Friday, 27 November 2009

Prince Charles on agri-culture

I caught, but did not properly listen to, some remarks made by Prince Charles at the BBC Radio 4 Food and Farming Awards ceremony. It took place, I think, on Thursday evening. Coverage was being broadcast on Radio 4 just after 9 am this morning. The BBC webpage for the awards is here.

What caught my attention was a distinction drawn by Prince Charles during his remarks between "agri-culture" and "agri-industry", commenting to the effect that the ethos surrounding the awards was that there was a culture associated with food and farming, and not just a question of production, perhaps on industrial scales.

This remark caught my attention because of its affinity to a thought of Romano Guardini, expressed in his collection of newspaper columns published as Letters from Lake Como. The danger of technology is that man becomes distanced from the reality of the world in which he is placed; he comes to live in a kind of artificial existence detached from the real, physical world around him. For Guardini, it is part of the original meaning of "culture" that man should live in harmony with his natural environment in a kind of obedience to its laws and patterns; yes, harnessing it to serve human needs, but no, not destroying its natural lawfulness.

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