written by Martin Palmer, Secretary General, ARC Alliance of Religions and Conservation, www.arcworld.org
The image of the Titanic offers much to contemplate about human pride and arrogance; the illusion that our knowledge means we actually really understand the world of nature, and the dangers of excess. To me it is most significant because it illustrates the problem of over-reliance on our own skills and powers when in fact we are as vulnerable to the dynamics of our planet as were our ancestors when they first descended from the trees or started to make tools.
We act as if we are the Masters and Mistresses of the Universe, whereas all it takes for our world to collapse is for Nature to not do as we expect. Iceberg; volcanic ash; droughts and floods can all wreck our plans and hold us hostage to fortune. And we have created a world society of economics which has made us as much at risk as the passengers on the Titanic. We have created such a behemoth of an economic system which has so stretched the resources and capacity of the planet to its limit, that any disruption to this now spells potential disaster. We have lost the local in favour of the international in terms of self-sustainability; we have lost control of our own cultures because we have created an economic culture that no-one actually owns because it is only a tool; we have lost faith in values which can guide us and instead follow market trends and political opportunism. At least the Titanic knew where it wanted to go. Our Ship of Fate doesn't even seem to know that but is simply ploughing on in the hope that it will eventually arrive somewhere, driven by the engine of growth. We need to decide where we want our Ship to go or perhaps even more crucially, we need to think about what journey we now want to set out upon and what sort of vessel or vessels we want to travel in.
Our current journey lacks any true sense of destination. It is time perhaps to tell a different story rather than try and keep the old one afloat!