's CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE will give us a few lessons in anarchic action, and WALDEN
will ground us as we build castles in the air. MICROMEGAS and CANDIDE,
DON QUIXOTE, THE LITTLE PRINCE, THE PRINCE, HAMLET, THE
GRAND INQUISITOR, MOTHER COURAGE, LYSISTRATA, and POOR
RICHARD should join our entourage, and they may wish to bring some of their
friends. No library of planetary consciousness would be complete without
Twain's THE WAR PRAYER and the little studied gem from the Gulf War: RESOLUTION 688 of The UN Security Council, of April 5, l991, tactically
putting to an end the 343 year story of traditional, modern sovereignty.
I would also want us to look at the Seneca Falls suffrage efforts of l848,
to greet Sojourner Truth, to study with Spina in BREAD AND WINE, and
with any extra cents and sense we should listen to Paine's COMMON SENSE.
I think we should read the oldest known peace treaty, that of Ramses II of the Egyptians and Hattusilis of the Hittites, 1269 BC. If I could sneak in a
miniature edition of Robert Louis Stevenson' s A CHILD'S GARDEN OF
VERSES, I would swing for joy. GULLIVER'S TRAVELS, UTOPIA,
EROWHON, LOOKING BACKWARD and a few other imaginative maps might
help us understand the tectonic slide between international studies and global
(THE DIARY OF ADAM AND EVE, transcribed by Twain, should also
be made common knowledge, because it tells so devastatingly well how we got
off to a less than Heavenly start. We failed in our spelling lessons and took the
letters of live, L-I-V-E, and turned them around to evil! Perhaps on top of the bookshelf we can place a copy of THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS so that we may
learn from both Screewtape and Wormwood the importance of doing both what
we ought to do and what we want to do in this life, before moving to The
So, liberal arts should have more than their day...but also, global studies should have their time frames. Sovereignty has been so tragically skewed through our story ("his" story, "her" story, my story and mystery--with one vowel shift), that it is long overdue for us to examine sovereignty both through the liberal arts and international studies: planetary culture and personal commitment.
I put RESOLUTION 688 (April 5, l991) on the "literature list" and now I
repeat it here, because I believe one of the greatest dilemmas in the world
is what we do and do not do with sovereignty. Further, I will dwell in workshop deliberations (“from the liberation”) on The United Nations because I believe
that is where we currently have our biggest civics lesson. I was welcomed into
the company of educated men, eons ago, when young Harvard conferred upon me a diploma for my hard-earned doctorate... Do they still use that archaic phrase...
Am I diplomatic because I earned a diploma? I would have you, and me, and them
and us, and all of us, be, really BE, planetary citizens. To embrace this
endeavor, I would start on all of us on becoming liberally literate with the
CHARTER OF THE UNITED NATIONS(l945), THE UNIVERSAL
DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS (1948), OUR COMMON FUTURE
(l987), AGENDA 21! (l992), AN AGENDA FOR PEACE (1992), AN AGENDA
FOR DEVELOPMENT (l995) and these would be accompanied by the latest
UN reports on A PROGRAM FOR ACTION (Population l994), AN AGENDA
FOR WOMEN (????), AN AGENDA FOR HUMANITY (l999?), the latest
United Nations Development Program Development Report, perhaps THE
STATE OF THE WORLD'S CHILDREN, perhaps THE STATE OF THE
WORLD'S EDUCATION, certainly one or several reports on the UN
DECADE FOR CULTURE, certainly the most condemning report we can find
on the tragedy of absolute poverty afflicting one-fifth of our fellow human
beings, and certainly reports on disability, iodine deficiency, refugees and on landmines. It is "unbelievable" that we have sown over l00 million landmines
where we should be planting food for body and soul.
It is so unconscionable...
that we have planted one landmine for every 60 human(e) beings on Earth!
As the Founding President of Antarctic University (AU, pronounces "awe),
I am of course concerned with questions of property, duties, privileges and
goals. Sooner or later I will codify how I see the honorable and ornery tasks
these "realities" require. It will not suffice in the minds of many of our
conferees that I behave like a chevalier and say that I would rather not have
to design and model "program design and models for international studies."
