Friday, January 27, 2012

An Attempt to Define Sustainability

Leonardo Boff's weekly columns are available in Spanish from Servicios Koinonia and in Portuguese on his blog. Some of his older columns are available in English at LeonardoBoff.com.

by Leonardo Boff (English translation by Rebel Girl)
1/27/2012

There is a conflict today between different understandings of sustainability. The definition in the UN's Brundtland Report (1987) is classic: "Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs and aspirations." This concept is correct but it has two limitations: it's anthropocentric (it only considers the human being) and it says nothing about the community of life (the other living things that also need a sustainable biosphere). I'm going to try to make a formulation that is as inclusive as possible:

Sustainability is any action to maintain the energy, informational, physical-chemical conditions that make all beings sustainable, especially the living Earth, the community of life and human life, seeking their continuity, and also meeting the needs of the present generation and future generations, so that natural capital is maintained and its capacity for regeneration, reproduction and eco-evolution is enriched.

Let us quickly explain the terms of this holistic vision:

Making all the necessary conditions for the generation of beings sustainable: the latter only exist from the set of energy, physical, chemical and informational elements that, combined, give rise to everything.

Making all beings sustainable: here we're talking about radically overcoming anthropocentrism. All beings emerge from the evolutionary process and enjoy intrinsic value, regardless of human use.

Making the living Earth sustainable especially: the Earth is more than a "thing" (res extensa), without intelligence, or a mere means of production. She doesn't contain life, but is alive, self-regulating; she regenerates and evolves. If we do not guarantee the sustainability of the living Earth, called Gaia, we remove the basis for all other forms of sustainability.

Making the community of life sustainable too: the environment doesn't exist as something secondary or peripheral. We don't exist; we coexist and we are all interdependent. All living things carry the same basic genetic alphabet. We form the web of life, including microorganisms. This web creates biomass and biodiversity and is necessary for the survival of life on this planet.

Making human life sustainable: We are a unique link in the web of life, the most complex being of our solar system and the advanced tip of the evolutionary process known to us, as we are bearers of consciousness, sensitivity and intelligence. We feel we are called to care for and save Mother Earth, to ensure the continuity of civilization and to monitor our destructive capacity.

Make the continuity of the evolutionary process sustainable: Beings are preserved and supported by the background energy or the original source of all being. The universe has an end in itself, simply because it exists, continues to expand and create itself.

Making attention to human needs sustainable: We do it through rational and careful use of goods and services that the cosmos and the Earth offer us and without which we would succumb.

Making our generation and those that follow ours sustainable: The Earth is sufficient for each generation as long as it establishes a relationship of synergy and cooperation with her and distributes goods and services fairly. The use of these goods should be governed by generational solidarity. Future generations have the right to inherit a conserved Earth and nature.

Sustainability is measured by the ability to preserve natural capital, allowing it to remake itself and, even through human genius, be enriched for future generations. This expanded concept that integrates sustainability must serve as a criterion to evaluate how far we have progressed or not along the path of sustainability and should also serve as an inspiration or idea-generator to make sustainability a reality in different fields of human activity. Without this, sustainability is pure rhetoric without fruits.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Healer

by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Eclesalia Informativo
1/25/2012

Mark 1:21-28

According to Mark, Jesus' first public act was the healing of a man possessed by an evil spirit in the synagogue at Capernaum. It's a breathtaking scene, one told so that, from the beginning, the readers discover the healing and liberating force of Jesus.

It's the sabbath and the people are gathered in the synagogue to listen to the commentary on the Law explained by the scribes. For the first time, Jesus will proclaim the Good News of God precisely in the place where the religious traditions of Israel are taught to the people officially.

The people are surprised when they hear Him. They have the impression that up until now they had been listening to old news, spoken without authority. Jesus is different. He doesn't repeat what He has heard from others. He speaks with authority. He proclaims a Good God freely and fearlessly.

Suddenly a man "starts to scream 'Have you come to destroy us?'." Listening to Jesus' message, he feels threatened. His religious world is crumbling. We are told that he is possessed by an "evil spirit", hostile to God. What strange forces keep him from continuing to listen to Jesus? What harmful and perverse experiences are blocking his path to the Good God that He is proclaiming?

Jesus doesn't flinch. He sees the poor man oppressed by evil and cries out "Be quiet and come out of him!" He orders those evil voices that don't let him encounter God or himself to be still so that he can regain the silence that heals the deepest part of human beings.

