Sustainability From Inside Out

August 26, 2020 Sustainability No Comments

Several worldwide crises are coming together at present. As a physician, I see these as the symptoms of an underlying illness. The best way to sustain the patient is from the inside out.

This is, in yet another nutshell, the core of the AURELIS project (see www.aurelis.org).

From inside out

As you may know, in AURELIS, this is meant as such: from inside the human being. Modern cognitive neuroscience is showing more and more what this entails. We have an immensely complex brain/mind. We are conscious of only part of it, mainly the conceptual part. Most of our vast inner landscape is nonconscious. The deeper one goes, the more this is ‘pattern-like,’ of neurons in the brain, of subconceptual elements in the mind. [see: “Your Mind-Brain, a Giant Pattern Recognizer“]

This and sustainability?

Indeed, the link is crucial to understand why the world is in crisis mode within several domains at once. The (deeply) human factor is vital in every human field. A crisis can be seen as a pending overflow of tension that starts building up long before the crisis. Sustainability can be seen as the longing to manage tension at a stage where it is easily manageable.

If one lets the patient become too sick, the illness is harder to cure, and the damage may be permanent. There may be a scar for life. Worse, the scar can get infected or become a cancer many years after the initial episode.

It’s better to prevent than to cure.

In one word: sustainability.

In this, the importance of the mind is frequently ignored. Yet the mind is everywhere. Of course, there is no sustainability without motivation for the same. [see: “Motivating towards Sustainability“]

Also, a lot of tension mounts because we mistreat the planet, as we mistreat ourselves. In the ‘developed’ world, many people are addicted to superficial products. This does not lead to profound satisfaction, through which the striving gets harder, the addiction stronger, without end unless in the depletion of resources.

Growth

Growth by itself is not an addiction. It’s simply life. Like everything in nature, we are inclined to continual growth. This natural growth is personal. The same principle also shows at the company level. The growth of any organization, if well supported, is a natural one [see: “The Growth Company – People, Planet, Profit“] and, as such, gets the green light from mother nature.

Yet if this striving for growth is not fueled from the inside out, one way or another, it may become an addiction. This is not sustainable. [see: “Sustainable Growth = Inner Growth“] If unfettered, another crisis is in the making.

In medicine

One example is medicine itself, as a whole. Costs are soaring while problems are getting bigger: chronic pain, burnout, depression. Not surprisingly, worsening problems are present mainly in the domain of the mind and psycho-somatics. Healthcare as we know it is rapidly becoming unsustainable in totality. [see: “Medically Unexplained Syndromes“]

In my view, a solution can only grow from the inside out, by taking into account the human being as a whole. One may think ‘AURELIS.’

A stark present-day example within healthcare is COVID. The mind is nowhere, yet it’s everywhere and should be taken into account in search of a way to get out of the huge mess. [see: “Only ‘Control’ + COVID-Whirlpool = DISASTER“]

In Artificial Intelligence

In many cases, A.I. techniques are enhancers of already existing issues. For instance, A.I. enables marketers to have an even more profound hold on prospects’ desires, but also their vulnerabilities. Addicted people may be made even more addicted (to buying superficial stuff).

On top of this, the A.I. of the future – call it super-A.I. – will pose existential problems that may ultimately converge into the sustainability problem par excellence, that of humanity as a species. How far are we from that? See my book The Journey Towards Compassionate A.I.

In general

If humans align with nature inside, they are also more apt to align with the natural environment. This also makes people feel at home in their surroundings. It doesn’t even need to be consciously felt. It shows as eudaimonia, inner peace, and happiness. Some tension doesn’t diminish this; it is also part of nature. As said, much tension leads to unsustainability and crisis.

This shows in every human-related issue. From the inside out, people are inclined to appreciate nice and beautiful architecture in which it’s a joy to live, work, and play. Simplicity is bound to be an essential element in this, not therefore necessarily ‘little,’ but ‘never too much.’ This is subjective from the inside out. It is human.

In tourism, food, entertainment, and so on, if people don’t align, they will never get enough. That may be good for easy, runaway production and consumption and lots of stress while demolishing nature. [see: “Stress in Production, Stress in Consumption“] In the end, nobody is happy.

Sustainability and happiness are two sides of the same coin.

It’s high time to get our act together.

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