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To be human is to struggle towards fullness of life. Frei Betto.

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Presentation on theme: "To be human is to struggle towards fullness of life. Frei Betto."— Presentation transcript:


2 To be human is to struggle towards fullness of life. Frei Betto

3 Another world is possible.

4 The ninth edition of the World Social Forum was held between January 27 and February 10 2009 in the city of Belém in the state of Pará, Brazil.

5 There were approximately 100,000 participants from more than 160 countries.

6 There were representatives of social movements, religious and spiritual traditions, NGOs, solidary intellectuals, university students and world citizens.

7 A gathering of the varied struggles in favour of human dignity.

8 100,000 minds and hearts seeking pathways towards another possible world.

9 Another possible world which will fulfill the dreams of the Palestinian child and the Brazilian child.

10 Another possible world where the basic rights of the African child, the Peruvian child,...

11 ...and the Afghan child are respected.

12 Amongst the many activities taking place during the World Social Forum were talks given by theologian, professor and writer Leonardo Boff.

13 During one of the encounters on Dialogue with Youth Movements regarding the Environment he spoke specifically to young people.

14 University students, activists, dreamers, in search of another possible world.

15 The huge tent proved too small to shelter all those interested in hearing his words.

16 Words of wisdom and compassion.

17 Leonardo Boff started speaking about the financial crisis which is destroying the world.

18 US$15 trillion which evaporated in a few days, sweeping away enormous corporations, large banks and traditional factories.

19 Leaving behind, in the midst of cold statistics, mass dismissals, unemployment, hunger, despair and tears.

20 A crisis which did not devastate poorer regions, but the heart of the empire.

21 Leonardo Boff reminded us that by subtle tricks capital will try to renew itself.

22 Economists, transnational corporations and those in power will say that capitalism always has crises and that this is yet another cyclical crisis.

23 They will try to push more of the same on us, more consumption, more conflicts and more individualism.

24 However the present crisis is terminal. The challenge is not to remedy what cannot be remedied, but to seek new alternatives.

25 The present system, ruled by capital and by the laws of the voracious, hoarding, environmentally devastating market which creates inequality and has no sense of solidarity, attests to its own failure.

26 A system wherein every four minutes a person loses his or her sight due to lack of Vitamin A is declaring its own failure.

27 A system wherein every five seconds a child under five years of age dies of hunger and malnutrition confirms its own failure.

28 A system which created inhuman suffering and shocking inequality.

29 The present system which is sustained by oppressive individualism has proved itself unable to assure the well being of humanity.

30 An individualism which shows itself in everyday language: My job, my salary, my house, my car, my family…

31 A system wherein persons are not encouraged to build something together, where competition, accumulation and ostentation predominate in detriment of solidarity, charity and compassion.

32 A system where children learn early to use the verb to buy but do not know the meaning of to share.

33 A system which encourages irresponsible and uncontrolled consumerism, and which worships material goods.

34 A culture which spreads compulsion and consumerism, associating a product with a concept of happiness.

35 A system which does not know love, charity and compassion and which turns a blind eye and a deaf ear to the appeals of the excluded and the needy.

36 The opposite of love is not hate, its indifference.

37 A system which for decades alleges not to have enough resources for the promotion of education or health or for appeasing world hunger but which spends so much on wars, conflicts and the arms industry...

38 ...and is capable of moving three trillion dollars in a few hours to bail out banks, the car industry and brokerage firms.

39 How did we allow all this to happen? How much longer will we have to wait before we can regain our lost humanity?

40 A handful of flour and water to ward off hunger with a pinch of salt added on good days.

41 As well as the financial crisis, we also face the environmental crisis.

42 The lack of solidarity which rules our social relations. The lack of solidarity towards Nature.

43 The desire for economic growth, together with compulsive consumerism, resulted in an unprecedented destruction of Nature.

44 The present economic model failed towards humanity itself and towards the planet.

45 The well being of all and the preservation of Earth are sacrificed for the profit of a few.

46 Irresponsible consumerism has increased waste, the production of garbage and environmental problems.

47 And we pollute oceans and rivers…



50 Technical-scientific development, dissociated from ecological consciousness, has devastated natural resources on an unprecedented scale.

