Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Thoughts from "Down to Business: Paul Hawken on Reshaping the Economy"

As I'm sorting through my old Sun magazines, prior to recycling them, I'm finding some wonderful articles. I've decided to start excerpting quotes from the ones that speak the most strongly to me.

This article was in April 2002, an interview by Renee Lertzman with Paul Hawken entitled, "Down to Business: Paul Hawken on Reshaping the Economy." Most of the quotes are excerpted from Hawken's replies to Lertzman's questions.

p. 7: Human society is a subsystem of Mother Earth. As the earth changes, every aspect of society is transformed. It is happening before our eyes. Most of the changes cause suffering. This is the problem, but also the starting point for intervention: how do we relieve suffering?

p. 7: ...business is not the purpose of society, and it's certainly not our purpose on earth. Businesses can serve humanity, alleviate suffering, and nurture life, but those that do are far too rare. [Emphasis (bold) added by me.]

p. 10 [Hawken speaking] I would never suggest that any solution is the "only" means of solving a problem. If we are dwelling within a system that is degrading life on earth, then every node of the system requires attention. This is heartening because it means that farmers, teachers, mechanics, parents, architects, and people in every other vocation have a role to play. We are not talking about change from on high. We are not talking about charismatic white males leading a sustainability revolution. This is change from the margins, from the understory.
...if we think of SUV owners as careless, nonthinking despoilers of the commons, we are further in the hole, because then we are marginalizing - if not demonizing - our fellow human beings. Not a strong basis for change. This world is riddled with ignorance. You can blame people who knock things over in the dark, or you can begin to light candles. You're only at fault if you know about the problem and choose to do nothing.

p. 12 Bear in mind that the American colonies rose up not against the tyranny of a crazed King George, but against the rule of his chartered corporations.
In essence, America was created to end corporate abuse. That we have become what we feared is ironic, and would be merely of historical interest were it not for the fact that corporate activity today threatens life itself.

p. 12 Marx was wrong. Religion is not the opiate of the masses. The drug of choice is the materialism flowing from corporations.

p. 13 Lertzman [the interviewer]: How do you respond to the other question: Is there enough time for us to correct our destructive trends?
Hawken: I usually respond that time is irrelevant.... We cannot know the future, not even a minute from now. What is critical is to be engaged in something that is worthy, to live a life that you will feel good about when you die, even if you die tomorrow. When you are engaged in this way, the issues of life and death and time become less important than the care and grace with which you serve. [Emphasis added by me.]

1 comment:

prairiewolf said...

1. 2002??

2. It never ceases to amaze me how foolish most Americans are. But than I've said for near 25 years that you can't get an American interested until you affect his pocket book. GWB has arranged that. Between spending $400 billion (and counting) in Iraq, further empowering the corporations, and insuring that in my lifetime, there will be no judicial responsibility, our pocket books are about to find out what the cost of 2 stolen elections really is.

Just imagine the progress that could have been made with $200 billion. We could still have won Afghanistan and be ready to flip off all the Middle East Oil. Now, it will be 5 years and lots of economic pain.

But I digress: He is correct in all that he has said. A very astute observer and commentator! And you've taught the same lessons for years yourself.