Unlocking sensibilities

From Paul Hawken’s Blessed Unrest:

“Maybe the best way to understand the future implications of the movement’s daily actions is to remember Emerson’s moral botany: corn seeds produce corn; justice creates justices; and kindness fosters generosity. How do we sow our seeds when large, well-intentioned institutions and intolerant ideologies that purport to be our salvations cause so much damage? One sure way is through smallness, grace, and locality. Individuals start where they stand and, in Antonio Machado’s poetic dictum, make the road by walking.”
Emerson’s Savants

“Technologically, Western culture dances to preeminence with an iPod plugged into both ears. When it comes to innovation, literature, and creativity, it is dazzling. The ability to go deep into the ocean or as far as the moon is spectacular, but as Robert Oppenheimer reminded us, being blessed with technological insight does not confer self-insight. If we measure Western culture by how it has treated people of different ethnicity and race, it is anathema. If we judge it by the the treatment of its own people, including children, the elderly, and the poor, it is an embarrassment. And if we try to calibrate American superiority by its treatment of the environment, the United States is one of the least intelligent civilizations in the history of the planet.”

I’ve only read a few chapters, but I highly recommend this book. As Hawken says in “Emerson’s Savants” regarding Thoreau when he read Nature, “Books that influence us often contain ideas we already recognize due to intellectual preparation or predilection; rather than casting thunderbolts from the blue, they may unlock sensibilities from within.”

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