May 2014 Archives

Still Assuming the Ostrich Position


hed in sand

The transition from abundance to scarcity in a commons requires a profound change of values. In abundance, personal interests and individualism are the keys to success and growth. In scarcity, the values necessary for survival are a paradox: It is in the best interests of each and every individual to put the interests of the whole society above his own; survival and stability are possible in no other way. Those who live in the common environment of the planet are now experiencing the transition from abundance to scarcity. The immediate challenge ahead is not physical limits to growth (which are nevertheless very real) but the challenges of a major transformation in human values.

Something I just wrote? No. I pulled this from a 1977 report, titled, “An Unfinished Agenda,” written by Gerald Barney under the auspices of the Rockefeller Brothers fund. The study was guided by a task force with representatives of most of the leading conservation and environmental organizations of the time. Even in 1977, this group was concerned with the lack of progress being made by the environmental movement. Many of the key environmental statutes had been passed by that time, but the state of the world was continuing to deteriorate. This paragraph, which I consider to be the key one out of the whole report, recognizes that trying to fix up the world was no longer a viable strategy. This was written long before the larger agenda of sustainability emerged. The Brundtland Report was published a decade later in 1987.

The critical idea is the transformation of the self. The self is the explanation we give when asked who we are or why did we act just that way. Implicit in the call for a change in values is just such a call. Our values will not and cannot shift unless we change our worldview at the level of self. Self is, fortunately, created in language, not as some inner homunculus or spirit/soul. It is exhibited and manifest through one’s actions and is identified as self by those who observe the actions over time. There are many aspects to self, each one associated with a distinct domain of actions: body, family, work, nature, spiritual, etc. Self is not something that drives, what many say is our innate nature, a insatiable, need-driven rationalizing machine. If that were true, the transformation of values such as expressed here or in my and others’ works would be impossible.

We do arrive in the world with a set of innate instincts and emotions given to us through our evolution into Homo sapiens, but they are only part of the story. The classic argument over whether our routine behavior is driven by nature (innate) or nurture (acquired) seems to be resolved these days by allowing for both. but with a strong dependence on one’s actual life experience.

I find the language of “values” confusing. Values, like “self” are represented only by the actions one takes; not by those espoused in conversation. Values are a surrogate for choices. Given the choice between two acts, one directed at my own inauthentic satisfaction and another by the satisfaction of something other than my inauthentic self, which do I routinely choose? People and organizations always have two levels of beliefs from which their values are derived, one operating at the subsurface level hidden from the action, and another available in conversations about the action. Ed Schein calls the first, espoused values, and the second, basic assumptions (beliefs) and values. Anthony Giddens refers to the same concept via the terms: practical consciousness (the hidden drivers) and discursive consciousness (how we talk about our actions). The two levels are often, but not always identical. I think that beliefs come before and are the drivers of actions from which values can be observed. These last few paragraphs have been a devious path to get me to where I can argue that the long quote at the beginning of this post was really talking about the need for a transformation in beliefs, not values.

Without a change in beliefs, our actions will continue to be driven by those implanted in the culture into which we were acculturated. We can promise to act on new values, but sooner or later we will revert to our old ways. That’s the problem dieters and addicts always face. The same goes for everybody who has, at one time or another, made resolutions to change some old, fixed behavior. The more fundamental the belief, that is the wider range of behaviors it controls, the more critical it becomes to change it.

In the case of modern human beings, the key belief is that we are those insatiable, needy creatures the economists, politicians, psychologists, sociologists, and basically everyone assumes. The extract refers to this indirectly in the second sentence. In what it calls a paradox, it argues that “It is in the best interests of each and every individual to put the interests of the whole society above his own; survival and stability are possible in no other way.” There is nothing paradoxical in this statement. They are speaking of a different self but one that continues to act out of “self”-interest. That is the only way we act. There is only one kind of human being: one that is driven by its belief structure. Different beliefs, different behavior. Different behavior: different self. The belief that we are insatiable needy creatures is strongly reinforced by all major societal institutions such that it is exceedingly difficult simply to say, as of now, I will operate from a new, very different, conflicting belief about who I am.

But as the extract says, it is imperative that we make that change. I have identified (among many others) that the key transformation is from need (wanting things for some inner “me,”) to “care” about the world we live in and must tend to if we and it are to continue to flourish. That we are still here after hundred of thousands of years, even millions if I include early hominids, is proof of the ability to flourish. Early human species lived by caring for the “other.” Agriculture is nothing but a form of caring for the Earth; the etymology going back to the latin for care attests to that. Our prehistory suggests that, if we have some set of innate connectedness to the world, it is related to care. Heidegger argues that modern humans are ontologically caring creatures, deriving our consciousness of self or of Being, through our having to care about the world we are thrust into at birth. We understand the world and all of the things (beings) it contains, including ourselves, through our experience of caring.

