Astronaut-like qualities are relevant to today’s global society

What qualities are being sought after in face of globalization?

Someone who has the ability to adapt to new environment

What comes to mind when you think of the word ‘globalization’? Internationalization, global-scale, diversity, communication, information etc. Someone who is capable of coming up with many keywords and ideas is probably one who has a vast interest over a wide range of topics, and able to exhibit and maximize his or her curiosity. Next time, try paying attention to your surrounding and observe what is happening or is about to happen. Humans have long been making observation, testing hypotheses, and making behavioral modification based on the events, activities as well as the people they meet in everyday life. The more metrics and standards for evaluation one has, the more adaptive he or she is to the surrounding.

Qualities to become an astronaut

On July 7, 2016 Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi departed to the International Space Station (ISS) in a Soyuz spacecraft. He is one of the three astronauts out of nearly 1,000 candidates that made it to the final round of selection by JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency).
Under the application guidelines, candidates should: 1) possess a wide range of skills and knowledge (e.g. science, technology and etc.) and the ability to adaptively apply them to space operation, 2) possess the ability to communication effectively in English, 3) be an educated and cultivated individual (one who possesses profound knowledge of Japanese language and culture, international community, cross-cultural understanding, humanities and the ability to describe one’s experiences in a vivid and lively manner etc., 4) be physically and mentally fit to undergo astronaut training and stay in space for an extended period of time, and etc.

Desired psychological attributes in today’s global society

It is of course important to be physically fit, but psychological attributes such as cooperativeness, adaptability, emotional stability, willpower etc. are also important qualities to become a member of the international astronaut community. One has to be able to work harmoniously with astronauts from different countries. Additionally, astronauts also need to have humor, be able to deal with mental stress.

However, these necessary qualities do not apply only to astronauts. They apply to everyone in today’s global society. It reminds me of the words by the famous architect, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe who came up with the concept of Universal Space – “God is in the details.”

Professor Masai Suzuki, Faculty of Human Sciences

Professor Suzuki completed his PhD degree at Waseda University.
He was also a visiting scholar at the University of California, Riverside and the Open University of Japan.
http://www.f.waseda.jp/masaosuz/

This article is based on the interview with Professor Suzuki conducted in 2016.

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