Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex… It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.
Anyone who thinks consumption can expand forever on a finite planet is either insane or an economist.
We must do what we conceive to be the right thing, and not bother our heads or burden our souls with whether we are going to be successful. Because if we don’t do the right thing, we’ll be doing the wrong thing, and we will just be part of the disease, and not a part of the cure.
The system of nature, of which man is a part, tends to be self-balancing, self-adjusting, self-cleansing. Not so with technology.
Wisdom demands a new orientation of science and technology toward the organic, the gentle, the elegant and beautiful.
Development does not start with goods; it starts with people and their education, organization, and discipline. Without these three, all resources remain latent, untapped, potential.
An entirely new system of thought is needed, a system based on attention to people, and not primarily attention to goods. . . .
At present, there can be little doubt that the whole of mankind is in mortal danger, not because we are short of scientific and technological know-how, but because we tend to use it destructively, without wisdom. More education can help us only if produces more wisdom.
The real problems of our planet are not economic or technical, they are philosophical. The philosophy of unbridled materialism is being challenged by events.
I cannot predict the wind but I can have my sail ready.
There are three things healthy people most need to do – to be creatively productive, to render service, and to act in accordance with their moral impulses. In all three respects modern society frustrates most people most of the time.
The purpose of work is to give people a chance to utilize and develop their faculties; to enable them to overcome their ego-centeredness by joining others in a common task; and to bring for the goods and services needed for a becoming existence.
Even bigger machines, entailing even bigger concentrations of economic power and exerting ever greater violence against the environment, do not represent progress: they are a denial of wisdom. Wisdom demands a new orientation of science and technology towards the organic, the gentle, the nonviolent, the elegant and beautiful.
Man’s needs are infinite, and infinitude can be achieved only in the spiritual realm, never in the material.
Any intelligent fool can invent further complications, but it takes a genius to retain, or recapture, simplicity.
If greed were not the master of modern man, how could it be that the frenzy of economic activity does not abate as higher standards of living are attained, and that it is precisely the richest societies which pursue their economic advantage with the greatest ruthlessness?
An ounce of practice is generally worth more than a ton of theory.
Modern man talks of a battle with nature, forgetting that, if he won the battle, he would find himself on the losing side
The truly educated man is not a man who knows a bit of everything, not even the man who knows all the details of all subjects (if such a thing were possible): the “whole man” in fact, may have little detailed knowledge of facts and theories…but he will be truly in touch with the centre. He will not be in doubt about his basic convictions, about his view on the meaning and purpose of his life. He may not be able to explain these matters in words, but the conduct of his life will show a certain sureness of touch which stems from this inner clarity.
Is there enough to go around? What is enough? Who can tell us? Certainly not the economist who pursues economic growth as the highest of all values, and therefore has no concept of enough.
Work and leisure are complementary parts of the same living process and cannot be separated without destroying the joy of work and the bliss of leisure.
Infinite growth of material consumption in a finite world is an impossibility.
The richer a society, the more impossible it becomes to do worthwhile things without immediate pay-off.
Our ordinary mind always tries to persuade us that we are nothing but acorns and that our greatest happiness will be to become bigger, fatter, shinier acorns; but that is of interest only to pigs. Our faith gives us knowledge of something better: that we can become oak trees.
There is incredible generosity in the potentialities of Nature. We only have to discover how to utilize them.