The debate on the well-being of FG is often embroiled in logistical and epistemological controversy, especially when the brunt of the discussion focuses on the rights of people yet to be born. The fact that FG do not exist yet poses some intriguing questions:Do people now living have obligations towards those who are not yet living?
At first sight, such question might appear frivolous to many. But a deeper look into the matter will reveal that we are talking about the wellbeing of present generations and the projection of SD into the future of humankind.
In as much as we today feel the good and bad repercussions of the actions of previous generations, likewise our decisions and actions today will influence the well being of future generations. Nobody doubts today the value of tolerance and peaceful coexistence or the preservation of biodiversity and the environment. Such values should animate all our decisions and actions. However greater challenges await us in the field of genetic engineering. I'm sure you'll all aware of the benefits and dangers linked to genetics. Well this is one of the most urgent tasks of the Programme: bioethics.
Intergenerational Ethical Perspective. This year we are commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. Well human rights are not a prerogative of present generations; much less the wellbeing of individuals. Their aim is to secure a healthy life from one generation to the next. This collective aspect of human rights, which has remained somewhat underdeveloped, is crucial in addressing future generations issue. Past, present and future generations are a unity called humankind. Rather the rights if future generations are perceived as part of the collective rights of humankind over time and space and including both the present as well as unborn generations. Both present and future generations enjoy the same rights, since all existing and potential human persons are members of one collectivity, humankind, whose rights are common to all generations. In a just intergenerational community, past, present and future generations are considered as a moving image over space and time, each expression to a humanity common to them all.
Responsibility is the fruit of foresight. Short term planning backfires and leads to a build up of tension, fear and lack of hope. Technology promotes an instant culture that focuses on the here and now. Whereas foresight introduces the time horizon in our decisions and actions. No man is an island; no generation is an island. All life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality; whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. We are made to live together because of the interrelated structure of reality.
The French have the imaginative expression: Recouler pour mieux sauter.
Well that is how I understand foresight. It is not mere wishful thinking or daydreaming, but responsible action based on an evaluation of the past and a hopeful vision for the future.
The future belongs to those who give the next generation reason to hope. Well that is our mission in a nutshell. However if we were to spell it in detail, we would mention the four main aims of the Programme.
Up to here they are not really interested; but when I mention the fifth one - BE-IN-LOVE - they become alive and wake up from their slumber. And I am really happy to see a warm smile changing their facial expression after my boring lecture, because after all to BE REALLY IN LOVE with all of creation is what ultimately matters.
|© Future Generations Programme|