Thursday, March 12, 2009

Towards a new materialism!

We have been told, and I have said it myself, that this society is too materialistic. That the root cause of many of the problems is that we constantly want more "things" and that we don't care enough for nature our fellow humans or future generations. The antidote to this is supposedly a new spiritualism, perhaps inspired by earlier animistic or panteistic religions - God is everywhere, a proposal that also many Christians subscribe to, and which seems to fit well with e.g. Buddhism and Hinduism (perhaps Islam as well I just don't know enough about islam to know).

I think there is a certain point there, but that it is missing animportant perspective. We don't need more spirituality to balance materialism, we need a sound materialism.

What currently is called "materialism" is just "consumerism". It express itself by complete disrespect of "materials" and the mother of all "materials" - nature. I churns out millions of pretty useless objects per hour, most of which are soulless, have no history and no future. They are just there for a while before they become waste. It is "capitalism" in the sense that all resources have a price and that that price reflects the "value" of the resource. But all this averts our eyes for the materials themselves. Let us not throw out the baby, the feeling for the materials, with the bathwater, capitalism and consumerism.

Instead we need to release the "materials" and "nature" from our consumerism and capitalism and look upon them with different eyes. A real materialism would respect the materials, the quality, the inherent information: the millenia of history embedded i a piece of nature or the geological processes embedded in a piece of rock, or in that barrel of oil. A real materialism would represent the difference between good handicraft and crap from the indsutrial mills. A real materialism see to the tastes and smells of the food and value it for what it is. A real materialism would choose a wooden house or a stone house over a concrete block. Let us celebrate, birch wood, marble, iron, yes let us even celebrate oil as a wonder of nature and respect its real value. A real materialism would value the beauty of nature. A real materialism would not accept cruel treatment of animals or people, and not of nature at large. A real materialism would value things for their inherent quality, not for their market values. A real materialism would recognize the pricelessness of the world, rather than trying to allocate costs or values to everything. A real materialism would make us revel over the wonder of that little flower, that little grain of sand and oursleves.

What this means in practise? Hey, I have no idea, I am not in the business of selling a new brave world - at least not yet.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The wind and nuclear marriage - a coincidence?

I see quite a lot of wind mills here in Turkey. When I asked about it I am told that the new energy policies are promoting both wind energy and nuclear power. Does that sound familiar? For a Swede it surely does. Just less than a month ago the Swedish government launched a new policy which exactly had the same cute little marriage. Nuclear AND renewables. No more either or! I am not normally inclined towards consipracy theories, but when I hear the same story in countries like Turkey and Sweden, which current energy situation and mix are very different I get a bit freightened that somebody is behind pulling the strings? How is it in your country? Has the energy magicians suddenly also realised that nuclear and renewables is an invincible match?