The Rising Tide Foundation is a non-profit organisation based out of Montreal Canada dedicated to the enhancement of cross-cultural understanding and dialogue between east and west. We support initiatives such as lectures, seminars, and multi media productions that facilitate greater bridges between east and west while also providing a service that includes geopolitical analysis, research in the arts, philosophy, sciences and history.
The term “a rising tide lifts all boats” was first popularized by America’s 35th President John F. Kennedy who used this poetic image as a means of conveying the idea that true wealth raises everyone rich and poor alike. Describing the construction of energy projects across America, JFK said in September 1963:
“When we develop these resources in the Northwest United States, it is just as well that the country realises that we are not talking about one State or two States or three States; we are talking about the United States. Our people move freely from east to west and even once in a while from west to east, but in any case, the country becomes stronger.There is an old saying that a rising tide lifts all the boats, and as the Northwest United States rises, so does the entire country, so we are glad.”
In recent years, this phrase was revived by China’s President Xi Jinping, who used it to convey the benefits of all nations’ participation in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as a comprehensive plan for win-win cooperation and inter-cultural connectivity centering around energy projects, rail lines, new cities, telecommunications and education.
Just like JFK’s program which involved exporting scientific, industrial and technological progress to poorer nations in order to help others’ help themselves, China has also begun extending the BRI program to Africa, Middle Eastern, Eurasia and even Latin America. And, just as JFK extended olive branches to “enemies” such as Russia and China to work together on great infrastructure and even space exploration, China has extended olive branches to the west with multiple offers to join what foreign minister Wang Yi has called a “chorus of nations working to create a beautiful symphony.”
The Rising Tide Foundation is committed to the belief that the improvement of scientific and technological progress is inextricably tied to the improvement of creativity and moral disposition of every member of society. This is reflected in what English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley described as a society’s “power of communicating and receiving intense and impassioned conceptions respecting man and nature”. Describing the role of the poet in society, Shelley went onto say “They measure the circumference and sound the depths of human nature with a comprehensive and all-penetrating spirit, and they are themselves perhaps the most sincerely astonished at its manifestations; for it is less their spirit than the spirit of the age. Poets are the hierophants of an unapprehended inspiration; the mirrors of the gigantic shadows which futurity casts upon the present; the words which express what they understand not; the trumpets which sing to battle, and feel not what they inspire; the influence which is moved not, but moves. Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.”
Embodying Shelley’s principle of the poet-legislator most beautifully, JFK showcased his profound understanding of creativity’s connection to physical economy and science during his “rising tide speech” of 1963 where he elevated the idea of conservationism to higher standpoint than anyone had hitherto considered:
“There are two points on conservation that have come home to me in the last 2 days. One is the necessity for us to protect what we already have, what nature gave to us, and use it well, not to waste water or land, to set aside land and water, recreation, wilderness, and all the rest now so that it will be available to those who come in the future. That is the traditional concept of conservation, and it still has a major part in the national life of the United States. But the other part of conservation is the newer part, and that is to use science and technology to achieve significant breakthroughs as we are doing today, and in that way to conserve the resources which 10 or 20 or 30 years ago may have been wholly unknown.”