Globalisation and technological progress have ushered us into a new era of development. Never before has the promise of the 'Good Life' in a hedonistic, consumerist utopia, been within reach for so many. Yet a significant portion of humanity is still unable to meet their basic needs. These trends are unsustainable, and beg the question: Where are we heading as a global community… and at what cost?
In 2005, M. Nadarajah embarked on a journey into the heart of Asia to research culturally imbedded notions of sustainable development. He met with the indigenous communities of the Henanga, Ainu, Lanna, Karen, Kankanaey, Balinese and several others. These cultures reside far from the problems of mainstream development, both physically and spiritually. Their lifestyles incorporate philosophies of interconnectedness; of the sacredness of nature; of the continuity of Past, Present and Future. Rather than offer notions of sustainable development, these life-affirming philosophies pave a pathway towards a deep sustainability.
On this path, we find answers to how we must change as a society in order for us to preserve our world for all future generations. But do we have the collective will to overcome our consumptive habits and start living responsibly? Living Pathways offers its readers a chance to meditate upon these questions. It provides meaningful directions towards the spiritual paths of sustainable communities we often take for granted. Above all, it shows the reader a picture of the world we live in as it could be, if only we choose to make it so.
List of Figures and Tables
The Search for Meaning: A Personal Journey
Ways of Reading the Book
An Issue of Concern for our Collective Reflection and Meditation
Some Features of the Asian ‘Cosmology of Sustainability
Antecedent Roots 1
Antecedent Roots 2
Bibliography and References
M. Nadarajah, or ‘Nat’, earned a Ph.D. in Sociology from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi, in 1993. His doctoral thesis was published in 1999 as Culture, Gender and Ecology: Beyond Workerism. Nat has spent his life working on the interconnected issues of communication, process development and management, culture, spirituality and sustainability. He has written several books on these issues: Another Malaysia is Possible and Other Essays: Writings on Culture and Politics for a Sustainable World (2004) and his co-edited book Urban Crisis: Culture and the Sustainability of Cities (2007) are noteworthy contributions. He is one of the pioneers of the Global Centre for the Study of Sustainable Futures and Spirituality (GCSSFS, www.gcssfs.org). In 2005, Nat became an Asian Public Intellectual (API) Fellow, sponsored by the Nippon Foundation. This allowed him to embark on a research ‘pilgrimage’ that inspired the meditations presented here in Living Pathways.