Mutual Sustainable Behaviour

2006-12-15 13:38:40

Roel Stemmer

First article in an oncoming series which explore about our personal and mutual behaviour with respect to sustainability and the future of life and the necessary impact on education.


This is a first article in a series in which I take you with me on a journey of exploration about our personal and mutual behaviour with respect to sustainability and the future of life and the necessary impact on education. In this article I will lighten it a little bit and in the next articles I hope to write about things like our personal development, unity and dualism, deep humanity, personal continuing learning line, individual learning processes, implications for education and such. So how to handle with the three P’s with help of an integral vision is at stake, what I will summarize in the last article.

Of course your reactions are very welcome. My e-mail address is at this moment:

and will change in the near future in:

A first analysis

There are two important things that determines our behaviour:

  1. The inner structure which is in fact our personal structure.
  2. The outer structure which is in fact the systems in which we live.

Moreover we should consider that we make the outer structures. Both hang together with the feeling of safety, respectively existential and social safety; a safety that is influenced by luxury, wealth and positions in the society (power).

I will postulate that if we will survive we have to adapt the systems in which we live. After all there are three big threats:

To raise consciousness in order to learn sustainable acting and to adapt systems, education does have an overwhelming responsibility. At the same time the interesting fact is that education does not need it only for surviving but there is also a necessity so that more children, pupils, students will succeed in their educational career. Anyhow we know that emotional and social learning facilitate the cognitive learning process. And I will argue that not only the social and emotional development but also the spiritual development is necessary. As long as we neglect the whole person, nagging, absenteeism, burnouts and such should easily rise and affect the educational process negatively.

The Enlightenment has brought us many good things. Human kind made a step forwards in progression. With this there is a close connection to the way of life we are thinking and acting in the Western world. But now we have to make another step forwards by going back to our very roots, the roots of the Christian Occident. So I think there is a special assignment to Europe in order to come to a new Enlightenment. I do not intend to Christianise the world in the old fashioned way. No, my pleading is to consider again, who we are, what has happened in history and how we can make a new start (for instance how to repair our environmental mistakes) without neglecting our roots.

Connected to the way in which we are evolved I will trace that we have to grow towards unity of mind, what means that we all together should start thinking and acting from a same base; a base that gives on the one hand space to everyone and on the other hand direction to our common acting. It means a way of thinking as to perspectives.

However the opposite is much more found, namely dualism. It seems to be that we everywhere establish the dualism that is in our mind. This means that we create structures that do not mirror our relatedness to unity but the separation in fragments due to dualism. And as long as we do not see the contexts in and outside us to come to unity, we will argue and act from separation; separation of for instance good and evil, me and the other, here now on earth and hereafter etc. So this fragmentation is going on and finally solutions will be too much based on conservation of dualism.

There is one overwhelming system that takes care about the viewpoint of many people looking in the world around. That is our (western) economic system that is based on competition. The central word every politician is using in this context is economic growth. In the system this word is very smartly connected to jobs. And it is therefore credible for everyone that we should grow, despite the fact that a country has a very high level of so called prosperity and wealth.

So it sounds more logical in the distribution of this prosperity all around the world, that having already this to strive for more prosperity. Anyway the jobs in the rich world are constantly disappearing, so that all countries around the world get the chance to become richer than they are.

This is deeply spoken a fallacy. Why? Facing all growth of money finally the earth has to deliver products and there is a limit in the near future to burden the earth as an interdependent ecosystem. But there is more. The motor of the economy is the gap poor – rich. Will a rich country be competitive it has to produce cheaper. That’s only possible when the labour to produce is as competitive as possible with that in the poor countries. The labour productivity has to rise. That will say that economizing is necessary and only possible by diminishing the wages on the lower side of the wage building, by more producing and by cheaper producing. Therefore we also need the scientific technical economic complex. The consequence is a rat race to success in the western world with an increase of pace and burden on the one hand and growing poverty on the other hand. Despite generating jobs in low wages countries, there is more produced and more money generated in the rich world. That money goes to the rich people and the gap poor – rich in as well as the rich countries as in the world as a totality is growing broader and deeper. At the same time in the rich countries is in fact growing lesser pleasure in labour by economies of scale, burnouts, more expenditures like drop outs, diseases, dissatisfaction.

So we get more and more a world based on distrust. Will I keep my job? Will the others take my money back? I have anyhow earned it fairly! And fair will say that it is covered by the system in force. And because of the derived jurisprudence I am fair. In the mean time the streams of fugitives are growing and the social circumstances are getting more instable. As long as we are on the right side of this gap we conclude that there is no better system. We are involved in the power of the system and are not liberated to think in another way; to think in a way that our own position is at the same time in discussion, to think in an integral way.

How it is possible? We are loosing the connection with real life that will say we do not yet understand sufficiently that we are related people, related to each other, related to the earth, related to life. That’s logical. The free market is asking people with great purchasing power. A group within this context has nothing to do with each other. The group is only interested in the same product. That’s all. And the believers of the market are preaching that we then are free. The more purchasing power, the more products we have, the more we are free. So individuality seems to be encouraged in order to fit in this ‘free making system’ and so we have to compete.

However we pass over who we natural are, namely related persons. And related persons feel responsible for each other, for every life. Related persons want to take care. We are not autonomous people in the meaning of freestanding. The free market is based on the right of the strongest, while we are human beings with the feeling to do everything for the weakest, for those who have no voice: the poor people, the suppressed people and the earth. That’s the difference. As long as there are systems like this one, that toss the habit to be caring people, we loose who we naturally are. Caring and competition should be brought in balance, as well in persons as in systems.

In the near future we need integrated persons in order to realise integration of all items that in a totality form the integral contribution to the three p’s of people, planet and profit in the meaning of prosperity in a balanced way, so that there is really talk of sustainability.

Roel Stemmer, chairman Enviro-Net

December 14, 2006

‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands