The name “emendatio” is Latin for “improvement” or “correction”. In old English law, it can also mean compensation for an injury. In our society, which is obsessed by growth of the economy, turnover, profit, income, membership, number of “friends”, “followers”, etc., it is important to realize what kind of growth we really need. It is usually not so much numerical growth as an end in itself, but growth in quality, in understanding, in compassion, in awareness.
Think about it. What does it mean that more money is circulating? This is simply inflation. What does it mean that a factory produces more goods? Often we are simply using up more natural resources. Large numbers of gadgets are not really required, but just a way to show off our “taste”. Precious components are not adequately recycled. What does it mean that helpdesks and websites can handle increasing numbers of questions and complaints? Is this not an indication that too many questions and complaints arise in our complex society in the first place? Much of this complexity stems not from technology itself, but from a lack of real cooperation and standardization. Too much competition is literally killing us, while paradoxically many good ideas are not given a chance because they would undermine the kind of competition allowed by the establishment.
My website is called “emendatio”, not because I have all the answers, but because I believe in improvement and correction, starting with small things, rather than always starting over with so called revolutionary ideas, and then repeating old mistakes. I believe improvement to be the only real growth. Therefore lessons from the past and sayings from sages matter to me. Rather than discarding them as old-fashioned and short-sighted, I believe they provide timeless insights into human nature and the human predicament. But they were not infallible or always mutually consistent, so we need to use a great deal of discernment and work to improve (or at least translate and re-apply) some of their conclusions and applications. This way we can avoid both religious fundamentalism and popular neo-liberal illusions about progress.
Improvement also means simplification, for many philosophies have become far too complex to be credible. May the Spirit of God guide us in these efforts. And finally I have chosen this name because I believe in progress. I believe that improvement is possible if we do not only seek it for ourselves, but for the whole human race and all life on earth. And sometimes a small disaster is the only thing that wakes us up to this reality. Let us hope not too many of these are necessary.
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