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In memoriam
Dr Jean-Philippe Cornélis

17.03.1943 - 19.07.2020

Obituary
In memoriam
Dr Jean-Philippe Cornélis
17.03.1943 - 19.07.2020
Full Member, The Club of Rome EU-Chapter


The Club of Rome EU-Chapter lost one of its most committed and active Full members. Unexpectedly. Therefore, even more distressing for us all.

Jean-Philippe was also a friend of mine. We used to share a bench when we were reading Latin and Greek at St. Lievenscollege in our home-town Ghent. Our paths parted after one year, but we met again in the seventies, both pioneering environmentalists. He promoted solar energy. Probably too early to be understood, followed and successful in his enterprise.

From a man of action Jean-Philippe also became a man of philosophical reflection about the most crucial problem of our times: can Man, trapped by the effects of the current technological and economic hyperactivity, pursue his destructive path? The myth of progress and growth unleashes Man’s limitless greed for consumption and production, regardless the impact on the environment. Another paradigm is needed.

In January 2003 he obtained a PhD in Anthropology of Science and Techniques at the University of Paris – Panthéon- Sorbonne with a thesis on Creativity, Imagination and Heuristics under the title “Homo Pontifex et Pontifex Oppositorum”. 

He further deepened his thesis in many lectures and discussion platforms. Many fellow members may remember the 83rdAurelio Peccei Lecture he delivered at the Royal Academy on 23 February 2012:“Heraclites and the Four-Fold Flow of Civilisation Serenity.”His basic message was that a broad inter-systemic and Heraclitan approach allows for better views on sustainability and long-term tools for the understanding and management of our common future. Analysing “the good government”, gives us outstanding lessons on the wisdom of our ancestors with reference to the questioned issues, giving us hints on how to deal with the eternal questions and dilemmas humanity is confronted with.

A humanist and responsible citizen, Jean-Philippe set up and inspired the civic forum “Creatopia” at the University of Louvain-la-Neuve.

We are grateful for his rich contribution. With his wife, children, and grandchildren we share the sorrow of his premature departing from life.

Mark Dubrulle

President emeritus, The Club of Rome EU-Chapter