The philosophy of sustainable development
July 7th 2015
By engineer and progress philosopher J. Mekkes
Companies and organizations as well as consumers and citizens will have to evolve to the next level of civilization if they are serious in surviving the next crisis. This means every individual will have to evolve from Homo Economicus to a rational Homo Universalis. Here’s why a so-called Rational Ecolution is necessary.
With the collapse of communism and neoliberalism a new way out of the ever-repeating crises is needed. To avoid a huge misunderstanding: let’s first put things clear. Both communism and neoliberalism in their to this day taught and practiced forms have proved themselves to be wrong. They seem to be rather bad solutions for mankind. Both therefore turned into nothing more than dogmatic ideology. And though dogmatism is never successful in a modern society, for a society that wants to constantly choose the best, objective solutions, these specific ideologies may be able to provide the basis for a new vision. This time it will have to be a non-dogmatic, objective one.
We need to develop a vision that combines the best of both worlds into our world: ecosystem earth. This new, non-dogmatic vision needs to be rational in the first place. As in nature in our societies there also is only one successful way to adopt better to new circumstances: rationality. By merging two sets of strengths and letting go the inferior parts of both, a Rational Ecolution is the basis of future life itself. We will not only have to evolve onto the next level of civilization, it will also have to be a civilization that uses our ecosystem in a just and honest way.
So future organizations will look at rationality to decide which choices to make. The only way to be at the forefront of civilization of mankind is to say goodbye to irrational convictions. To get rational is to choose objective truth in every aspect of life: look at the bigger picture, have a view on all related problems and only choose rational, objective solutions. As Darwin teaches us, evolution is the survival of the fittest. Ecolution will be the survival of the most sustainable ones. People with feelings and social compassion on top can be sure of the fact that with a compass like that it’s only a question of being rational to get in a better state of mind, body and soul, by choosing objective truth in every major decision you make.
So what is social compassion about? Nature is important for social compassion because of the rationality involved. In nature there hardly ever is a compromise. She only chooses the best. The lion that is best in bringing home pray will survive. As we live in nature’s worldwide ecosystem, with us, social animals, the same thing happens. The evolution of our global civilization means we are always searching for and choosing the best solutions. Now we will only have to make sure we have a coherent vision on all subjects by abstracting them to a higher level. Let’s call it a cosmopolitan level. And we should involve social standards into this cosmopolitan level too, of course. And even a bit better than the other animals surrounding us nowadays. Therefore we for example have to let go of the wrong idea that it’s good to make compromises. Compromising in ecology is accepting delay, and nature lacks the time for this old fashioned way to solve problems with second best and subjective solutions.
Because there is a way out from the pretended clash of civilizations that according to some conservative fanatics is taking place everyday. Get real, choose for the better: sustainable innovation in every aspect of life; be it social, political, economical or environmental. It will lift separate civilizations onto the next, and international, level. That’s why we don’t need the Homo Economicus anymore in the sustainable future; we need a Homo Universalis that only chooses the best objective solutions, with social compassion for ecosystem earth and everyone in it.
Of course not everyone is a social animal and not every social animal does everything right. Now that’s why we need our Rational Ecolution. If you think deeper you’ll get more rational with your personal ecosystem and ecosystem earth. Because we won’t write off people that are, at the moment, less social for the ecosystem surrounding them. The less social ones will be helped to adjust to be part of the sustainable future. Because they need the ecosystem as much as the ecosystem needs them. Diversity is what makes the world turn, doesn’t it?
But do we really need the least social, or even the evil ones? The ones that hold on to irrational convictions, and thereby slow down progress? Yes we do, but they will have to make huge sacrifices to stay on board in a comfortable way in the ratrace to the next level of civilization. Sacrifices that will take a while, and thus a lot of our precious time if we don’t choose a shorter way for them. A faster way, in stead of the clash they are heading to with their irrational convictions.
Adjustment to the sustainable future for the least social people means that they will have to leave parts of themselves behind. Evil, as we all know, often not only goes together with asocial behavior. That is asocial behavior from the evil ones themselves and their surrounding system. Because nothing is more evil for humans than an evil system that, to make us join the system in doing wrong, holds us in its subjective choices till we strangle. Systems that also sometimes go together with a fanatical form of conservatism. And now we reached a big contradiction. The more fanatical a conservative is, the bigger the gap to real progress and the greater the rebellion against this progress will be. And other factors like poverty will encourage this rebellion even more.
