Beyond Modernity and Tradition: - A - Third Way for Development

Submitted by James Miller on Sun, 02/22/2009 - 13:30
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TitleBeyond Modernity and Tradition: - A - Third Way for Development
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsMathews, F.
JournalEthics and the Environment
Date Published2006
ISBN Number1085-6633
KeywordsModernity, Nature, Synergy, Taoism, Wu-wei

How we understand the world determines, to a large degree, how we treat it. How we treat our world constitutes our basic modality. Three basic modalities are here distinguished. The first is the modality of prematerialist or traditional, religion-based societies. This is a modality of importuning, the seeking of assistance from supernatural sources. The second is the modality of materialist or modern, secular societies. This is a modality of instrumentalism, involving mastery, control, and a will to remake the world in accordance with human ends. The third is the modality of prospective postmaterialist societies. These societies would be postreligious but not postspiritual. Their modality would be one of letting the world unfold according to its own nature, and, by extension, finding creative synergies between human and nonhuman conativities. This modality of synergy is explicated by reference to the Daoist notion of wu wei. (edited)