Sustainability is something we often read and hear about, especially lately. More to the point, many are concerned about, if not interested in acting to reduce and/or remove the factors that diminish the sustainability of a healthful environment. If you aren’t among the concerned many, then likely you are among the willfully blind or willfully ignorant.
This is not to say the willfully blind and willfully ignorant among us aren’t concerned about what is happening. It is just that their concern lies with sustaining things as they are. For the few in elite class of society it is about sustaining their wealth with an ever-increasing flow of material gain to their coffers—you know one could never have enough. For those in the pre-elite economic class they too want the system to be sustained: They don’t want the game to come to an end just yet: that is, until they can play out their chance to win and gain membership into the elite class. Holding a materialist mechanistic worldview, for both, it is likely these adherents to capitalism are committed, if not addicted, to sustaining a life structured and defined by material gain—even if the viability of their offspring is diminished as a result.
Viability of Humankind
Being viable is synonymous with having a high likelihood of continuing to live. That is, one’s end of life is not seen as imminent. Further, the desire to continue to exist would seem to be a universal for all living beings and so it is reasonable to conclude that we should all be in favor of sustaining our viability. But we also know that addiction can cause us to act contrary to our best interest.
Being human affords us the unique ability for self-awareness which carries with it a responsibility to act in harmony with our environment. You see, we are the only living beings who don’t rely largely on instinct as the guide in our every action. That is to say, we are the only living beings with an inherent need to learn—and to think critically—in order to get on in the world. In fact, as human beings we don’t merely react to reality we participate in creating reality. Thus, our viability depends upon our (continued) learning!
Seen in this light, the willfully blind and willfully ignorant diminish their viability, and that of those they teach, by the very unknowing way they chose to be-in-the-world. This is especially the case when such individuals hold positions of authority over others. It is also particularly evident in the business and political realms, since those in authority within both realms see their role as stewards of capitalism.
Economic System’s Intent
As argued previously, the system of capitalism is grounded in and springs forth from a materialist mechanistic worldview. Accordingly, it advances material self-interest as life’s goal which depends upon the domination and exploitation of people and Nature in pursuit of wealth accumulation without end. Inherently, it is a system that unavoidably opposes life! So too are the many institutions and organizations in society capturedby it.
As a system, capitalism’s intent is not to support the viability of humankind, but rather to accumulate material wealth, without constraints and without end. Accordingly, humankind is not served by capitalism, capitalism is served by humankind as it acts upon human society—it is a parasiteof society. It is a system of competition and exploitation that casts each person as a material self-interest seeking being. Essentially requiring every individual to structure life in pursuit of material gain for him/her self in service to the system’s intent. With everyone out for him or herself—with no guiding principle concerning one’s impact on others in his/her pursuit—there is no sense of the collective only an abstract aggregation of the many individuals’ gain.
Doing whatever is necessary to realize material growth this quarter and to repeat for each and every quarter thereafter places one on the treadmill—it’s a rat race—in pursuit of things of material (i.e. outer) value, without regard for human development. With unlimited (material) growth being the mantra of capitalist, their future horizon rarely extends beyond the next quarter. When material growth is everything, we are told by those in business that they value us as customers, that they are committed to our safety and satisfaction, that they care about us as employees, while at the same time their decision making is guided solely by profit maximization. We are mere objects for exploitation, so it is extremely rare to experience being treated as a fellow human being. After all, It is the business entity that must continue to be, not concrete living beings.
The world out there, whatever and whoever is on the other side of my skin, is not for me to use and abuse in service to my wants. We cannot continue to exist by exploiting Nature and each other for the sake of material growth without end.
Ecology of It All
There is no evidence in Nature—and Nature has been around as long as dirt—to suggest let alone support an unlimited growth theory. Look around where has it ever happened before? Never! Such an intent in life is contrary to life itself, yet far too many continue believing that structuring life according to the dictates of capitalism is inherent in the very nature of being human, that it’s part of our nature, it’s the natural way to-be-in-this-world.
We cannot sustain our viability as a species by structuring a way-of-being-in-the-world that is not in harmony with our human nature and Nature itself. No, as argued here, we aren’t simply competitive beings as capitalism requires us to be and so there is no other way. Unfortunately, the people in capitalist society, believing themselves to be intelligent competitive material self-interest seeking beings—as capitalism requires—have brought upon themselves an ecological disaster. Again, we don’t merely react to reality we participate in the creation of reality.
We need to be co-operative with each other and with Nature. All the world over, people form and live in society, in community with each other, so the evidence clearly points to a need to be-in-the-world in a co-operating harmonious way. This inherent need must manifest in a felt desire to be so. For this to happen we must discard capitalism—the system people before us created that is cause of our reality—before it destroys everything in its wake. To this end, we need to gain a fuller understanding of what it means to be a human being.
Our viability as a species and sustainability as a society rests upon us acting with a fuller understanding of our very nature as people: Nothing will change until there is this fundamental change in our understanding. With this understanding we can and will change how we think about and manage the business enterprise. Current management practice uses fear (as explained hereand here) in exercising control over people toward driving the organization, and everyone in it, in service to material growth. Devoid of care and concern for people and development of the person, management practice is not in harmony with our very nature and as such it sucks the very life out of people.
As concluded in the post Is that all there is, we can no longer continue enacting the false belief that Nature and (other) people—especially those not like us—are mere objects or resources to be exploited in service to our material self-interest. We, as people—not as another’s employee or customer but as a fellow human being—will have to cease being willfully blind and willfully ignorant to have any hope of sustaining our viability as a species.
The intent of the systems we create and the institutions and organizations we form must align with our nature and support our viability. It would be foolish, if not suicidal, to do otherwise.