Tonight's café is all about the Environment.
Topic: Thrive to survive! Can we have it all?Is this statement compatible with environmental sustainability and a healthy economy?
Let's start with survival. The seemingly innocuous definition of survival means biological survival or genetic survival? No need to expand on this other than acknowledge the difference between the two.
Thriving, on the other hand, is a bit of a subjective target. It's a good time to bring in the conversation of Universal Basic Income (UBI) where the academic community is mixed on whether or not this is a good idea.
The concepts are going to be challenging.
Consider the nucleus of the argument; Thriving. The definition for thriving is up for discussion and clarification.
In the meantime, I want you to think of what you need to thrive, beyond your basic needs, the goal is for you to face every day with slight improvements over the day prior. Sometimes there are dips, but overall, like the stock market, the trend is positive.
Does everyone agree so far? Do you agree with the above statement? It's very stoic, isn't it? Duty bound and optimistically bullish on the economy of life is how I would summarize the picture that I just painted you. What would you add? I am fearful that I am being too vague. The following example will help.
Sammy is a hypothetical elderly person who is managing a degenerative disease, although fully functional in her community, she has scleroderma, lupus, has had repeatable heart events and has a list of allergies as long as both arms. She offers what she can when she can, for as long as she can. Is she thriving? Can she work towards personal, moral or philosophical improvement? Certainly, and to suggest the opposite would be only something she can testify to. In this case, we take that benchmark of basic needs, consider it subjective for now, but we have an agreement from Sammy that her basic needs are being met. Let's say that Sammy and all of society realize that the trajectory for Sammy is earthward or heavenly (depending on your spiritual considerations). Regardless of any imagined transcendental outcome, her physical body will die. At what point do we resign and, "let nature take its course"? The answer is palliative and hers to give. Again, a very subjective concept as, "taking its course", has implications in free will, determinism and consciousness. Personal identity will be the key to that conversation. For now, I want to remain focused on the qualification of progressive improvements.
Does it have the same mechanism as hope? Tethered to improvement we are wagering with the probabilities of improvements. As pattern recognizing primates, we calculate outcomes. I am working on a philosophical perspective in free-will where this forward moving contract with time is coupled with the phenomenological pattern recognition system that is our brain calculates best possible outcomes, millions of them per second. Our interpretation of this is what we call agency, free will is an illusion of an allusion. Alluding to a narrative, the stage is life and we are all in good company. The cliché saying that "the show must go on" is true. The final curtain call is the performance of a lifetime.
So what does this have to do with the Environment? We were defining the concept of thriving. Although I didn't fully define thriving, however, I did circumscribe the thinking that forme, contains the essence of the definition.
Now we can define our assumptions. The assumption for our next thought experiment is to imagine a world with everyone thriving. Utopian I will admit but it's just a thought experiment. Ok, so all people in this fictional world are thriving, and apparently not at the expense of others. What does this world look like? Is it compatible with sustainable environment ideology?
Upward social mobility tempers our understanding of fairness. A resignation to our function within society falls under the domain of free will. A certain percentage will gain upward momentum, some will remain "as is" while others will Fall. Fall is much more than the season we are in. BTW, I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving weekend with bellies full of turkey and visits from family. A bit of housekeeping pleasantry mid café, gratitude knows no bounds and there is always time to be appreciative.
So everyone is thriving. What does that look like for you? Let me run through the following prompts.
- Family & Friends - Travel - Health - Philosophy - Education
Which of these would be incompatible with a sustainable environment? Travel would have the most obvious and immediate impact on the environment so practicing moderation in this area would be pragmatic. Of course, if friends and/or family require travel to build and/or maintain relationships then this would fall under travel again. Assume that you can get appropriate health in your local community for the majority of what may ail you. Philosophy is something attainable for anyone, except maybe modal and first-order logic and the work of the early twentieth century logical empiricists like Popper, Waismann and Wittgenstein.
(on that note let's open it up to the floor and use what's behind on the blackboard as mnemonic triggers if anyone wants me to offer some further opinions please let me know but I don't want to monopolize the conversation, besides I want to hear from you all)
I see the internet as something that can give every human being access to basic levels of education as well as opportunities for advancement and improvement. This is foundational to philosophy, health and travel and should be the basis for our culture and interaction with family and friends. So if it all starts with education.