The narrator describes the healing in a dramatic way. In one last effort to destroy him, the spirit "convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him." Jesus has managed to liberate the man from his inner violence. He has put an end to the darkness and fear of God. From now on, he will be able to hear the Good News of Jesus.

Many people have false images of God inside them that make them live without dignity or truth. They don't feel Him to be a friendly presence who invites them to live creatively, but a menacing shadow that controls their existence. Jesus always begins to heal by freeing people from an oppressor God.

His words encourage trust and dispel fear. His parables draw people to loving God, not to blind submission to the Law. His presence makes freedom grow, not enslavements; He stirs up love for life, not resentment. Jesus heals because He teaches us to live only out of goodness, forgiveness and a love that excludes nobody. He heals because He frees us from the power of things, self-deception and idolatry of the ego.

Saint Macrina's influence on her brother Saint Basil

By Sr. Teresa Forcades (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Un Manament Nou
1/13/2012



NOTE: These current columns by Sr. Teresa, which we will be gradually translating into English, are extracts from her most recent book, published in Catalan in 2011 by the Abadía de Montserrat, Ser persona, avui: estudi del concepte de ‘persona’ en la teologia trinitària clàssica i de la seva relació amb la noció moderna de llibertat ["Being a person today: a study in the concept of 'person' in classic Trinitarian theology and its relationship to the modern notion of freedom"].

At the end of this study of the Trinitarian theology of Basil, I will go into some aspects of life relevant to this issue such as the influence of Saint Macrina the Younger (327-379). In recent years there have been several studies that examine the extent to which the conversion of Basil and his love for the Scriptures were the result of the example and influence of his older sister, Macrina, founder of the dual monastery (women and men) of Annisa and abbess of the same until her death, and how we must recognize the responsibility of St. Macrina for the monastic rule called the Rule of St. Basil.

Saint Macrina was the oldest of what was perhaps the most notable family in the history of Christianity. Her paternal grandmother was Saint Macrina the Elder, disciple of the disciples of Saint Gregory Thaumaturgus, evangelist of Cappadocia, whose master was the great Origen. Her parents were Saint Basil of Pontus and Saint Emmelia of Caesarea, and among her siblings we find Saint Basil, Bishop of Caesarea, Naucratis the ascetic, Saint Gregory, bishop of Nyssa, and the monk Peter, bishop of Sebaste. The parents of this family belonged to the first generation of Christians in the Constantine era, but Macrina the Younger was raised by her grandmother Macrina the Elder, who still belonged to the generation of pre-Constantinian Christians, a generation of martyrs and confessors, accustomed to suffering persecution as members of an illegal religion.

When Macrina the Younger was twelve years old she was engaged to a young lawyer working in the office of her father, but her intended died soon after. Surprising and even scandalizing her family, Macrina then flatly refused to consider any other proposal of marriage and decided to devote herself to God as a virgin widow, starting in the family home a life dedicated to prayer, study of the Scriptures, and works of charity.

From age ten to seventeen, Basil lived in the family home with his ascetic sister, who was only two years older than him. From seventeen to twenty-seven, Basil studied in Caesarea, Constantinople and Athens. During these ten years, the family home, under the guidance and inspiration of Macrina, gradually transformed itself into one of the earliest Christian monasteries that - unlike the groups of ascetics in the Thebaid desert - included women, men and children and was structured as a real alternative society, as a steady prophetic sign in the world, in full communion with the bishop and the local Church. Macrina's monastery held properties and administered them for the benefit of the poor. It also had animals and craft workshops. Everyone took part in the manual labor and functions that were necessary for the maintenance of the house. They lived with simplicity and order and a life of faith structured around the recitation of psalms, which they chanted together several times a day.

Photo: Icon of St. Macrina with her brothers St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory of Nyssa and Peter, bishop of Sebaste.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Misa Campesina at 30

by Marta Leonor González (English translation by Rebel Girl)
La Prensa
1/25/2012

On his 87th birthday, the poet Ernesto Cardenal travels to Solentiname to reinaugurate the community he founded. The Misa Campesina was born there 30 years ago.

Ernesto Cardenal has called his friends together to celebrate one more year of life, the reconstruction of the church at Solentiname and the celebration of the Misa Campesina.

