After having covered the three institutional pillars of a sustainocracy (business, government and education) I now reach the individual citizens as fourth and main key to a sustainocratic society.
It is curious to have to deal with human beings in a different blogchapter than institutions. The latter are a human invention and only exist on paper. With an administrative number such institution starts living a life of its own using human beings to keep it going within a predefined mission. Institutions make products, sell services, proform scientific studies, educate, determine city layouts and regional landscaping, build houses, print money, extend loans, gather specific political interests, represent a certain belief, etc etc. So in reality institutions are human teams performing a specific task that has to do with human interests and activities. In a way they are all puzzle pieces that can be placed in certain ways to form a society of many teams of people interacting for a particular reason. Institutions keep enormous amounts of people occupied and give them something back. This is mostly a salary but also a challenge, status, a place to go, something to do, a something “to belong to”, a sense of security of different kinds. In most countries men and women can now be active in the institutions on a more or less equal basis, especially those that have developed around financial interest. Institutions around beliefs or politics are not necessarily based on equal rights.
We call this emancipation, the equality of rights to have a job for individual financial independence.
The institutionalized world has gradually occupied most of our daily lives and dominates our activities and choices. Emancipation may have ment that we can become economicly independent from other human beings but instead we have also become slaves of a system that has simplified our existance around money dependence. The purpose of this system determines the way institutions interact and how all the people find an occupation. The main institutional purpose is today blindly focus on yet another human invention: money.
The problem we face is that universal standardization of all objectives into financial means has taken our individual attention away from the real fullfilment of our basic requirements. We need financial means to gain access to our needs that are supplied by the system and we serve the system to get our financial means. We are unaware of what the system does to produce our needs and rely on it entirely. All this would be fine if there would not be a financial profitability aspect woven into the system. This makes the system speculative in its operation in order to produce maximum financial benefit for shareholders. There is no morality anymore in the processes because all attention is given to the flow of cash not the consequences of producing the flow. We have made money more important than ourselves. Poverty in the world of financial crises is explained to be “people who have no money”. In reality it are people who have nothing to eat or to live. We cannot eat money and do not live in a bank yet we organized our social dependencies that way. If poverty has food and a place to live they are not poor anymore. It has become of interest of the systen to deprive people from their needs just to get them committed to the financial system of dependency through work and debt. Dependency is control and control is power yet power is in crisis now because this system reached its limits of exploitation. Financial poverty cannot get back into the system even if it wanted to so it needs to become brilliant in finding alternatives to survive. Then people become aware and find new ways of building a complex society based on different values than just money.
A sustainocratic person has become aware of that and also that we keep this destructive “anti-ecosystem” going because of our own dependence on it for our daily needs. This awareness makes us conscious for change. To reduce our dependence we need to let go of it and become independent. That is extremely difficult. Self sufficiency is nearly impossible unless you live in the countryside. And even then you are only self sufficient for food and maybe energy but not for healthcare for instance. A sustainocratic person hence becomes aware that self sufficiency and sustainable progress can not be achieved individually. It needs to be done in cooperation, with expertise on how to deal with it productively.
When one becomes “aware” it becomes also a personal problem to remain inside the old system. It is like being trapped, made hostage in a way and deprived from all freedom while one sees how we destroy our habitat and social relationships. Letting go is a deed that can only be done if assured of some kind of new securities to sustain oneself and those who are close. Sustainocracy provides such security. It becomes a challenge to find people and circumstances to deal with it. To make things even more complicated one finds that the old system is so powerfully present in our lives that it wants to get back to us all the time. Many people suggest a conspiracy against humanity to use humankind for the benefit of a few. In fact we conspire against ourselves by creating and sustaining a powerful culture our of dependency and self interest.
When one is aware of different paradigms one can also find a transformative way between them that satisfies one’s own consciousness within a local practical reality. Finding a new balance of dependence and independence depends very much on the local possibilities that one can find.