I would rather have college drop outs, reminiscent of my own opting out
between my sophomore and junior years, who go forth and discover another
sub-culture, another "his"story or version of "our" story... Then, after their
opting out, I would wish that they would opt “in” and return to academia for
further imagineering. (Einstein taught some of us that imagination is more
important than knowledge!) I would rather have teams built of quizzical
faculty, quizzical administration and quizzical students who believe in their
minds, spirits and hearts that education is not education if it is not international--because many nationness is a reality of our times--and if it is
not global --because globalization is a threatening and thrilling reality of our
times. In addition, I would contend that it be on the AU filled and fielded COMPARATIVE PLANETARY CURRICULUM, for we do not know how soon
we will move to other planets. I speak and write with the authority of being a
kinder garden drop out (later redefined as opt out), a college drop out (but
definitively a college opt out because nothing in the college regime I knew at
that time was helping me find the questions and the answers I needed), and a professional opt out, again because the Academy was failing. Might we still have
time to name the Connecticut College Conference The FLAG SYMPOSIUM,
with "flag" being the future of liberal arts and global studies..
If we cannot fly enough flags for our inquiry over "ISLA" (Spanish for "island"), International Studies and Liberal Arts, we might move to ethical analysis...
Therein, I would suggest PEEPS, peeps being programs in epic ethics and
policy studies. EPIC ETHICS is at the core of my being and of the operations
of SANTA'S WORKSHOP. The name is Santa's Workshop, but this does not
imply ownership. The ownership is in the workers cooperative. Santa's Elves
are too frequently, usually, categorized because of an unfortunate semantic
error with apostrophization in the English language. The "correct" syntax is
OUR SANTA SELVES WORKSHOP, boldly stated and printed. (This is the
text of another epistle, not yet composed.)
In EPIC ETHICS--epic being constructed from equity, ecology, education,
peace, participation, poverty, population, imagination, identity, international (interspecies) cooperation, culture, creativity and clowning--we will need to
learn, as I am learning in the duties of being the United Nations Santa, to
study questions. We need to learn how to answer a 13 year young African
refugee child when she asks us, "Why did you save my life?" In the New York Foundling Home, and elsewhere where children are not foundlings but are
waifs, we need to be able to understand and have something wise to say
when children ask us innocent questions for which we have no innocent answers.
For the destitute aging here and elsewhere, we need to know why the richest
nation in human "his"tory spends 260 billion dollars on "security" and feels so terrifyingly insecure, and too poor to take care of the society's weaker
Eons ago, millennia before I knew I would grow up to "be" Santa, one of OUR
SANTA SELVES, my Mother--now so many years deceased--asked my innocent
little three and four and five year young self, WHAT IN THE WORLD DO
YOU WANT? I was not then as "educated" as I am now, and I responded in
polite constraint, asking simply for another piece of homemade fudge, for
another bowl of homemade popcorn, for another story read out-loud, or
occasionally, when I thought Mom could buy it, for an ice-cream cone... OH,
it has taken me so many years--three score years--to learn, to discover, to
create, YES, TO IMAGINEER the answer that now means a world of joy to me,
I WANT THE WORLD! I want the world of joy, peace, understanding, love,
sharing, fun, concern and clowning. I want the world where multiculturalists
learn that we belong to the humane race and to the global culture, which, for
practical convenience and for lack of planetary consensus and for lack of
assistance from my professional colleagues, I have chosen to name GAIA, in
membrance of the Greek Goddess for Earth.
Pioneering is not the easiest task we humanes encounter here on Earth, and we
are indeed very slow learners and we discourage (move away from courage)
very easily, just like we get diseased, moved afar from ease, and we lose contact
with the stars, dwelling in our disasters (distance from the astral). I have
enjoyed a marvelous liberal arts education and a U N BELIEVABLE (not an unbelievable) continuing education. I have never been pc, particularly
constricted by the epidemic politically correct (pc). I have been blessed
with planetary consciousness and personal commitment. It has been said that
most people seek happiness, I create it. I hope this is true for you. Enjoy
PUNS! is a series prepared by David Inkey,
THE UNITED NATIONS PHILOSOPHER.
This paper was prepared on October 25, l995,
the first day of the 51st Year of The United Nations.
The talk was never given at conn college or anywhere else, as a talk.