The journey is long, 290 kilometers from Managua to San Carlos, and then 30 kilometers by boat across Lake Cocibolca in "El Solentiname" where, in addition to Cardenal, Sergio Ramírez, novelist and winner of the Premio Alfaguara, Vidaluz Meneses, poet and president of the Nicaraguan Writers Center and winner of the Premio Neustadt, and other intellectuals and friends of the poet who worked with him in the 1980s in the Ministry of Culture when he was minister, are sailing too.

There are other guests, those who live abroad (diplomats, rectors and academics) who are coming with admiration to share the priest's 87th birthday and attend the reinauguration of Nuestra Señora de Solentiname Church.

In the other boat, brothers Carlos and Luis Mejía Godoy are coming to sing the Misa Campesina in the place where Carlos's verses were born 30 years ago.

"El Solentiname" is a boat that has been rebuilt three times, says Elvis, the sailor who is taking the guests through the Solentiname archipelago to Mancarrón Island where Cardenal in 1959, four years after being ordained a priest in Managua, bought some property from Julio Centeno, father of Nicaragua's attorney general, lawyer Julio Centeno Gómez, and poet Pablo Centeno Gómez.

On these lands, he founded the Christian -- almost monastic -- community of Solentiname under orders from his mentor and spiritual guide Thomas Merton when he was in the Trappist community, studying for the priesthood at the monastery of Gethsemane in Kentucky.

In this place, the poet wrote the famous book The Gospel in Solentiname, fruit of the community's reflections and where he takes up the ideas of liberation theology which attempts to respond to the situation of Christians in Latin America and which raises the question of how to be a Christian on an oppressed continent.

Cardenal brought these ideas to the peasants on the island. They were related to the preferential option for the poor, to how Christian salvation can't happen without economic, political, social and ideological liberation and the elimination of exploitation, the lack of opportunities and injustice of this world -- they would be his ideas that he would mix with the gospel.

The poet and priest also promoted poetry in the community and his workshops among the peasants, the development of handicrafts in balsa wood and primitivist painting are world famous today.


The Gospel

Out of his work as the community's guide would come The Gospel in Solentiname, of which Cardenal says in the second book that "it isn't surprising that the comments of the peasants are usually more profound than those of many theologians but simple as the Gospel itself. The Gospel or "Good News" (good news to the poor) was written for them, and by people like them."

The guests arrive at the country church with its tiled roof and earthen floor. It's a feast day in the town. The musicians have settled in -- Carlos with his accordeon, Luis with his guitar, Los de Palacagüina with their instruments and among revelry, they begin the ceremony with the entrance hymn:

Vos sos el Dios de los pobres
el Dios humano y sencillo
el Dios que suda en la calle
el Dios de rostro curtido
por eso es que te hablo yo
así como habla mi pueblo
porque sos el Dios obrero
el Cristo trabajador...


You are the God of the poor
the human and simple God
the God who sweats in the street
The God with a tanned face
This is why I speak to you
as my people speak
Because you are God the Worker,
the laboring Christ...

Here is Fernando Cardenal, the Jesuit priest who's the brother of the birthday boy. He takes the floor and talks about the importance of the date. "The Misa Campesina was born here and sung by Carlos 30 years ago, the hymn of the poor but later, the hymn of a people that struggled."

"It's also a symbol of change and of the God who is present in all of us, in the poor, the song of the oppressed that supports liberation theology and for which we have gathered 30 years later."

The introduction is brief and one can see emotion in the faces of the guests. The poet Ernesto presides at the Mass and he reads the first reading, in which the commitment to the poor is reiterated. Then Luz Marina Acosta, his assistant since July 1979, follows with another Biblical reading.

Acosta is the one responsible for staging the Misa Campesina again and gathering the priest's old friends on the day of his birth, January 20th, who sang the mañanitas to him at breakfast.

"This is a special and never to be repeated occasion, singing the Mass again where it was born and where the people know what the poet Cardenal has done," says Acosta, who has been the writer's right hand woman for 33 years.

The Mass ends after Communion and the songs that make it unique. The people embrace each other, while emotion seizes those who remember dreams and lives lost in the Revolution, amid the music: "No hay cosa más linda que mirar a un pueblo reunido... que lucha cuando quiere mejorar porque está decidido..." ["Nothing is more beautiful than to see a people gathered...who fight when they want to get ahead because they are determined..."]

Pbotos: 1) Ernesto Cardenal, assisted by his brother Fernando Cardenal, SJ, celebrate Mass. 2) Carlos and Luis Mejia Godoy, composers of the "Misa Campesina Nicaragüense". Note: If you click on the newspaper website link above for the original article in Spanish, there is also a wonderful video of the occasion.

