Learning the language of transformation

PIONEERS OF CHANGE - EXPERIMENTS IN CREATING A HUMANE SOCIETY Jeremy Seabrook Publisher: New Society Publishers, Philadelphia Price: Not stated

 
By Sumanta Pal
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

THOUGH one dislikes pessimists who seem to have given up on our collective ability to put development onto a genuinely sustainable path, the fact remains they have enough evidence to demonstrate their case. The pace of destruction continues to outstrip our paltry efforts to limit the social and environmental impacts of modern industrialisation. In this context, a description of what some people have achieved has to be viewed in a more holistic perspective.

Pioneers of Change points to an unmistakable growth in awareness on the assumption that attitudinal changes are a pre-condition of changed behaviour. In its own interesting way, it illustrates the validity of this assumption by describing the work done by the pioneers. Remarkably supported by Jeremy Seabrook's compelling commentary, Pioneers of Change is truly inspiring for it not only gives us answers to our problems, but also encourages us to learn more of the pioneers' transformative language.

The book assumes two pre-conditions for radical social change: "Popular perceptions of the values and ideals of a social order must have ceased to be congruent with the language in which these are expressed; and, the outline of an alternative must be discernible through decaying structures".

Pioneers of Change is based on the lives of those who have won the Right Livelihood Award. "Right Livelihood is no after-eight social theory for politically correct progressiveness: it is hands on, feet on, head and heart on every step of the way," explains the book. And, considering the sheer magnitude of the pioneers' achievements, it is not surprising that the language of the book appears charged. To sum up, the book reveals commitment in every facet of human experience.

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