51 The rupture between labour and caring made the excessive eagerness for production turn into uncontained anxiety and the domination of the forces of nature.

52 The limits of capitalism are the Earths limits. We have already reached these limits, on Earth as well as in capitalism.

53 We can no longer continue with the perverse logic of capital based on accumulation and on waste.

54 Those who have nothing want, those who have something want more and those who have more say that it is never enough.

55 The logic of capital which so much encourages the superfluous, ostentation and waste...


57 Picture of discarded mobile phones, practically all in good condition. In the USA alone, 426,000 mobile phones are thrown out daily and exchanged for newer models.

58 Together with the phones, chargers, batteries and accessories are also thrown out...


60 The present patterns of extraction, production and consumption have proved to be unsustainable...

61 …beyond the capacity for restitution and regeneration on the planet.

62 Earth is showing definite signs that it cannot go on in this way.

63 There are signs such as a shortage of drinking water and global warming.

64 There are signs such as climate change which have already begun to worry growing numbers of the population around the planet.

65 The Earth is a small, old and limited planet which cannot withstand a project of unlimited exploitation.

66 The financial, climate, energy, food and all other crises remind us of the dominating paradigm.

67 We need a new paradigm for civilization because the present one has reached its end and has exhausted its possibilities.

68 Projections made by environmental researchers and scientists show that, if consumption were to continue at the present pace, we will require two planets Earth by 2050.

69 What world will we leave to future generations?


71 We must cultivate inter-generational solidarity with those who will come after us.

72 They too need to satisfy their needs and inhabit a planet which is minimally healthy.

73 We must seek new values. Feed new hope.

74 New pathways, and new paradigms...

75 We need a new inter-culturality dialogue between Western knowledge and the traditional ancient knowledge of the indigenous Cosmo vision.

76 The traditions of native peoples speak of the human being as gardener.

77 According to the teachings of such traditions, human beings should cultivate the Earth with care and a sense of justice and aesthetics.

78 To protect the vitality, the diversity and the beauty of the Earth is our sacred duty.

79 We must take a closer look at reality and adopt a new paradigm of relationship with all beings.

80 The universe took 15 billion years to produce the planet which we inhabit, this wonderful work which we, human beings, received as our heritage, to care for as gardeners and preserve as faithful guardians.

81 We are interdependent of each other; we coexist in the same cosmos and share nature together.

82 Only one mysterious and nameless Source nourishes, sustains and gives life to all that exists. The same Breath permeates all that exists.

83 Life is a miracle, as beautiful as it is short and must be tended like the loveliest of flowers.

84 As never before in history, our common destiny clamours in search of a new beginning.

85 We must promote an ecology of caring which protects the interests of the whole life community. We must co-exist with respect, cooperation and harmony with our neighbours on this small planet – animals, plants and human beings.

86 Inter-culturality, the meeting with other traditions and other cultures enriches our vision of the world and of life.

87 We must have eyes to see those who are different. Have ears to hear their voices, their melodies, their songs and their stories…

88 We share a common Home. We have a common origin and, for sure, the same common destiny.

89 The many flowers with their different colours and shapes. Superficial differences, for the earth which nurtures and sustains them is one.

90 The same Breath encourages them giving them meaning and a reason for living.

91 Todays challenge is to regain forgotten utopias and re-write our common dream.

92 One Breath, one Soul, one common Hope.

93 In the midst of the busy routine of modern life, to find time to reflect on metaphysical questions...

94 In the midst of the busy routine of modern life, to find time to reflect on metaphysical questions...

95 To have ears to hear the voice that speaks from within and calls us to practise goodness...

96 ...and under a starry sky asks us:

97 Who upholds those stars and is hidden behind them?

98 The voice that, on seeing a newborn baby, asks with respect and admiration:

99 Who produced this life?

100 Where in the eyes of a child does heaven begin and where does earth end?...


102 The above text is based on a talk given by Leonardo Boff during the World Social Forum in Belém do Pará, Brazil, in January 2009. For more information on this theme visit:

103 Musical theme: Unchained Melody, Righteous Brothers (instrumental version )

104 Formatting:

105 Another world is possible



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