Taken off Wikipedia: “Anthropocentrism, is a philosophical viewpoint where human beings are the central or most significant entities in the universe (or world)”
For many of us, the word ‘Anthropocentric’ is not a part of our everyday vocabulary. Yet the concept is central to how most of the society we live in works. It is also one of the core tenets, underpinning how the developed world defines Success and the Good Life!
In a modern society that has taken anthropocentricism to an extreme there is mostly little evidence of an alternate view the word is never needed! Virtually everywhere one looks in the workings of modern society that has taken anthropocentricism to an extreme, one will see Anthropocentricism at work. The capitalism system, the economic engine for modern society, functions on total anthropocentric view of the world. Our choices, decisions, prioritisations, and rewards, are almost always on the basis that ultimately Humans come first. The United Nations has an anthropocentric mission and purpose, and by putting Human development ahead Nature’s restraints, has contribute significantly to our current 1.6 Earths position.
Many religions also follow a pseudo anthropocentric belief system: Some form of deity at a higher level being the creator and carer of all things, which are then primarily for human use and benefit, within the rules of the higher being’s prescription.
In the extreme application of the concept, humans become the ultimate raison d’etre of the planet and all else that lives on it. The industrial age, mechanisation, and subsequent human society sophistication, has taken this anthropocentricism to the level of selfish exploitation that has virtually subjugated many other living organisms to sacrificial lives void of any other purpose than to serve mankind’s self-centred, utilitarian need.
Depending on one’s beliefs, an anthropocentric orientation could be seen at the one end of the continuum as being our human right and responsibility as ‘the owner’ of the Earth, or at the other end of the scale arrogance, to the point of almost be narcissistic, a Traitor to Nature and / or Exploiter of the Earth.
What is a fact though is that modern society is centred on an anthropocentric view of Nature, the planet and how we humans fit in to the mix. It is this orientation that will increasingly come under question as the One Point Zero goal gets further and further out of reach. In fact as pointed out elsewhere on this site, Anthropocentricism could be the single reason why we are faced with the challenge we have.
Changing this deeply entrenched orientation requires another belief system. Is to serve the same Success? Anthropocentricism is so central to modern society’s Definition of Success, that it would only seem that this is possible by changing this Success. This will be challenging the very purpose of Society, and will require a process that facilitates the anthropocentric human being moving to this new orientation, without a loss of their current human Significance, Power or Self Importance. This is significant challenge, which is explored elsewhere on this site.