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On letting go

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Massively disruptive climate change, now inevitable, is the worst tragedy which human beings have yet brought on themselves. It is tragic in the full classical sense – a disaster entailed on the protagonist (here, humanity) by destructive weaknesses inherent in crucial strengths and virtues. There is thus no way of avoiding it by picking and choosing among our values, and its effects can neither be compensated for nor mitigated by prospective gains to offset against anticipated losses. But once we have discarded a strained and wilful last-ditch optimism, and recognised that we are not in control, we will still need to find genuine hope if we are to have any chance of coming through. This requires us to embrace the transformative power of tragic experience, letting go of values which we may hitherto have regarded as sacrosanct and welcoming the creative destruction of current assumptions and expectations as an affirmation of life.
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Keywords: Climate change; enlightenment; hope; optimism; sustainability; tragedy; values

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 2017

More about this publication?
  • Global Discourse is an interdisciplinary, problem-oriented journal of applied contemporary thought operating at the intersection of politics, international relations, sociology and social policy. The Journal's scope is broad, encouraging interrogation of current affairs with regard to core questions of distributive justice, wellbeing, cultural diversity, autonomy, sovereignty, security and recognition. All issues are themed and aimed at addressing pressing issues as they emerge. Rejecting the notion that publication is the final stage in the research process, Global Discourse seeks to foster discussion and debate between often artificially isolated disciplines and paradigms, with responses to articles encouraged and conversations continued across issues.

    The Journal features a mix of full-length articles, each accompanied by one or more replies, policy papers commissioned by organizations and institutions and book review symposia, typically consisting of three reviews and a reply by the author(s). With an international advisory editorial board consisting of experienced, highly-cited academics, Global Discourse publishes themed issues on topics as they emerge. Authors are encouraged to explore the international dimensions and implications of their work.

    All research articles in this journal have undergone rigorous peer review, based on initial editor screening and double-blind peer review. All submissions must be in response to a specific call for papers.

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