Written By:

Three Broad Categories of Consideration in the Movement toward a More Life-Supporting Civilization

Here are three broad categories for consideration in the movement toward a more life-supporting civilization.

  1. Human Development

Essentially, this involves supporting the full flourishing of the individual, which includes growth that leads beyond fixation on accumulative and object-identified tendencies and cultivates the development of expanded inner awareness and authentic engagement with the world. Much more would need to be said here to give form to these words, but briefly, I see supporting individuals’ growth beyond habitual and unconscious egoic-survival-driven mentalities into a vaster notion of fulfillment and authentic purpose in the world as a crucial component in cultural development.

  1. Cultural Evolution

One pertinent component of cultural evolution is the evolution of our values systems toward greater alignment with a vaster and more realistic conception of individual fulfillment and of collective wealth and wellbeing. A cultural orientation toward broader, less simplistic, and more comprehensive conceptions of wealth, value, and purpose is necessary, as is cultivating the individual and collective capacity to more fully sense and integrate the consequences (such as ecological and social consequences) of our actions into our awareness—which I believe is often an underdeveloped individual and cultural capacity.

  1. Economic Systems Design

It’s very difficult to progress as a civilization when the incentives and systems that are in place are self-perpetuating and self-reinforcing, exerting strong forces that maintain the current system equilibrium. The design principles of our systems need to be updated and amended to enable us to align our economic and political activity with a flourishing and balanced human presence within broader ecological flourishing, rather than incentivizing the enclosure and commoditization of our various forms of capital (natural, social, cultural, etc.) and their conversion into consumer products based on an impoverished sense of human fulfillment and a short-sighted understanding of collective wealth and wellbeing. So much has and could be written about this. Very briefly, examining our systems of expanding credit, indicators of wellbeing, the failure to fully acknowledge the true value of non-market assets (including the wealth of the commons and various forms of unacknowledged capital), many instances of market failure, and our systems for making collective and social choices is necessary. In many ways, the problem is that while our systems appear complicated, they are in fact far too simplistic and incapable of incorporating the complexity of our real human and natural systems into their logic and the incentives they create. We need a new framework that is elegant in its principles yet complex and dynamic upon which to develop continually emerging and evolving parameters that can operate in a way more aligned with broad conceptions of human fulfillment, collective wealth, and ecological health. This also implicates methods of political consensus and action, which are in many ways inseparable from questions of economics within a holistic and comprehensive approach to the field.