sees what's hidden,
and the ever-wanting soul
sees only what it wants.” -- Lau Tzu
At what stage will we call time on our addiction to growth?
When everything's gone?
I hope not!
Perhaps I'm in the minority, but despite my best efforts to start a conversation, offline or on, it's very hard to find anyone in the mainstream of business, education or politics that doesn't scream for more.
Of course, I could be deluded but my recollection of the industrial revolution wasn't premised on making things with inbuilt obsolescence, or to provide us with more than we actually needed...and more, to the point where the planet was denuded of all life.
At the end of the day, we all have to accept responsibility for our current environmental predicament. To be clear, just because we're still in a period of stagnation doesn't mean that the only way forward is growth.
Perhaps I'm a man from another time -- I was always told when I was younger that I was older than my years -- but I would like nothing more than for us all to go back to basics, reflect on what's truly important in our lives and work out a way where we can live the good life, not a life driven by acquiring material possessions that bring no joy. (I love this line from Thomas Merton's book, New Seeds of Contemplation: "Sometimes pleasure can be the death of joy, and so the man who has tasted true joy is suspicious of pleasure.") Of course, that would mean we all get along, live as a community and resile from the "Me first" mentality that pervades our society.
I suspect though, like all things we've lived through, our reconnection with a life of meaning will never arise until we're confronted with death or annihilation. Yes, I know it sounds morose, but with everything we know about pollution and environmental degradation, we'll wait until the bitter end before finally deciding it's time to act.
Will it be too late?
Only time will tell.