Dr. Saleem Hassan Ali Explores "Earthly Order" and Its Significance for Planetary Sustainability in BNU Talks
Dr. Saleem Hassan Ali, a distinguished professor specializing in energy and the environment at the University of Delaware, delivered an enthralling lecture as part of Beaconhouse National University's (BNU) 20th Anniversary celebrations. This session, featured as part of BNU Talks, BNU's Distinguished Lecture Series, showcased Dr. Ali's profound insights into the concept of "Order" as explored in his book, "Earthly Order: How Natural Laws Define Human Life."
Dr. Saleem Ali began by tracing the origins of the term "Order" to the Greek word "Cosmos," which
embodies the notion of "natural order." He emphasized the critical importance of understanding the
functionality of order to achieve sustainable outcomes on our planet.
Drawing from the example of a library, Dr. Ali illustrated how different ordering methods, such as
organizing books by an author's name or by topic, serve distinct purposes. This highlighted the close
relationship between functionality and purpose, emphasizing that "order" is not a one-size-fits-all
Dr. Ali delved into the intricacies of order, distinguishing between ordered and disordered systems.
The lecture also explored the idea of "Earthly Order," a concept encompassing both discovered and
invented order, and underscored the importance of integrating political notions of "world order"
with the natural constraints of "Earthly Order" to address contemporary challenges in human
Key take-home messages included the idea that patterns can raise critical questions but may not
always provide immediate answers. Dr. Ali also emphasized the distinction between "natural order,"
considered ultimate, and "humanistic order," which is proximate. He highlighted that transitions in
and out of order are not always reversible, and tipping points can lead to accelerated order and
The lecture featured a compelling comparison between Pakistan's excellently planned city,
Islamabad, influenced by the principles of Doxiadis and Ekistics, and cities like Brasilia, which, despite
their unique designs, might lack functionality.
In summary, Dr. Saleem Hassan Ali's lecture highlighted the pressing need to connect political ideas
of "world order" with the natural constraints of "Earthly Order," as explored in his book, "Earthly
Order: How Natural Laws Define Human Life," to address contemporary challenges in human
The Distinguished Lectures Series at BNU continues to provide a platform for thought leaders and
experts to tackle critical issues and inspire meaningful change. Dr. Saleem Ali generously pledged to
donate all royalties from his book to support environmental literacy programs in developing
countries, further underlining his commitment to a more sustainable future.