"Stages of Self Perfection" wood carving

Meredith Wooldridge Thring

"Stages of Self Perfection", wood carving symbolic of the ideas of G. I. Gurgjieff, by Professor M. W.Thring.

This model is a carving by Professor Thring entitled Stages of Self-Perfection. Professor Meredith Thring studied fuel technology and mechanical engineering for the greater part of his career, and was much influenced by the philosophical teachings of Gurdjieff. He became increasingly concerned with the capacity of individual engineers to contribute to the well-being of humanity. Through his hobby of wood carving, Thring expressed his belief that the work of the engineer can be placed on a 'moral spectrum'. At the top of this spectrum were those machines which could allow an individual to lead a life of creative self-fulfilment. Next came machines which provided an adequate standard of life to all people. Then came machines which though non-essential and harmless in themselves, might have harmful side effects. Lastly, at the very bottom, came machines of deliberate destruction. Thring developed an engineering equivalent of the medical Hippocratic oath, which ended, 'I vow to struggle through my work to minimise danger, noise, strain or invasion of privacy of the individual, pollution on earth, air and water, destruction of natural beauty, mineral resources and wild life.'

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Science Museum: Making the Modern World Gallery

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Environmental Science & Technology
Object Number:
M. Thring

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