The cultural shift from sustainability to resilience

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Re: The cultural shift from sustainability to resilience

Post by Alphaville »

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Sun Apr 26, 2020 5:17 pm
It makes sense to say “I am resilient!”, but it doesn’t make sense to say “ I am sustainable.”
i think everyone who is alive is “sustained” in whatever form, but the term means “in the long run”

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Re: The cultural shift from sustainability to resilience

Post by mooretrees »

@Seppia, I've watched the first two episodes so I have something to report. First off, the production quality is high, which makes it easy on the eyes. It's primarily one man talking about each subject with a few images thrown in here and there. So far the video's are about 12 min long with a number of extra resources to look into provided at the end.

I forget the fellow's name, but he is obviously well versed in all things resilience/climate change etc. It has been very interesting to watch. I am not new to climate change, but I'm not deeply versed in it. I was worried that it would be all doom and gloom and it isn't. Not that he isn't saying that things are bad, just that it's stated in a factual tone without judgement. I've learned some new ideas and DH and I talked about what we watched for awhile after we finished. One reality is the switch from multiple sources (natural gas, coal, gasoline, etc) to renewable energy will require a very different type of usage that will affect every segment of society. If diesel/fuel are unavailable, then shipping and flying will become extremely expensive. Making concrete and steel require very high heat which might not be realistic with solar or wind. How will that change our lives? So, I am very interested in what the rest of this series will teach me.

@horsewoman, I've checked my library and they don't have either the book you recommended or the one Jacob did. Put in a request to purchase them from the library, so not sure how quickly that works. Might buy either in the near future.

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Re: The cultural shift from sustainability to resilience

Post by Seppia »


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Re: The cultural shift from sustainability to resilience

Post by mooretrees »

jacob wrote:
Sun Apr 26, 2020 10:39 am
I think this is really important. In that book, Being the Change you suggested, he takes a lot of time to discuss mindfulness as an antidote to the normal pattern of despair, grief and frankly the overwhelming nature of how to deal with climate change. I found that section profoundly useful as my default mode has been head in the sand for many years. Why? It's hard to say exactly. But, now having lived through the beginning of corona virus pandemic, I feel like I've had a crash course in the above mentioned 'freak out, blame the world' pattern you wrote about above. I agree, this is the default mode, but folks can still get past it. If that's the default mode, then we need to deal with it as part of the process. I don't have answers, but personally I'd prefer to get past this default mode following in the foot steps of someone like Peter Kalmus who accepts that this is normal. I feel like I might be coming off as argumentative, which is not what I'm trying to do! It's more recognizing that I'm that person you talked about, and for me, the temporary solution is a focus on mindfulness and accepting that process is something to get through. I've got the Deep Adaptation pdf to read at work today, so that should be interesting.

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Re: The cultural shift from sustainability to resilience

Post by Campitor »

This is a terrible foundation for dealing any kind of adversity, really. First freaking out about the situation and then proceeding to blame the world while expecting it to change back to make it all good again. Yet I'm convinced this is the default human response. This means that giving people simple steps to improve their situation doesn't actually work if they're too busy freaking out or demanding that "they" fix the problem.
This is a problem I don't know how to solve. Some people seem to be incapable of taking any action to improve their situation and find all types of excuses to take refuge in their inaction. It doesn't matter if we're talking about COVID, finances, job opportunities, etc. Maybe it's my immigrant mentality. Doing nothing is never an option unless it's really the best option which is very rare.


Re: The cultural shift from sustainability to resilience

Post by Jason »

Resilience is surviving prison. Sustainability is surviving freedom. Some are happy with merely being clothed, fed and assraped than deal with the judgment that accompanies freedom.

Too bad I'm incapable of heroism, otherwise I could have that engraved on my statue.

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Re: The cultural shift from sustainability to resilience

Post by Lemur »


Maybe it is learned helplessness. My hypothesis is that western societies breed this sort of thing. Meanwhile, like my spouse can attest too growing up in a third world country and also an immigrant, one has to become creative to make a living / survive when there is no standard job opportunities around. Doing nothing in western society - someone or something will pick you up or give you a backstop to some degree; even one with no ambition can still find a minimum wage job. Where my spouse came of age....that means you don't eat or you become a very heavy burden to your household and get shamed for not taking action.

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Re: The cultural shift from sustainability to resilience

Post by AxelHeyst »

Angela Duckworth's book "Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance" is relevant I think. Grit = personal-emotional resilience, to me.

