The third volume of The Nature of Order, while very good, didn’t have the same impact on me as the earlier volumes did. Having said that, this bit from the conclusion is giving me something to think about:
And in all this that I observe, when I talk to politicians, to townspeople, to developers, when I watch the reaction in the newspapers, when I observe the studied (and to me frightening) neutrality of the journalist preparing to write his story, the most frightening thing of all is the loss that people have of their own feeling.
They no longer know what is inside them, they no longer know what they do know. That is the birthright I refer to, that is the birthright which is being lost.
The birthright being lost is not only the beautiful Earth, the lovely buildings people made in ancient times, the possibility of beauty and living structure all around. The birthright I speak of is something far more terrible; it is the fact that people have become inured to ugliness, that they accept the ravages of developers without even knowing that anything is wrong. In short, it is their own minds they have lost, the core, that core of them, from which judgment can be made, the inner knowledge of what it is to be a person, the knowledge of right and wrong, of beautiful and ugliness, of life and deadness.
And since this inner voice is lost, stilled, muffled, there is no possibility—or hardly any possibility—that they can cry out, “Oh stop this ugliness, stop this deadness which floods like a tide over the land.” They cannot do that successfully, too often they cannot even cry out, or let the cry be heard, because the source of such a cry has almost been stilled in them.
(A Vision of a Living World, pp. 681–682)
This post has not been revised since publication.