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INTRODUCTION 9



vocabulary of thought. The methods and techniques of modern science, 

along with that entire mode of thought we call rational, objective, or sci- 

entific, reinforce the regime of separation even when we try to ameliorate 

it. The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. An exam- 

ple of this is the urge to “save the environment” or “conserve natural 


resources”, locutions that reaffirm an external environment, fundamen- 

tally separate from ourselves, upon which we are only conditionally de- 

pendent. This echoes the classical scientific cosmology which, though 

obsolete, still forms the basis of our intuitions: we are isolated, separate 

beings gazing out upon an objective universe of impersonal forces and 

generic masses.

Religion, too, is shown to be complicit in the despiritualization of the 

world that we associate with science. By retreating into an ever-shrinking 

non-material realm of the spirit, or by flagrantly denying elementary sci- 

entific observations, religion has effectively ceded the material world to 

the science of Newton and Descartes. With spirit separate from matter 

and God separate from Creation, we are left impotent and alone in 

Fritjof Capra’s “Newtonian World-machine”.

After language and measure have labeled and quantified the world, 

and science made it an object, the next step is to turn it into a commod- 

ity. Chapter Four describes the vast consequences of the conversion of 

all wealth—social, cultural, natural, and spiritual—into money. Phenom- 

ena as diverse as the dissolution of community, the weakening of friend- 

ship, the rise of intellectual property, the shortening of attention spans, 

the professionalization of music and art, and the destruction of the envi- 


ronment have a common source in our system of money and property. 

This system, in turn, arises from (and reinforces) our self-conception as 

discrete and separate beings in an objective universe of others. And this 

self-conception manifests as usury. To simply try to stop being so greedy 

will never be enough, because selfishness is built in at an impossibly deep 

level. This selfishness, however, is not “human nature”, but rather 

human nature denied, human nature contorted by our misconception of 

who we are.

The consequences of our fundamental misunderstanding of self and 

world, introduced in Chapter One, are portrayed in full flower in Chapter 

Five. Our opposition to nature and human nature, implicit in technol- 

ogy’s mission to improve them, can only result in a “world under con- 

trol.” Manifesting in every realm, from religion to law to education to 

medicine, we maintain the world under control only at an ever-greater











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