Sustainability Research, Reviews and Signposting
Jacob Bronowski wrote in his book, The Ascent of Man:
We are all afraid – for our confidence, for our future, for the world. That is the nature of the human imagination.
Yet every man, every civilisation, has gone forward because of its engagement with what it has set itself to do.
The personal commitment of a man to his skill, the intellectual commitment, and the emotional commitment working together as one, has made the Ascent of Man.
This stands out for three reasons.
First, in that he too has expressed fear for the future and the world, nearly forty years ago, 1973.
Second, in that men and civilisations have progressed because of the imagination and the tasks that one sets themselves.
Third, in that man ascends because of his tripartite commitment: in skill, intellect and emotion. This suggests the application of our own intellect and skill in what we feel emotionally committed to, that we are deeply committed to.
Any fear and loathing for the ‘common man’, wondering why he doesn’t get it, wondering why he can’t concern himself with the environment more, wondering what would it take to engage him, to change his ways, can be avoided. It can be avoided by not engaging with the common man, but challenging the government with policies for environmental protection and sustainability that they cannot brush away as being untenable, untouchable, beyond our current means; exactly as Slavoj Zizek intended in his LRB article, Resistance Is Surrender.
Photo courtesy by Ben Cooper, with many thanks.