"My God, where are you? You don't hear me on a remedy for Your poor": a tribute to Gustavo Gutiérrez

by José Ignacio González Faus (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Periodista Digital
1/15/2012

Without much ado I wish, in this tribute, to point out four features that could summarize the theological contribution of Gustavo Gutiérrez.

1. There is no salvation without working for liberation

The first feature is that he raised from the beginning the problem of the relationship between historical liberation and ultra-historical salvation.

A disfigured Christianity had reduced faith to hope in the afterlife, where what was nearmost in our history only served to earn or buy the ticket to what was beyond. Such Christianity clashed with Gustavo's main question: "How do you speak of a father God to someone who isn't even a man?", making the evangelization of the poor that is distinctive of the mission of Jesus (Mt 11:5; Lk 4:18) almost impossible. Moreover, it disfigured and devalued the Resurrection of Jesus whose teaching is that eschatological salvation must go on being gestated and anticipated in history now.

From this issue that Gustavo raised in his first A Theology of Liberation then flowed the theme so widespread in a Latin America ravaged by injustice: "Without insurrection there's no resurrection."

2. From "the power of the poor in history" to "the poor of Jesus Christ"

The first expression is the title of another of the early works of Gustavo. The finding of a historical force of the poor could be a fact of the situation of those times. But it is evident that the historical force vanished shortly after because of the reaction of the empire of the Money God. Gustavo then went on to speak of "the poor of Jesus Christ" in the title of his splendid work (perhaps the better one) on Bartolome de Las Casas. The theological strength of the poor compensated for their loss of historical power.

It highlighted another of the most crucial arguments of liberation theology: that the problem of the poor and the elimination of poverty is not merely an ethical problem; it is primarily a Christological issue and therefore also a theological issue on which we stake God's truth or idolatry. So later when, taking advantage of the fall of the East, the tricky question "what's left of liberation theology?" was raised, Bishop Casaldáliga could answer simply that the poor and the God of the poor are left. That is, everything is left.

On this point, perhaps Guaman Poma's influence on some of Gustavo's formulations will be studied someday. I suspect that the study would be worthwhile. I merely suggest a comparison between two "church" songs: a) the final hymn of the Salvadoran Mass says, “cuando el pobre crea en el pobre… construiremos la fraternidad” ("when the poor believe in the poor ... we will build fraternity") and "podremos cantar libertad" ("we will be able to sing freedom"), etc. b) However, another well-known song of the era ("Pequeñas aclaraciones" - "Small clarifications") starts from a similar presupposition ("cuando el pobre nada tiene y aún reparte, cuando un hombre pasa sed y agua nos da…" -- "when the poor person has nothing and still gives, when a man is thirsty and give us water..."), but doesn't deduce any historical forecast from this, rather a theological judgment -- it doesn't say that we will then build anything but “va Dios mismo en nuestro mismo caminar” ("God Himself goes along in our steps"). With this, again, the theology and praxis of liberation become a spiritual experience.

That is the theological strength of the poor. Since we have cited Las Casas, let's complete it by saying that the great Dominican is not only an example for his prophetic defense of the rights of the oppressed (and more so if they are oppressed in the name of God), but also for his concept of evangelism (that one really was "new") -- because "Christ only gave the apostles license and authority to preach the gospel to those who wanted to hear it, but not to force or inflict any discomfort or displeasure on those who didn't want to listen." And, in turn, "the Church has no more power on earth than what Christ had."

3. "Speaking of God from the suffering of the innocent"

This theological strength of the poor is displayed in the title of what is perhaps Gustavo's best-known work ["On Job: God-Talk and the Suffering of the Innocent"]. It is a brief commentary on the Book of Job, which evokes the splendid verse of César Vallejo (“Dios mío estoy llorando el ser que vivo” -- "My God, I cry for the being that I am"), a great Peruvian poet often quoted in this work. Gustavo highlights how any theology that seeks to talk and speculate about God apart from the pain of this world (especially unjust pain) becomes comparable in language to the friends of Job, "inopportune consolers" and irreproachable "orthodox" worshippers of a false god, whom they think they can defend at the expense of their friend's suffering.

But with this they do nothing but offend God, speaking falsely of Him and changing their alleged orthodoxy into blasphemy, even being disowned by God at the end of the book. On the other hand, Job, protesting the injustice committed against him, is a more truthful witness of God than all who "get used" to that injustice. That injustice will help him get out of himself and his grief at the tragedy of the unjust suffering in the world, to understand that there is nothing that justifies the unjust suffering of a human being.