But of course conservatism, in its moderate form, is a good thing. Everyone wants to keep good things and avoid chaos. Where conservatism goes wrong is when we try to conserve evil things. When one is fanatically holding on to subjective principles even poverty is a poor excuse. For it’s very unlikely irrational conservatism will succeed in preventing chaos by conserving subjective truth against progress. Of course there are radical conservatives that think that, in a way, chaos would prove them right, but that’s a rather negative approach.
The good news is: because of the never ending efforts of sustainable leaders to lift civilization onto a higher level, rationality extorts that Good will, in the end, always conquer Evil. Still, it might take too long if we don’t succeed in encouraging conservative fanatics to change faster. It will be the most difficult endeavor for even the best of us, because we humans often tend to make irrational compromises, to be more social; to be liked. In this case we should want less likes though to accelerate the shift to sustainable organizations and a sustainable society; in a sustainable world.
Conservative powers sometimes hold on too much to wrong models to make sure their power to conserve outdated subjective principles will remain in charge. As written above, we cannot afford to accept a delay like that because it’s not rational and because our ecosystem is in need too much. As this delay is a huge threat to mankind itself, we should be less patient and less social with that kind of evil.
So in a sustainable organization the best are trusted to make the important decisions. Not because they think they are better than others in what they do in the organization of individuals, but because they know they are the best (rational, progressive and sustainable) people; with vision and insight in the sustainable future and a social view on how a sustainable organization and society works best in all aspects, for all humans taking part in it.
People all over the world now mostly agree about the fact that some men and their choices could indeed be better than others. But this doesn’t mean it isn’t still a rather unspoken but widely shared subjective truth to deny differences in quality, differences in sustainability — and keep holding on to quantitative beliefs. Their disbelief in objective truth drags them into an irrational fear for quality of life and it makes them unable to judge real quality of life.
Therefore everything written above begins with one thing: the belief in objective truth. To paraphrase Bertrand Russell: ‘If we don’t believe in objective truth, the majority will be the arbiter as to what to believe.’ And let’s be honest; the majority is, and will stay for a while, the homo economicus. So we will not only need new humans, they also need to be new managers, new leaders, to help the Homo Economicus evolve to the next level. And as the disbelief in objective truth is not corresponding with nature or rationality itself, we can firmly believe that sustainable men and organizations of the future are part of ecosystem earth, to accelerate the change to a sustainable future. And try our best to act more and more as a rational Homo Universalis in every decision we make.
So let’s conclude this rather philosophic view on the need for a rational Homo Universalis in stead of a subjective Homo Economicus in the sustainable world of tomorrow. By summarizing some concrete solutions to make a start here and now with our Rational Ecolution.
Though democracy is the best way to get there, we will need some adjustments in our concept of real democracy first. Adjustments that are touched here and treated more extensively in other essays.
All the adjustments below apply to every person and every organization, including democratic institutions — and therefore to society itself.
- Clean (Rational and Sustainable)
Rationality asks us to: Choose our principles carefully, cherish them, but improve them too, when needed. No matter how difficult it may be to adjust to objective truth.
Sustainability asks us to: See ourselves as part of ecosystem earth.
The first person, organization or society that manages to be fully transparent in as well as it’s sustainable goals as well in its sustainable achievements will lead others — and will be successful. Be transparent about your investments and where they came from, about your total benefits, the amount of people you pay and the amount of payments each person achieves. Report on every aspect of sustainability; social, economical, political and environmental and report only the headlines, to avoid parametric adjustment discussions or figure-rhetorics. This way, sustainable investments and social, economical, political and environmental justice will come to surface and makes you the sustainable leader of the future.
- Focus on more than just money making
Focus on Quality of Life instead.
Think about yourself and your fellow citizens as humans in a part of ecosystem earth, civilized people that still have to be helped with the physical, psychological, political, social, economical and ecological boundaries of nature’s well being.
The mind wants to feel good in every aspect of its capacities when it is at work. There is a huge amount of organizations that installed big expensive programs to ‘make the sustainable transition’ but lack the vision, insight and sustainable energy to even make the simplest rational choices as, for example, food that is 100% organic, materials that are 100% bio based, waste that is 100% recycled and labor that is 100% social. Choices that are more healthy for themselves and their fellow workers, the citizens of ecosystem earth. And as we all know; health creates prosperity.
As our goal; a real sustainable world, is rational and naturally good, we should do our best to contribute to real, rational change. So try to be that rational Homo Universalis, stop focusing on money, focus on quality of life instead, make transparent and objective decisions and have some compassion with the ecosystem you’re in. In other words: join the Rational Ecolution.
© J. Mekkes