Thursday, August 30, 2012

Retracing our Steps

It's becoming more and more clear that we've gone overboard with the perpetual growth/hyperactive model of civilization.   Retracing one's steps is not a bad idea when you've gone astray and see that you're about to go over a cliff.  It's not about going "back to the land." It's not about being a Luddite or nostalgic, it's a practical decision, a strategic decision.  It means that we draw upon the rich heritage of past cultures and present cultures other than our own very "sucessful" Western model of cultural and economic imperialism. 
Our culture tends to view the past as something that we have transcended, as something that we have improved on.  We like to think of all the ways that we have made progress, and there is nothing wrong with that.  But if it means forgetting or rejecting the past to the point that we no longer know who we are or how we got here, then we put ourselves in a very dangerous mental bind.  If to retreat means defeat and failure, if our culture must be the best and only culture, the winner, the greatest country on earth in every possible way, then we limit our ability to adapt.
Remembering who we have been can help us to imagine other paths into the future, to create new ways of life that will not reduce our world into a wasteland, but rather grow its beauty and vitality.

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