I think such a serious warning has rarely been given delicately and in good words to all this merely academic theology that is trying to be revive itself among us due to the involution of the Church and that, under the guise of orthodoxy, is developing an idolatry or reflection on a false god. And it raises the most crucial of its questions for the Church: the identity of God, so often distorted by believers and the cause (according to Vatican II) of much of modern atheism.

Latin American theologians have often said that to know Jesus is to follow Jesus. And speaking of God implies "practicing God" in Gustavo's words. Job is brought to an experience of gratuity that leaves him baffled by his own pain, but moves him prophetically to work against all the world's pain. Theology and holiness (like justice and peace) kiss, according to Gustavo.

4. Faithfulness to the Church

Unfortunately, as one would expect, Gustavo was reviled and persecuted by an increasingly blind Roman Curia aimed at expressing confirmation of its blindness throughout the worldwide Church. He hasn't been the only one in our day or our past -- keeping to the Spanish speaking arena, do we have to evoke the saints and doctors of the Church, such as John of Avila, Teresa of Avila, Luis de Granada or Archbishop Carranza, some of whose works were placed on the Index of prohibited books and who endured difficulties with the Inquisition?

But what deserves to be highlighted here is Gustavo's fidelity and exemplary reaction, in the midst of absurd pain that he alone knew. I have evoked other times, such as in Madrid, at a conference on theology when, in response to capcious questions that sought to pose a choice between the Church and the poor, Gustavo refused to accept the dilemma and confessed that he loved this sinful church "with a love that dates before the war."

A good point of reference for many today who have shared his same crucified fate. And good history lesson on the fecundity of the crucified following of Jesus of Nazareth, that confirms what happened to Lagrange, Rahner, Congar, de Lubac ... and other theological martyrs of the pre-Vatican II era, vindicated later during the Council.

The ups and downs and twists and turns of this fidelity (which also required the cunning of serpents without losing the simplicity of doves) are not to be evoked here and are sufficiently known. Just a word of gratitude for the sons of Saint Dominic who saved this little gem for the Church and allowed Gustavo to become a brother of his beloved Bartolomé de Las Casas.

Monday, January 23, 2012

"Dom Fragoso": New film tells the story of a bishop devoted to Brazil's rural poor

by Ana Cecília Soares (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Diario do Nordeste
1/19/2012

The life of Dom Fragoso (1920-2006) has been made into a documentary through the eyes of Francis Vale.

A simple man, educated and with a big heart, these are some of the qualities for which Dom Antonio Batista de Fragoso (1920-2006) was known. The priest, who was bishop of the Diocese of Crateús (Ceará, Brazil) for 34 years, from 1964 to 1998, supported the principles of liberation theology and stood out for his pastoral work among the poorest and rural workers.

During the military dictatorship, he fought courageously against its atrocities, denouncing abroad the crimes committed against those who opposed the political regime and because of that, often being threatened with prison or branded by the military as "persona non grata."

Dom Fragoso gained international fame for his pioneering work in establishing a new syle of Church that served as a model in Latin America. He broke with the rigid hierarchical Catholic structure that differentiated between bishops and faithful. After he left the Diocese of Crateús in the late 1990s, he retired and went to live with his family in João Pessoa (PB).

The film

The journey of struggle, linked to the pastoral mission of Dom Fragoso has become a documentary, produced by filmmaker Francis Vale. The film was screened for the first time in November 2011 in Crateús. A second version, with subtitles in Spanish, English, Portuguese and Italian is due to come out in March of this year.

Francis Vale has long been interested in the story of this priest. According to the filmmaker, his family is from Crateús and when he was on vacation from law school he would go to visit his parents, saying he had contact with some people who lived closely with the cleric. "Dom Fragoso's devotion to popular causes was his greatest legacy. There weren't any rural unions; it was the priest who helped to create them. Today, we find rural workers' organizations in all the municipalities of Ceará, most of them well structured and productive," he says.

To Francis Vale, Dom Fragoso was a man who was bold for his time, developing an organized project of great humanitarian import. "He confronted the military dictatorship to defend his cause. In the documentary, Dom Hélder Câmara, then archbishop of Olinda and Recife, tells about how he acted in defense of the priest when he knew he was going to be arrested. I think that's why they backed off and Dom Fragoso wasn't jailed," says Francis.

