Limiting Principles

This was yesterday’s thought for the day. I am using systems theory for my thesis, and E.F. Schumacher (Small is Beautiful, 1973) was one of the early systems thinkers. So was EE. The book Words to Live by, from which the Thought for the Day are excerpted, was first published in 1990.

An attitude to life which seeks fulfillment in the single-minded pursuit of wealth – in short, materialism – does not fit into this world, because it contains within itself no limiting principle, while the environment in which it is placed is strictly limited.
– E.F. Schumacher

The very air we breathe is not inexhaustible. If we love our children as we profess to, we should remember that the air is limited, exhaustible, a perishable member of the family of life. Treat it gently. Treat it with care. Don’t blow fumes into the air or dump poisons into the rivers and oceans just because it increases profits. Don’t fan overconsumption by buying things you do not need. It is not only corporations who carry the responsibility for pollution. Insofar as we tell them, “Produce all you want! We’ll buy whatever you make,” the rest of us are responsible too.

It is a wise commentator on today’s world who points out that we do not inherit from our parents: we borrow from our children. Let us do all we can from today onwards to ensure that our children’s children will live in a world unthreatened by radioactive waste and chemical pollution. – Eknath Easwaran, Thought for the Day

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *