Freedom in a Rocking Boat: Changing Values in an Unstable Society (Pelican)

Vickers, Sir Geoffrey

The world I live in now differs from my childhood world as night from day. This difference blends most subtly gain with loss, as all who appreciate the night will know. As wartime blackout let the stars be seen again above the darkened streets, so the eclipse of our small certainties has revealed processes on an ampler scale of space and time. They are the processes of regulation on which order depends - not this order or that but any order which humans may aspire to impose on life, at any level from the planetary to the personal, in any aspect from the economic to the ethical. It is with these regulative processes that this book is concerned. I think I understand them better for seeing them against the background of that dazzling false dawn. It is high time to explore them, for they are manifestly breaking down - so much so that I cannot guess, as I write these words in April 1968, the levels or the aspects at which new disorder will have erupted before the book is published or even finished. Moreover we have today new ways of understanding these regulative processes which we urgently need to use and to spread. To be human now, in the last third of the twentieth century, is to share a common threat - not primarily the threat of nuclear war - and a common responsibility so great as to transcend the imperatives of our warring political ideologies and our obsolescent economic mythologies, and to need with corresponding urgency a common understanding of them. To this understanding I would make such contribution as I can.

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