FROM KNOWLEDGE TO UNDERSTANDING
(Manfred A. Max-Neef)
We are, thus far, successful beings, yet incomplete. And, most probably, it is that incompleteness which is responsible for the uneasiness and anxieties that permeate our existence in the world today. Perhaps the moment has arrived in which to rest and reflect. We have the opportunity now, to analyze with true honesty, the map of our navigation, with all its hazards and successes, with all its tragedies and glories. And then, it may be wise to unearth the alternative map of the route we navigated not, and see whether we can find in it orientations that can rescue us fromour existential confusion.
Perhaps it would make sense that we start seeing brothers and sisters surrounding us. Perhaps it would be good to believe in the possibilities of harmony between many possible truths. Perhaps itmay be to our advantage that we dare to imagine and believe that the earth has a soul and that everything is life. erhaps it would be good to realize that there is no reason whatsoever to banish intuition, spirituality and consciousness from the realm of science. Or, to put it in Goethe’s words: “If (we) would seek comfort in the whole, (we) must learn to discover the whole in the smallest part”, because “nothing is more consonant with Nature than that she puts into operation in the smallest detail that which she intends as a whole”.
Our passionate pursuit of knowledge has postponed our navigation towards understanding. There should be nothing to impede the undertaking of such a navigation now, were it not for an economics which, as practiced under the spell of he neoliberal discourse, increasingly distorts reality, thus contributing to our onfusion and to the falsification of knowledge itself.No sustainability (which obviously requires understanding) will or can beachieved without a profound language shift. A new language that opens the door f understanding; that is, not a language of power and domination, but a language hat may emerge from the depth of our self-discovery as an inseparable part of a hole that is the cradle of themiracle of life. If we manage to provoke such a shift, e may still experience the satisfaction of having brought about a new Century worthliving in.
Let us hope for a safe voyage and a fulfilling navigation towards the shores that may turn us into complete beings capable of understanding the completeness of life.