“For far too long, we in the West have consulted the same leather-bound dictionary compiled in the aftermath of the Cold War. Now our dictionary is in flames. We reach out to save what we can, but many pages of entries are scorched. Suddenly we realise we must redefine our most fundamental concepts. What is democracy? We thought we knew the answer, we took it for granted, but now we are no longer sure. What is normal? What is happiness? What are the values we should prioritise: ambitious trade agreements, financial deregulation, profit-driven business models that destroy the environment and pay no heed to co-existence? Or health and social care, diversity and inclusion, positive interaction with our ecosystems and purpose-driven business models?”
“Human beings are the only species on Earth that do not know how they are supposed to live. All other species have a natural environment and a natural way to sustain their form of life. While some animals have to build things to make their environment what it ought to be (as is the case with beavers building dams), there is no question of what they ought to build and how species ought to make a living for itself. As in all environments, things can go wrong: a falling rock can break the dam, the water can become poisoned, a virus may spread. Yet when something goes wrong in the life of beavers, it is not because they have the wrong idea of how to organise their lives. Indeed, beavers cannot have the wrong idea of how they should live, since it is set by their nature.
“For human beings, by contrast, the question of how we should lead our lives is always at issue, even if we try to forget that fact. We can discover the ideal conditions for other species by studying their natural way of life. But we cannot discover the best way for us to live simply by studying our present or past societies.”