". . . until the Age of Enlightenment in the 1700's, and the 'scientific
revolution' that accompanied it, the prevailing viewpoint among the peoples
of the earth was that the planet itself was a living creature. Most cultures
shared this belief, whether they were 'Western' in orientation (such as
the Sumerians, the Greeks, and the Romans), or whether they still lived
within nature. They believed that the Earth was a being, with skin, soul,
and organs. The skin was the soil, the soul was contained within the rocks
and bones of the dead, the organs included rivers (the bloodstream) and
wind (the lungs). Such categories were not meant as metaphors. Earth was
alive; we lived upon it as millions of tiny microorganisms live on human
skin . . . Most cultures up to the Enlightenment also believed that the
Earth was a female being, the actual mother of life.
The 'scientific revolution' changed all this. For the first time, the
idea was postulated that the earth is actually a kind of dead thing, a
machine. With that perspective came a new set of scientific paradigms that
gave impetus to the idea of human superiority over other animals and over
nature." Jerry Mander, In the Absence of the Sacred, 1991
What are the fundamental assumptions underlying the 21st Century
economy? What is the relationship to the earth in the enterprise of the
21st Century? How does the enterprise of the 21st Century mirror the relationship
between man and the environment?
the ending of the frigid Fifty Years' War between Soviet-style communism
and the West's liberal democracy, some observers - Francis Fukuyama, in
particular - announced that we had reached the 'end of history.' Nothing
could be further from the truth. In fact, now that the bitter ideological
confrontation sparked by this century's collision of 'isms' has ended,
larger numbers of people from more points on the globe than ever before
have aggressively come forward to participate in history. . . A
generation ago, even a decade ago, most of them were as voiceless and invisible
as they had always been. This is true no longer: they have entered history
with a vengeance, and they have demands - economic demands - to make." THE END OF THE NATION STATE; Kenichi Ohmae, 1995
To what degree should we be venture capitalists for these emerging communities?
the very values, methods, and practices that permitted the modern organization
to dominate the Industrial Age are undermiming its adaptation to the structural
changes ushering in the Information Age. Refusing to confront the global
forces that buffet them, our mightiest organizations continue to fall back
on what they do best, regardless of its relevance - or lack of relevance
- to the problems at hand." THE GOLD COLLAR WORKER; Robert E. Kelley, 1985
Over the next 10 years large, most global businesses will . . .
we should expect that more of the changes we see are irreversible,
while taking note that most of our conceptual tools for mapping them -
such as economics and conventional scientific approaches - are still based
on Newton's ideas of mechanics and reversible models of locomotion in a
clockwork universe. Therefore, we can also expect accelerating future shock
(to use Alvin Toffler's term), even in formerly stable areas of our personal
and political lives and institutions." PARADIGMS IN PROGRESS: Life Beyond Economics; Hazel Henderson, 1991
To what degree have we gone beyond repair when it comes to restoring
once cherished institutions and environments?
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