I for instance live in a city where houses are built low and we all have a small garden. In theory it should be possible to get sustainable cooperation going for food and energy independence but human psychology interferes just as much as the old system. When surrounded by abundance of an obsolete but still very functional system why would you go to the trouble of producing your own? That would be hard work! It is difficult to see the need to make the effort also when hardly anyone does it.
Still there is a large undercurrent in society that is taking fragmented action. People become active in new mobility systems, grow their own crop, start doing this with solar panels and become conscious on the type of food they eat. Yet all this makes you a local hero but not yet sustainocratic.
You become sustainocratic when you step up your awareness to become “entrepreneur of your own life” in cooperation with other, on the way of creating a new local society. In your quest for self sufficiency you become active in platforms that give you back parts of your daily needs. You get organized in teams that produce direct local value. In fact you are institutionalizing bottom up a new society that focusses on local for local sustainable progress based on basic needs for health, vitality, safety and progression within the challenging posibilities of the local environment. This is time consuming and makes you step away from traditional employment but into a new kind of productivity and reciprocity. Within this personal transformation the art of letting go and accepting new responsibilities is delicate and often complicated. You may feel partly active in both worlds that each have different rules and manners.
When you do so you can also ask existing local institutions to reposition their powers to support you. A sustaincrat like me actively positions himself in the middle of a sustainocracy and invites old power institutions to look up their true value propositions that can be used in my own human based venture. It is a crazy thought for many people that a single individual can surround him or herself with “institutional monsters” of the old paradigm. But it is possible. Such monsters also consist of people who wish to do a purposeful activity and contribution. A hamer is meant to be used as a tool not as a killing instrument. Institutions are meant to produce benefits for humankind and if not they should be repositioned that way. As simple as that. It is democratic human working that makes this happen, as executive, civil servant, entrepreneur, student, medic, worker, parent, pensioner, etc. It becomes also a personal choice to contribute to one or the other purpose. In sustainocratic communities one can become individually active in various purpose driven communities. One is not confined to one job and income but active in various receiving reciprocal means in equal diversity. Money is not a goal anymore, it is one of the many means to an end. Human sustainable progress is the goal starting with local self sufficiency in as many basic needs as possble.
Sustainocracy is developing primarily around sustainocratic people, individuals and executives. Previously we were called cultural creatives due to specific awareness and willingness to adopt change in our lives. Now we connect this willingness to a new kind of commitment that develops outside the present dominance of financial systems. We may introduce new systems of value but they would be cyclic in a local environment. Sustainable progress is difficult for the early pioneers and so is sustainocracy that requires a multidisciplinary approach. As volume and support grows, voluntarily out of consciousness or involuntary due to crises and chaos, it will become easier.
The individual transformation and all the related choices one makes to set up a sustainocratic world also changes the attitude of the institutional world. They need to adapt or find ways to proceed without customers or workforce. In between there will be a challenging transformative time in which both systems coexist and transform in parallel. Think for instance of the foodsystem, now centralized through speculative means of production and distribution. It will grow to decentralized, direct access and with its own value system outside economics focussing on providing people with things to eat in exchange of their participation in the production process. Back to a life of agriculture? In a way, but adjusted to the situation today. Our relation with nature will change as we become aware of our environment. And in the long run we will balanse our lifestyle with climat changes rather than producing them.
A sustainocratic individual becomes a person that enjoys a higher personal awareness (self leadership) in a social system (self sufficiency) that produces sustainable human progress through purpose driven human interaction (cooperation), education and in close partnership with its local environment.
A systems perspective is essential to understanding sustainability. The system is envisioned in its broadest sense, from the individual farm, to the local ecosystem, and to communities affected by this farming system both locally and globally. An emphasis on the system allows a larger and more thorough view of the consequences of farming practices on both human communities and the environment. A systems approach gives us the tools to explore the interconnections between farming and other aspects of our environment.