Philosophy: where should we be heading
The current western culture puts too much emphasis on personal immediate consumption and not enough on long-term planning.
Previous generations worked hard to make the world a more pleasant place for their children and grandchildren. For example, people planted avenues of trees knowing that they would never themselves see the end result.
This use of fossil fuels initially improved people's lives in western Europe and elsewhere, through guaranteeing a good food supply - but in the last few decades, many things suggest a society in decline:
• surveys have shown no increase in happiness despite increased consumption
• prison populations are at record levels
• obesity levels are rising
• divorce rates have risen
• the economy has become dependent on debt - the run on Northern Rock in September 2007 was the first run on a large UK bank for decades.
We should now be moving to a sustainable way of living - i.e. ways of living that are sustainable in the long term. 'Sustainable' includes the concept of 'ethical' (treating others as you would like to be treated yourself) since unethical ways of living are not sustainable in the long term.
|First published: May 2007 |
Last updated: 03 Feb 2015