Friday, November 28, 2008

H.R.H. The Prince of Wales on consumerism and technology

Some wise words from H.R.H. The Prince of Wales at a speech for the Foreign Press Association of London:

The Prince of Wales has delivered an impassioned plea against Western civilisation's burgeoning consumerism, warning that it is leading to an increasing dislocation between humanity and nature.

[…] Speaking at the Park Lane Hotel at the annual Foreign Press Association media awards, Prince Charles said he believed that living in an age in which technological ease had become an accustomed and easy part of life had also contributed to a loss of natural connection with nature and its patterns.

This, he argued, has led to a loosening of what he described as man's inner moorings, shifting a natural orientation outward onto "something extraneous to us".

And he asked if the increasing dependence on technology had begun to make human beings also believe - like the modernists [as in “scientific Modernist rationalism”] - that they and the world are merely part of "some enormous mechanical process".

[…] Prince Charles said that, despite enormous levels of consumption in developed nations, more and more people admitted to feeling dissatisfied and depressed and neurological and sociological research is showing similar results.

[…] "One of the downsides of consumerism, it seems to me, is that it forces us to compromise on issues that should not be compromised. I'm sure there are many people who know that it is wrong to plunder the Earth's treasures as recklessly as we do, but the comprehensive world view which we now inhabit persuades us that such destruction is justified because of the freedom it brings us, not to say the profits," he said.

"In other words, our tendency to consume is legitimised by a view of the world that puts humanity at the centre of things, operating with an absolute right over nature. And that makes it a very dangerous world view indeed."
The text of the speech is available at His Royal Higness’s website:

Note that I applaud much (but not all) of the letter of the speech, but not necessarily the spirit of it, if you know what I mean. Nonetheless, the advance of technology has certainly had the unfortunate consequence of the human race starting to think that it can not only subdue nature but even re-write it, so to speak; hence the tinkering with natural institutions like marriage and the obscene production of ‘animal-human hybrids’.

Reginaldvs Cantvar
28.XI.2008 A.D.

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