Also this quote, from Warren Johnson's "Muddling Towards Frugality", has been on my mind a lot recently:
The tragic hero is the one we have tended to honor; the one who is willing to risk everything for a goal he knows to be right.... In contrast, the comic hero is usually relegated to the status of a buffoon—base and silly, although innocuous. His goal is simply to survive and to enjoy himself as best he can. He is unwilling to fight; instead, he tries to outwit his enemies and the authorities. His victories are small; survival and life are what are important to him; no cause could be worth dying for. The comic hero is friendly toward life and takes things as they are; life is an end in itself, rather than a struggle between right and wrong. Meeker suggests that perhaps it is time that we honor these virtues. He argues that it is the comic hero who will better insure our survival—the human animal adapting to the world as it is and enjoying what it has to offer, rather than trying to make it over into something that it is not and cannot be.
I've spent most of my life identifying as the tragic hero, and being pretty frustrated that the world seems to be doing its own thing no matter what I do. Kinda burnt out on it honestly, might give the comic hero shtick a go.

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Re: The cultural shift from sustainability to resilience

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

I totally grok the comic hero schtick , although I would use the term protagonist rather than hero. For instance, because I joined this group shortly before I decided to become polyamorous, I selected my partners in good part on basis of “will help me survive zombie apocalypse “ and it turns out that was a good plan which increased my resilience even though I just thought it was funny at the time.

Obviously, having an overstock of partners who might help you survive zombie apocalypse is just like having overstock of anything will increase resilience, whereas just in time, slim margin, efficiency will tend towards decreasing resilience. OTOH, maintaining any overstock towards resilience may not be sustainable in a system open to competition. This is why skills may be favored over material physical stocks, although skills could be conceived of as stocks stored within the boundaries of personal skin sac. Thus, the greatest level of resilience would be achieved through creating and maintaining overstock of personal skills.

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Re: The cultural shift from sustainability to resilience

Post by oldbeyond »

I think the practical ethics part (as in "how should we then live?") really is the key question. For this reason I've found much value (and solace) in JMG:s work, as he's basically moved on from collapse and is now more focused on the software side of things - how we work as individuals, in groups and as a species*. Perhaps most so in helping people find their place in a world that is changing fast and that might have a lot of discontinuities in store in for us in the coming decades. People seem to be prone to turn from BAU to near term human extinction really quickly, without any intermediate stages. I see this in a lot of issues where those critical of current arrangements are accused of wanting us all to give up and lay down to die, and this binary logic seems to work in swaying a lot of people who are on the fence to stick with the status quo. I think that might be because people see their life story being destroyed by these conscientious fact-peddlers, who might not always have more a more appropriate narrative sell (nor should they always be required to provide it, one can note that something is true without being able to integrate that truth into an overarching vision of life). And of course there are doomers out there, who like to wallow in the misery without using it as a springboard to go anywhere, and there are quite a few of them in any field. They of course help in selling the binary. But I think role models, both in practice and in conduct is what is needed to motivate people, and that’s what’s so valuable in people like @jacob, Mark Boyle, Shawn James, Richard Perkins etc, as they provide a way of life to aspire to, which brings meaning. To me, that seems much more impactful than scaring people** (which in my experience tends to get people worked up at first, before the tension becomes too much to bear and they find some distraction that numbs and helps them forget). We are adults in need of a quest, not children who need a boogeyman to scare us straight.

It’s funny that you should mention ”Grit” @AxelHeyst. I was listening to this lecture the other week where Wes Cecil was dissing the book and the general idea. I like the book and I think it has a lot to offer, but I also think Cecil was right in a way. It seems like at some point along the curve of affluence/security/welfare, one should switch paradigms and pursue higher levels in Maslow’s pyramid. In defense of the book and the ”hardworking immigrant”-attitude, I do not think that’s what we’re doing as a culture right now in the West, as people tend trade their opportunities for decadence rather than self-actualization. But there are certainly individuals who are doing so right now in our culture, and other cultures and eras where it was prevalent. And to be fair, ”grit” (or conscientiousness according to the OCEAN framework) can be a great tool in navigating the higher levels of the pyramid. You might have to overcome yourself to experience a deeper form of ”joy”. It’s perhaps more the ”hardworking immigrant”-attitude I’m getting at. In the right context it is very appropriate, and I feel great respect for such people. But it is a scarcity mindset, and some people seem stuck in it, still being motivated by ”survival” when they have a high-powered career and a net worth in the top decile. I can see this in some friends and acquaintances who do not have a foreign background, but come from working class (or underclass) backgrounds. They seem to be always chasing for more, not because it is a scorecard for them or brings them satisfaction, but because they don’t want to starve. That seems suboptimal.

*he has sort of joined the culture wars since 2016, where I find him less original and intellectually honest than in the rest of his writings, but he does still publish a lot of other stuff, too.

**of course if you have a way of life to offer, the scaring part might be effective in helping people notice your message. There is a wast difference between ”long is the way, and hard” and ”long is the way, and hard, that out of hell leads up to light” with some pointers towards the exit.

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