An interesting article in The Guardian about John Ruskin (19C), which also sheds light upon our own time. Awareness of the fragility of civilization and the natural environment is not new, as is the rampant brutality of so many people who see in the world merely a jungle in which to survive on all costs.
"A central line of thinking for Ruskin, cutting across his art criticism and political writing, is that a society founded on structures that are embroiled in heartlessness – in brutal treatment of people and the environment around them – is indifferent to beauty. As we see the growth of vast inequalities today, such billionaire tech firms employing precarious workers with diminished rights and pervasive environmental ruin, it is not hard to see parallels in our current moment."
Ruskin had strong opinions about social justice:
“Whereas it has long been known and declared that the poor have no right to the property of the rich, I wish it also to be known and declared that the rich have no right to property of the poor.”
“There is no wealth but life. Life including all its powers of love, of joy, and of admiration. That country is richest which nourishes the greatest number of noble and happy human beings.”