Home Philosophy Integral polity, integrating nature, СЃulture, society and economy
KNOWLEDGE AND RELATIONSHIP
The renaissance that is starting to unfold, both is a flower – that we might liken to Sekem's (14) Sustainability Flower (see Chapter 22) – that needs nurturing, and is still a very delicate thing. It will in part be built on our technical knowledge of how the world works and how our machines work best, but its economic and cultural foundations have to be set firmly in a "philosophia", or love of wisdom. In fact, for Prince Charles, what
Harmony alludes to, overall, is that unless we heed the warnings that come from the depths of human consciousness, where human nature is rooted to nature itself, we shall unleash into the world uncontrollable chaos that no amount of clever technology will be able to deal with.
Indeed, and in our modern, secular context, even the word "spiritual" has been debased. It is no longer understood as the unifying principle of nature, the sense in us of the underlying core of the universe, that which impels the unfolding of what is, in truth, an endless moment of creation. We need modern science, for sure, because without it we would have a more limited view of the world, but let us not forget what the sacred texts revealed, what poetry and the other arts give us. It is not knowledge. It is an experience, for Prince Charles, induced by love, and love comes from relationship.
The lesson, for him, is that if we fail to reinstate a much deeper awareness of how the world we inhabit really works, as traditional societies clearly do, we must expect an even wider disconnection, both from the Earth and within ourselves. The two are intimately connected. The destruction of nature is ultimately the destruction of vast numbers of species of animals and plants. It is a vicious circle that grinds away at human beings. But we can halt this course of events if we recognize the difference between a world based purely on knowledge and one that balances this knowledge with what we gain from our relationship with the Earth. So, in our flawed dialogue with the world, the fault does not lie in the absence of knowledge. It lies in the absence of relationship.
RETURN TO HARMONY
In the final analysis, for Prince Charles together with his environmental colleagues Tony Juniper and Ian Skelly, there is much to be gained from the observance of the natural order and the rhythm of things, whether it be in lines or shapes of architecture or the processes involved in agriculture, and certainly in the natural world as a whole. Through the contemplation of the rhythms of life, it is possible to understand the forces that dominate everything we are aware of and to sense and gain from the harmony that exists between all things in their natural state. As all sacred traditions have sought to show, and as Harmony has attempted to demonstrate, the closer we dance to the rhythms and patterns that lie within us, the closer we get to acting in what is the right way; closer to the good in life, to what is true and beautiful – rather than swirling around without an anchor, lost "out there" in the wilderness of a view shaped solely by 400 years of emphasis on mechanistic thinking and the output of our industrialized processes.
We face a future, then, where there is a real prospect that if we fail the Earth we fail humanity. To avoid such an outcome, it is beholden on each and every one of us, Prince Charles asserts, to help redress the balance that has been so shaken by re-founding our outlook framed by a clearer, spiritually intact philosophy of life. Only then can we hope to establish a far more self-sustainable system; only then can we live by more rooted values; and only then might we tread more lightly upon this Earth; the miracle of creation that is our privilege to call "home".
In fact, and as we shall see in Chapter 22, Sekem in Egypt, and the recent University for Sustainable Development it has established in Heliopolis, picks up from where Harmony leaves off. However, before we focus on such, we need to consider the Arab Spring.
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