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" Live out of your imagination

not your history "

Stephen R. Covey

PVF, The Future of the Planet and The Prince of Wales Digging Deep

July 14th, 2009

One of the peculiar features of a good holiday is that it relaxes you so much, you feel exhausted within a day or so of returning, and can easily fall prey to that dreaded syndrome PVF – post-vacational fatigue. The body having slipped into a deliciously slow pace when on holiday finds itself stunned by the hectic pace it is expected to resume the moment you return!

Despite the PVF I’m having at the moment I managed to watch the Prince of Wales Dimbleby lecture on the Future of the World last night. It really is a tour de force, and if you’re in the UK you can watch it here:

You can also find the full text of his speech here. Here’s a sample:

I have come to the inescapable conclusion that the legacy of Modernism in our so-called post-Modern age has brought us to a crucial moment in history; prompting a lot of uncomfortable questions. And I just want to ask quite a few of them tonight. What I hope to do is give you some idea why these questions are so urgent, starting with what might appear to be the more philosophical aspects, and then to describe what, in practical terms, a particular change in our thinking might lead to.

The first question I want to ask is how we have landed ourselves and the rest of the world in the mess that it now struggles to overcome? Because it does struggle. We have more than enough scientific evidence that proves this to be so. But more than this, what is it that drives us on to exacerbate the problems? Why do we tip the balance of the Earth’s delicate systems with yet more destruction, even though we know in our heart of hearts that in doing so we will most likely risk bringing everything down around us?

In the thirty years or so that I have been attempting to understand and address the many related problems, I have tried to dig deep and ask myself what it is in our general attitude to the world that is ultimately at fault?

HRH Prince of Wales

Read more here

2 Responses to “PVF, The Future of the Planet and The Prince of Wales Digging Deep”

  1. Welcome back Philip! Hope you have successfully battled the old PVF and regained some of your ‘whizz and fizz’!

    Thanks for posting this – it’s wonderful. His point about acknowledging the redundancy of our current value systems, of admitting to ourselves how deeply self-destructive they are, seems such an important one to make – over and over until the penny drops. Widening our understanding of economic wealth to include the wellbeing and sustainability of our communities and environment is the only sane and sensible thing to do but I think he is right also that, both individually and collectively, we have to search our hearts to tackle that ‘fracture’ – honestly questioning the perception we have of ourselves, the earth and each other and why it is we should feel the need to be so cavalier with something so precious.

    His points on interconnective harmony made me think of a programme I saw about a south American tribe – the name of which escapes me now. If any member of the tribe was suffering nightmares, great measures were taken to analyse the dreams and place protective amulets around the sleeper (these were little wooden people). It was believed that nightmares proved the presence of mischievous or malignant spirits that would cause harm. It struck me that the tribe understood that nightmares quite often signalled an inner struggle in the individual. This struggle, if left unaided, would unltimately impact on the harmony and wellbeing of the entire tribe. They clearly perceived the interconnection between the part and the whole and considered it extremely important to maintain the harmony of such for the good of all. Heal the individual and you heal the tribe. We seem to have lost this understanding. I think a good place to start is always with ourselves.

    Our unquestioning, almost defiant, denial as a collective to acknowledge what we are doing mirrors very much the action of those struggling with addiction: no matter how appalingly self-destructive the status quo, to challenge it often feels much too frightening and painful. We need to acknowledge that we have a problem (I think there are many still in denial) if things are to change. We then need to admit that a change in thinking is needed if we are to heal and reconnect.

    There are many positive things happening though at a grass roots level. I was speaking to a friend only last night about her new job. She has been employed by Portsmouth City Council as part of a Government scheme to promote community growing projects. They are setting up community orchards and gardens, teaching kids and the wider community about growing, which is a great start with regard to getting folks to value and deepen their connection to the earth whilst also building community cohesion. There has been a massive public response which is very heartening. I think often these simple changes can have profound, knock on effects.

    I feel a particular affection for the Norse God Frey. He is often spoken of as being connected to the notion of ‘Frith’ which some translate as ‘fruitful peace’, which I think is such a lovely term. In my understanding Frith is dependant on a sense of sacred interconnectedness, with your fellow humans and with the earth in order to achieve the benefits of another term associated with Frey: ‘Ar’ which translates as ‘good season’ or ‘good harvest’. I hope that we can reconnect to that fruitful peace, in the relationship with ourselves, our communities and with our planet.

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