A couple of weeks ago, I was struck by an article in my daily read: The Independent. It was a comment on the growing threat of climate change (The Independent have been ratcheting up their rather scary stories about the cataclysm that is to come in advance of the G2 summit-to good effect, I think)-‘nothing wrong there’ you say, ‘a good job too’. Well, I agree, but what struck me was the reason the writer gave for addressing changes in the climate: it was because dramatic weather changes would ultimately affect the ability of the big companies to make and maintain profit. There we have it, baldly put: we don’t want to address this terrible problem because of the South Sea islands that will be washed away; because of the villages in India that will suffer flash floods or because of the risk of adding to the millions of people throughout the world who already suffer from malnutrition, drought and appalling living standards. No, not even the thought that we may pass on to future generations a home planet denuded of fine and exotic animal species and an atmosphere filled with toxic waste, is as important as ensuring that the profit motive is maintained.
Throughout history, there are philosophical paradigms that hold the consciousness of the those who wield power in our world. On many occasions it was/is the desire to wield political overlordship over as much of the Earth’s surface as possible-sometimes for power’s sake alone. On other occasions, power was wielded by those who engaged the spiritual and religious hopes and fears of humanity. On very few occasions has the international will been held by a desire for peace, justice, equity and, dare I say it, love. Perhaps the only time we can truly say these motives surfaced was with the creation of the United Nations and it’s charitable arms such as UNICEF, or perhaps with the IMF. If you couple this chase for profit and self-interest with the burgeoning secularist and athiest agenda-which surely posits, if nothing else, the idea that there is actually no ultimate meaning of any eternal significance at all, and therefore ‘spiritual’ qualities such as love, hope and faith are the muffled garblings of those crazy people who believe in an imaginary friend-then we have a recipe, in my view, for a very bleak future for humanity.
Perhaps, the idea that the profit motive is the supreme motive and is what ‘makes the world go round’ is a battle that has already been lost. Will we compound this dreadful mistake by giving into the secularist and athiest agenda as well, which is chipping away at our souls? I recall the words of St Thomas More to Richard Rich: ‘Why, Richard, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world…but for Wales!’
Watch the deliberations of the G20 summit carefully, and let’s see for ourselves what motives and aspirations moltivate them.