Mindfulness, Thich Nhat Hanh, Deep Listening, Peace, Apocalypse, Dystopia, Climate Change, Climate Crisis, Global Warming, Brexit, Communism, African Global Group (Formerly Bosasa Operations), Angelo Agrizzi, China, One Child Policy, Stanley Kubrick, Jane Goodall, Environmental Lawyer Gus Speth, Trail Of Tears

Mindfulness, Thich Nhat Hanh

Deep listening will serve us better than building walls

To stand a chance of fixing our planet, we need a seismic cultural and spiritual transformation

18.8.2019

OPINION: Certain sections of our society are already collapsing: imagine a quilt that’s holding fast in some places and unravelling in others.

To stand a chance of fixing our planet, we need a seismic cultural and spiritual transformation

I’ve got a friend who has tried killing herself a couple of times and is severely depressed because the world doesn’t have a future. How can she plan her own future when the planet doesn’t have one?

This slide into dystopia won’t happen all at once, I don’t think, although some parts of the decay may be more spectacular than others, for instance, when Brexit finally takes place.

Former Bosasa chief operating officer Angelo Agrizzi called it a cult: the unending acquisition of money and goods; the insatiable need for more power. It could also be called an addiction. Some South Africans feel they just have to acquire a Porsche when 14 million of their fellow citizens are going to sleep hungry each night, when only one in 24 school leavers is going to get a job.

As rational creatures, shouldn’t we be able to figure out how to get ourselves out of this fix? Director Stanley Kubrick said that we humans fancy ourselves to be governed by our intellect and knowledge, education and ability to think analytically — but he believed that when it really comes to the crunch, we are governed by our emotions. I tend to agree with him: no matter what the evidence presented by scientists and, lately, by extreme weather events, we keep right on mining coal, using oil and producing plastic.

For those who hope that scientists will save us from the impending ecological disaster, think about what US environmental lawyer Gus Speth said: “I used to think that top environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse and climate change. I thought that 30 years of good science could address these problems. I was wrong. The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed and apathy, and to deal with these we need a cultural and spiritual transformation. And we scientists don’t know how to do that.”

Much of this kind of compassion will be needed soon: when cities run out of water, when floods flatten coastal regions, when barefoot refugees cross borders bereft of possessions. How much compassion will there be for the elite 1%, I wonder, when their lofty fortresses finally crumble?

Read more: Mail & Guardian

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