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Sustainable Development and Personal Unsustainability

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December 14, 2017 by John Crapper

Let’s take a Holy Shitters look at the word sustainable. More and more things in our modern world are fighting against doing things in a sustained fashion.  First let’s go to the dictionary to get a basis from which to begin.

sustain

1. To keep in existence; maintain.
2. To supply with necessities or nourishment; provide for.
3. To support from below; keep from falling or sinking; prop.
4. To support the spirits, vitality, or resolution of; encourage.
5. To bear up under; withstand: can’t sustain the blistering heat.
6. To experience or suffer: sustained a fatal injury.
7. To affirm the validity of: The judge has sustained the prosecutor’s objection.
8. To prove or corroborate; confirm.
9. To keep up (a joke or assumed role, for example) competently.

sustainable

1. Capable of being sustained.
2. Capable of being continued with minimal long-term effect on the environment: sustainable agriculture.

Sustainable developments are those which fulfill present and future needs (WECD, 1987) while [only] using and not harming renewable resources and unique human-environmental systems of a site: [air], water, land, energy, and human ecology and/or those of other [off-site] sustainable systems (Rosenbaum 1993 and Vieria 1993).

In our technological modern world news is fed to us in sound bites. We text message in cryptic abbreviated fashion using acronyms whenever possible. We tweet in 144 characters (recently changed to 280) or less.  We are conditioned to the 24 hour news cycle where top stories come before us as breaking news and disappear into oblivion the next day. To maintain any sustained focus on an issue is becoming harder and harder.

We crave sensationalism and the bizarre. We are continually fed the minute details of our celebrity’s lives. Our religions constantly reduce complication to simplicity and the one true way. We are fed lies with such 1984 regularity that they become truth. Oxymorons such as coal is clean, nuclear is safe and Exon and Shell Oil are green, permeate our consciousness. Environmental degradation is framed as sustainable development.

In this environment it is easy to be distracted and diverted. It is easy to be unsustainable. It is easy to believe a given action is a sustainable one, when in actual fact it is unsustainable. Sustainable development, when looked at in a wast-end ass-forward way, in many cases turns out to be very unsustainable. War is peace, ignorance is wisdom, environmentally destructive tourism is eco-tourism, unsustainable development becomes sustainable development. We create the vocabulary to sustain our distorted perception of ourselves using the tools of cognitive dissonance .

English: Diagram about motivation and cognitiv...

English: Diagram about motivation and cognitive dissonance. Based on Reeve, J. (2009). Understanding motivation and emotion (5th Ed). USA: John Wiley & Sons. Pages 275-277. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Leon Festinger‘s(1957) cognitive dissonance theory suggests that we have an inner drive to hold all our attitudes and beliefs in harmony and avoid disharmony (or dissonance). Cognitive dissonance refers to a situation involving conflicting attitudes, beliefs or behaviors. This produces a feeling of discomfort leading to an alteration in one of the attitudes, beliefs or behaviors to reduce the discomfort and restore balance. When dealing with the environment it causes each of us to justify our actions and go to great lengths to think of those actions in sustainable terms.

To have the ability to do things in a sustained fashion you must first begin with a correct perception of reality because distortions of reality will result in taking unsustainable actions. When we’re talking about man’s relationship to our environment there are two sides to this reality. One side is the environmental side and understanding the natural world we live in and what it takes to truly sustain that world. The other side of the equation is our understanding of ourselves and our place in that world.

A great deal of work and attention has been paid to the environmental side of this equation. Although there are many things we have yet to learn, we have a wealth of knowledge to draw from to guide us in determining what is sustainable and what is unsustainable.

Where we fall down miserably, I contend, is on the other end of this equation. When it comes to understanding and accepting our true nature we have a long way to go to reach a point where we can determine sustainability. On this side of the equation we are a long way from dealing with reality. This distortion of self creates a pervasive environmental cognitive dissonance that we have yet to even begin to deal with. Our view of ourselves and our true nature is very unsustainable.

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Trying to determine what constitutes our true nature is fraught with difficulty. Our perception blinders get in the way and our ability to utilize the tools of cognitive dissonance to view ourselves in the best light possible are unsurpassed.

As Poop John the First, I’ve contemplated this and have some thoughts as to what constitutes our nature. This is by no means a complete list and what I offer here is certainly up for discussion and debate. Like I stated, we have a long way to go in understanding and coming to terms with our true nature. I welcome your thoughts and ideas in this regard.

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Here are 10 things about our nature that hold true in my opinion. Please refer to the article Ten Thoughts on “Human Nature” for a more detailed discussion of each one.

1. Humans are violence loving and not peace loving.

2. Humans are pleasure seekers.

3. Humans are competitive.

4. Humans are self-preserving.

5. Humans inflate our importance and standing in the world in which we live.

6. Humans think we can control nature and bend it to our will.

7. Humans tend to deny their animal nature.

8. Each one of us innately believes we are unique and special.

9. Humans are tribal.

10. Humans are possessive.

As members of the Church of the Holy Shitters we strive to achieve a new consciousness by partaking in the Sacrament of Holy Shitting, trying to live a soft and fluffy consumer lifestyle, practicing ass-forward thinking by thinking about things from a waste-end perspective. To do this we must first do our best to start from a position of reality – reality about the world in which we live and reality about our place in that world. Knowingly starting from any other place will continue to result in unsustainable sustainability.

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Our climate is changing. I'm humorously serious about addressing it. I'm convinced my ego is the main culprit. My religion, Holy Shitters, demands I humble myself and celebrate the fact my shit stinks.
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