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An excerpt from Jonathan Schorsch's “A Call for Green Sabbaths” in Resurgence & Ecologist Magazine

The coronavirus pandemic has taught us once again, the hard way, how interconnected we all are and how interconnected are all aspects of our planetary existence. This also is the lesson of our worsening, intertwined environmental crises, the results of multidimensional human short- comings: technological, economic, political, cultural, psychological, emotional and spiritual. The all-too- successful Facebook motto, attributed to founder Mark Zuckerberg – “Move fast and break things” – merely crystallised and amplified the already existing systemic imperatives of capitalism. As an increasing number of people are realising, this system of corporate- captured polities, along with its seemingly opposite but actually similarly materialist extraction-oriented form of industrialism, the communist economies, represents the culmination of several centuries of western pathocracy (governments ruled by people with personality disorders – a term coined by Polish psychiatrist Andrew Łobaczewski).

The multidimensional nature of our environmental crises demands holistic responses. Multiple solutions are necessary: technological, political, economic, ethical, cultural and behavioural. Many in the environmental movement have come to understand that technocratic solutions, while necessary, are not sufficient. Prominent US environmentalist James Gustave Speth famously acknowledged: “I used to think that the top global environmental problems were bio- diversity loss, ecosystem collapse and climate change. I thought that with 30 years of good science we could address these problems. I was wrong. The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed and apathy, and to deal with these we need a spiritual and cultural transformation.”

Work makes an excellent example. The shutdowns forced on much of the world by the coronavirus pandemic have focused attention even more urgently on questions related to work: economic inequities, exploitation of workers, work’s meaningfulness, the quality of the work environment, and of course work’s ecological ramifications. Creative and radical technocratic analysis and solutions are being offered, for instance by researcher Philipp Frey, the Zentrum Emanzipatorische Technikforschung (Centre for Emancipatory Technology) and the Autonomy think tank. Noting the link between overly long working hours, worker burnout, overproduction and environ- mental harm, Frey and his colleagues have proposed work-free Fridays, Freeday for Future, modelled after the Fridays for Future environmental youth movement. Though attuned to cultural factors, either they were unaware of or chose not to reference an age-old, similar spiritual technology, the idea and practice of a weekly sabbath…

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