The 71-minute long documentary, which bears the name of the priest, presents the struggle of Dom Fragoso, based on testimonies of people who worked with him, images of the Ceará interior, and his own recollections. The latter were filmed shortly before his death in August 2006.

Francis Vale explains that the goal of the documentary is to portray the example of Dom Fragoso. "Just from conversing with him, we had more than two hours worth of taped material. The film also features photos, documents, newspapers and pictures of him." As far as showing "Dom Fragroso", he notes that it's not going to circulate in the movie theatres. "The big cinemas are very closed. The film is being made into a DVD. The first version can be bought for R$ 20 from the Instituto Dom Fragoso - (88) 9679.7467 -in Crateús. The documentary is aimed at film clubs, communities, settlements, ultimately, wherever the people are," he concludes.



Trailer for "Dom Fragoso"






MORE INFORMATION:



José Comblin books online

For those who read Portuguese and are interested in the work of the late Brazilian theologian José Comblin, we're pleased to let you know that Kairós-Nós também Somos Igreja has made several of his out-of-print titles available in PDF on a file sharing site. They include:

Everything started in Greece. Will it all end in Greece?

Leonardo Boff's weekly columns are available in Spanish from Servicios Koinonia and in Portuguese on his blog. Some of his older columns are available in English at LeonardoBoff.com.

by Leonardo Boff (English translation by Rebel Girl)
1/20/2012

Our Western civilization, now globalized, has its historical origins in Greece in the 6th century BC. The world of myth and religion, which had been the organizing axis of society, collapsed. To bring order in that critical moment, one of the greatest intellectual creations of mankind took place over a span of just over 50 years. The era of critical reason emerged, which was expressed through philosophy, democracy, theater, poetry and aesthetics. Some paradigmatic figures were Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and the Sophists, who developed the architecture of knowledge underlying our paradigm of civilization, Pericles, a ruler on the front of democracy, Phidias, in elegant aesthetics, the great dramatists such as Sophocles, Euripides and Aeschylus, the Olympic Games and other cultural events not included here.

The new paradigm is characterized by the predominance of reason that leaves behind the perception of the whole, the sense of the unity of reality that characterized the so-called pre-Socratic thinkers, the bearers of original thought. At that moment, the famous dualisms emerge: world-God, man-nature, reason-sensitivity, theory-practice. Reason created metaphysics which, in Heidegger's understanding, makes everything an object and sets itself as a holder of power over that object. The human being stops feeling part of nature to stand against it and submit it to his will.

That paradigm reached its fullest expression a thousand years later, in the 16th century, with the founders of the modern paradigm, Descartes, Newton, Bacon and others. With them the mechanistic and dualistic world view was consecrated -- nature on the one hand, and the human being on the other, against and above it as its "master and owner" (Descartes), the crown of creation according to which everything exists. The ideal of unlimited progress was developed, which means the domination of nature, on the assumption that progress could go on infinitely into the future. In recent decades the greed of accumulation has transformed everything into a commodity to be traded and consumed. We have forgotten that the goods and services of nature are for everyone and can not be appropriated for some only.

After four centuries of this metaphysics, i.e. this way of being and seeing, being in effect, we are finding that nature has had to pay a high price for this model of growth/development. Now we are reaching the limits of its possibilities. The scientific-technical civilization has reached a point where it could cause its own end, deeply degrade nature, eliminate much of the life-system and eventually eradicate the human species. It would be the fulfillment of an eco-social Armageddon.
It all started in Greece millenia ago. And now it seems like everything will end in Greece, one of the first victims of the economic horror, whose bankers, to save their profits, have led an entire society to despair. It has come to Ireland, Portugal, Italy, and might extend to Spain and France, and perhaps to the entire world system.

We are witnessing the death throes of a millennial paradigm that is apparently coming to the end of its historical course. It might take dozens of years yet, like a dying man who resists, but the end is predictable. With its internal resources, it cannot reproduce itself. We have to find another kind of relationship with nature, another way to produce and consume, developing a general sense of dependence upon the community of life and collective responsibility for our common future. By not starting this conversion, we are sentencing ourselves to extinction. Either we transform or we will disappear.

I endorse the words of the economist and thinker Celso Furtado: "People of my generation have shown that it is within the scope of human ingenuity to lead humanity to suicide. I hope the new generation will show that it is also within the reach of the human being to open the access road to a world where compassion, happiness, beauty and solidarity prevail." As long as we shift the paradigm.