NOT having and wanting more is a philosophy that we all must learn to re-ground ourselves. It calls for a simple, less complicated, not destructive life.
I come to refresh this old wisdom because I feel the provincial government officials want to make our life more convoluted and risky with its recent inclination to favor the establishment of a huge coal-fired power in the island by SMC Global Power Holdings Corp.
They think that by having this pollutant power, the island can increase its capacity to spur economic growth. They either don’t know what they are talking about or maybe they are just thinking about what they could possibly get from such a huge project.
Our biomass and geothermal energy already serve as the baseload of Negros island power. We still have 579MW from nine solar power plants and 10 run of the river hydropower.
What else do we need coal-fired power for when we have enough supply of clean and cheap energy for our power needs?
What other mixed-energy is needed when we already have a great power mix, more nature-friendly?
I think, their mindset translated into their development paradigm is the problem.
This brings me again to E.F. Schumacher’s “Small is Beautiful.” He was forwarding not just technologies, but a paradigm.
In fact, the guy he inspired millions around the world and became the framework for the growth of the movement for alternative small technologies and systems.
We have always been taught that big is better, big always wins, big always bring faster and bigger fortunes. The bigger and more advanced the machines we use, the faster we make the things we want and the more convenient our life becomes.
The more we re-invent nature, the more we alter the power of nature to suit human desires, the more we clone human beings and animals, the more we explore the depths of the galaxy, all using the constantly updated inventions of science and technology, the more we become better human beings. Or so we are made to believe. As if human beings are born with less of everything.
The desire for something bigger, for much quicker fortunes, for an easier life, for a God-life has practically altered the people’s concept of life and human habitat.
Big capitalist countries have become fiercer and violent in their battle for technological superiority for the re-division and control of the world.
This is the thinking at the core of capitalist-driven industrialization and robotization of the northern countries, Europe, Russia, and north-central Asia and North America.
This is the same mentality that disbanded small farms in favor of big capitalist commercial plantations in many parts of Asia and Latin-Central America.
But look at what has become of our world as a result of this thinking.
The past three-quarters of a century have brought us havocs never witnessed in the history of humanity – continuous development of sophisticated technologies aimed at faster and efficient extraction of our natural resources, efficient production processes, controlling territories and space, human cloning and biogenetic engineering.
Look at what these big technologies brought us - world wars, genocides, environmental plunder and destructions, recurring food crisis, hunger and poverty, and even climatic changes and climate control.
Even the last frontiers of human life, our freedom, and privacy have become captives and hostages of these big industries, big machines, big technologies, and big systems.
For all their technological and social advances, the leading world capitalist economies of today have demonstrated nothing but accelerated the destruction of our world and the brokenness of our humanity.
The thinking behind this advancement in civilizations and humanity has simply proven its increasing non-viability, non-sustainability, and destructiveness because it pushes everything to the limits as if our planet is limitless and self-regenerating.
I am not against industrialization and advancement in our technologies. We need to achieve them to ease our sufferings in our pursuit of satisfaction and happiness.
What I don’t, can’t and will never go with is the view that the world is limitless, and therefore, everyone can go with their wildest means, in anarchic ways, to get what they want.
What I abhor and resist is the control of the bureaucratic power by the cliques of crooks and greedy, working in tandem with those who have limitless capital in their hands whose orientation is the insatiable desire for more capital, more power, and therefore bigger technologies for the control of humanity and destruction of the world.
These cliques are now in control of advanced industrialized countries, inventing and investing in bigger and sophisticated systems, and driving the world to its limits.
This is a classic northern capitalist countries thinking; the southern, oriental way of life is more of being more, of becoming more humane. The two ideologies are fundamentally and diametrically opposed.
Schumacher had always referred to the oriental way of life – a life in harmony with nature, in unity with the bigger.
Being, a life of simple things, of small and elegance, of slow-pace but flowing life, of life that is not a hostage of anyone and anything.
It is a life the opposite of the northerners or westerners.
My colleagues in AIDFI, especially our guru Auke Idzenga, is a staunch advocate of “small is beautiful.” In fact, AIDFI’s work in promoting small-scale technologies is a classic example of this dominantly oriental thinking.
If only given a bigger push by those with resources and who really believe in true people’s development, it is not impossible for our rich and beautiful region to achieve widespread small-scale industrialization as the first step through the complex route towards our self-determination.
Truly, within the womb of a collapsing neoliberal globalized world is a new era struggling to unfold - the era of small-scale, appropriate and renewable technologies; of small systems and small organizations; of simple but pure happiness.
Time to teach ourselves, learn once more, and accept a wisdom that big dream is realized through little ideas, and one small step at a time.
We can start with opposing coal-fired power, as a demonstration of our commitment to a life in harmony with nature.
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