In this important lecture delivered at the University of Massachusetts, Said takes aim at one of the central tenets of recent foreign policy thinking-- that conflicts between different and "clashing civilizations" (Western, Islamic, Confucian) characterize the contemporary world.
"The real question is whether in the end we want to work for civilizations that are separate, or whether we should be taking the more integrative, but perhaps more difficult path, which is to see them as making one vast whole, whose exact contours are impossible for any person to grasp, but whose certain existence we can intuit and feel and study." -Edward Said
Said argues that collapsing complex, diverse and contradictory groups of people into vast, simplistic abstractions has disastrous consequences. Presenting instead a vision of the "coexistence" of difference, Said concludes with the fundamental challenge that faces humanity at the turn of the millennium.
thanks to http://conspiracycentral.net