chapter  5
Design and Spirituality creating material culture for a wisdom economy
Pages 18

In 1854, at the height of the British phase of the Industrial Revolution, Charles Dickens published Hard Times. Set in a mill town in the northwest of England, it was a damning critique of utilitarianism, empiricism and the metaphysic of materialism. He titled the fi rst chapter ‘The One Thing Needful’ – a quote from the New Testament that emphasizes the importance of the spiritual life.1 Traditionally regarded as ‘the best part’ of our humanity,2 Dickens clearly felt it was severely lacking in the developments of his time.