Harmony: A New Way of Looking at our World
HRH The Prince of Wales
I suspect that Harmony was written, no doubt often silently in the Prince of Wales’s thoughts and notes to himself and others, over many years. For the last 30 years he has worked tirelessly for sustainable alternatives to the way we have “systematically severed ourselves from Nature and the importance to us, as to everything else on Earth, of her processes and cyclical economy.”
Having spoken out (“a particularly unrewarding occupation”) since the 1970s when he was in his 20s, from his intuitive sense of unease at what he saw as a dangerously short-sighted approach, Prince Charles points to a vast body of evidence for the consequences of our behaviour.
However, written with the help of his two leading advisors, Tony Juniper and Ian Skelly, Harmony also reveals an array of successful practical examples of how better to approach matters. These initiatives, relating to everything from farming to town-planning, are, he writes, “healthier, more beautiful, more human-centred and much more sustainable.” Such examples are laid before us in the extraordinary network of causes, initiatives and foundations that he himself has conceived of, nurtured, and brought to bear in almost every important field of endeavour.
The prince delves into history to explore what has caused us to think that we can abandon nature’s rhythmic patterns and escorts us around the globe to “great work being done,” from the UK and the United States to Australia and China in the hope that “in so many vivid ways it will become clear just what goes wrong if we abandon traditional knowledge and practices and turn away from how nature behaves.”
Reflecting his own journey, the prince unflinchingly points to the spiritual dimension of our existence, which he believes has been dangerously neglected during the modern era. He describes this as “the dimension, which is related to our intuitive feelings about things.”
Prince Charles lucidly contrasts this intuitive perception with the “mechanistic way of thinking and a linear kind of logic,” which has led to “monocultures of crops, of brands, and ideas… [that] crush diversity in our farming, in our culture – and in our business too.” Instead of having a small number of huge organisations that dominate many parts of our economic activity, he argues for a system that supports a large number of small actors.
“We cannot solve the problems of the 21st century with the world view of the 20th century,” he says in this intellectually rich and thoughtfully illustrated book, which exudes a deep and profound passion as he offers a blueprint for a more balanced, sustainable world.
Review by Simon Ranger, Positive News reader
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