"...Something like a paradigm shift is emerging in Western society, a movement away from the whole rationalistic, macho, goal-directed take on human nature that we inherit from the Enlightenment . Towards what exactly? Something much more fluid and adaptive, and something which makes much more use of the unconscious. But there is a 'good' and a 'bad' way of drifting your way through life : indeed the aim of one of the world's most important philosophies, Taoism, is to teach -- or rather encourage -- the 'good' way of drifting."
.... but these entries are worth repeating.
Two crises collide
One of the the things that make it so hard to see what is going on now is that we are living through two crisises. The first is the chickens coming home to roost of a thirty year old experiment in implementing somewhat naive free market phantasies. The second is the flock of giant canaries that are telling us that our two hundred year old experiment in carbon fuelled industrialisation may be drawing to an uncomfortable close. The paradox is that maybe the solution to the short term crisis lies in setting out to solve the long term one.
March 23, 2009
A flock of giant canaries
Chicken Little may be right and the sky is falling down, but I think what is more likely is that we are seeing a flock of giant canaries gasping for breath. The turmoil in the financial markets, the surge in the price of oil and the floods in the USA and India can all be seen as warnings that our two hundred year old experiment is moving in to toxic territory. My biggest fear is that we will recover from these shocks too quickly. (This does not mean I have no sympathy for the hapless victims of these shocks who simply want to get on with their lives, I do.) But I am concerned that just as the lessons from the oil shocks in the Seventies were swiftly forgotten, we may find that as things return to "normal" in two or three years time, we will forget the message from our giant canaries that if we want to retain the benefits of our current ways of life we will have to change the way we organise and manage our life on this planet, starting now.
September 17, 2008