Facing the Crisis: four Principles and four Virtues

Einstein’s phrase is very true today: «a crisis cannot be resolved by the mentality that created it.» It is too late to just make reforms; they do not change the mentality. We need to start from another frame of mind, founded in principles and values that can sustain a new form of civilization. Otherwise, we will have to accept a path that leads us to the precipice. The dinosaurs have already gone down that path.

My sense of the world tells me that there are four principles and four virtues capable of guaranteeing a good future for the Earth and for life. I will only mention them, without elaboration, which I have already done in several publications in recent years.

The first principle is caring. Caring is a relationship of non-aggression and love towards the Earth and every other being. Caring stands in opposition to the domination that characterizes the old paradigm. Caring heals the wounds of the past and avoids new ones. It delays entropy’s unrestrained force and allows everyone to live and withstand more. The equivalent of caring for the Orientals is compassion; therefore, Orientals never abandon those who suffer; one walks in solidarity with, and brings happiness to, the other who suffers.

The second is respect. Every being possesses an intrinsic value, independent of its utility to humans. Every being expresses a potentiality of the universe, has something to reveal to us and deserves to exist and to live. Respect recognizes and welcomes the other as other, and proposes to peacefully coexist. Its ethic is one of boundless respect for everything that exists and lives.

The third is universal responsibility. Because of it, human beings and society are aware of the beneficial or damaging consequences of their actions. Both have to be careful of the quality of their relations with the other and with nature, so that they may be friendly, rather than hostile, to life. With the means of destruction already in existence, humanity, without responsibility, could self-destruct, and damage the biosphere.

The fourth principle is unconditional cooperation. The universal law of evolution is not competition, where the stronger wins out, but interdependency. Everything cooperates with everything else, to co-evolve and assure bio-diversity. Because of mutual cooperation, our ancestors became humans. Globalized marketing is ruled by the most rigid competition, with no room for cooperation. Therefore, the individualism and egoism that underlie the present crisis, and have thus far foreclosed any possible consensus on climate change, have prevailed.

These four principles must come with four virtues, indispensable for the consolidation of the new order.

The first virtue is hospitality, fundamental for a world republic, according to Kant. We all have the right to be welcome, the converse of the duty to welcome the other. This virtue will be fundamental as we face the streams of people and the millions of climate refugees who will emerge in the next few years. They should not be, as they are now, outsiders to the community.

The second is good fellowship with those who are different. Globalization of the human experiment does not annul the cultural differences with which we must learn to coexist, to inter-exchange, to compliment each other, and to enrich each other with these mutual exchanges.

The third is tolerance. Not all cultural values and customs are convergent and easy to accept. Active tolerance is important for recognizing the right of the other to exist as different, and to guarantee total expression to the other.

The fourth is comestibles. All human beings must, in solidarity, have access to sufficient food, and food security. They must feel like members of one family, that eats and drinks together. Food as nourishment is not only necessary, it is also about a rite of confraternity.

All our efforts will be in vain if Río+20, of 2012, discusses only practical measures to mitigate global warming, without touching other principles and values that could generate a minimum consensus, thus giving sustainability to our civilization. If not, the crisis will continue its corrosive path, until it becomes a tragedy. We have the means and science to reach sustainability. We lack only the will, and love for life, ours and that of our children and grandchildren. May the Spirit that presides over history not abandon us.


2 comentários sobre “Facing the Crisis: four Principles and four Virtues

  1. I sure agree with that! I can truly assure that I have been asking for more respect among people, and much more commitment in helping promoting individual positive growth everywhere! And also call my friends´ attention to see what´s been happening around us!


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