I have become convinced that the transformation Barney and his colleagues called for in 1977 is absolutely necessary and is even more urgently needed now than then. The avoidance of such a change has become even stronger with all the new technology we have acquired since then available to fix-up things. Finding the correct new values is problematic simply due to the nature of values, but finding the right beliefs is not. Values are fundamentally relative, but beliefs are absolute. Values follow beliefs, as a set set of normal or routine behaviors evolve over time.

We need to put care everywhere: in the center of the human (social) sciences and the institutions which are derived from the knowledge bases of these sciences; in the mission statement of every business; in the constitution of every government; in every how-to book written to help individuals cope with life; and so on. I find the opening paragraph convincing enough, but for those looking for more pressure, pick up a copy of Erich Fromm’s, To Have or To Be, and read it. Although I cover other subjects in my books, care is the most important, with a belief of the world as complex, coming in as a close second.

The Importance of Buttons



Can you imagine life without buttons? There are times when neither Velcro or zippers will hold your clothes together. But do you ever think about buttons except when you struggle to button one? You should reflect on them from time to time because they are an essential tool that enables everyone to care for themselves. As you all should know by now, care is at the center of my path to flourishing. We flourish when we have acted to care for all the essential domains that made us human. Our flourishing is helped along by the care we receive from others. The kind of care I speak about is not the affective psychological emotion or feeling about another being. It is part of our very existence as human beings as differentiated from other living creatures.

It is only action that counts; thinking or feeling is good but doesn’t count as care. Action takes thought to get going, but it also usually takes some sort of tool. To protect ourselves from the harshness of the environment (a caring act) we require clothing. Most cultures wear clothing that requires some sort of fastener to keep it attached to the body. When my wife put on a sari during a recent trip to India, the person who was helping her said she uses pins to keep if from slipping off even although, in theory, it can be merely folded and tucked into the belt. We need clothing and fasteners to care for our bodies, but this is not the same kind of need that psychologists and economists use in their models and theories.

This is a kind of existential need, something we must have to be able to care for ourselves. The tools (clothing, fasteners, etc.) are enablers. The same is true of food. It serves an existential need on caring for our bodies. If we do not have it, we cannot survive. In today’s fast moving and scattered world, we need some means of transportation to get to work, to the gym, to visit sick friend, and so on. Of course we could go on foot using the technology we were born with, but that clearly would not permit one to take care in most of the essential domains in today’s modern world. For many people, however, it is the only means of transportation they have. I won’t list these essential domains here, but you can find them in Sustainability by Design, and in this blog at this link.

The point I am getting at is there is a class of needs constituted by those goods and services that enable us to care. They are fundamental to our Being. They enable us to exhibit our essential humanness and to act out our authentic caring. They create the possibility of flourishing. They are very different from those things we merely want. These relate to our inauthentic mode, and follow from conformity to cultural norms. We could flourish without them and, given the damages that the consumption of goods satisfying our inauthentic selves creates to the world and our Being, we probable would come closer to that condition.

Our present economic accounting lumps everything bought and sold together and makes no distinction between those goods and services that are care enablers and everything else. Without that distinction, the economic system runs blindly, propelled by Smith’s invisible hand and the visible foot of policies that promote economic growth. The notion of “self-interest” works on the wrong self, the insatiable, inauthentic self driven by the forces of the market, rather than as an autonomous actor whose needs are authentic to its existential Being. Companies have a choice of which self they market to: the authentic, caring self or the needy, inauthentic self. They can deliberately produce goods and services to enable their customers to care and thereby raise the possibility of flourishing or produce and market goods and services feeding the cultural norms which in turn are created largely by the producers themselves.

I often rail against the efforts of firms that claim to be doing “sustainable business.” With but few exceptions, these firms haven’t stopped to think what flourishing is, and are working very hard to create more demand for their brands, while doing that with less environmental impact. I argue that this kind of activity can, at best, reduce unsustainability, but not create sustainability, which I have previously defined as the possibility of flourishing. What I have written in this post, albeit brief, is a way out for those firms that genuinely (more precisely, authentically) want to create flourishing. Let them begin to think about inventing, making, and marketing care-enabling goods and services. It would take a lot of work and change to do this, but it would be relatively straightforward.

They would have to fire the psychologists running the market research departments that set the agenda for the firm. They would need to change the criteria used to select the new products emerging from their R&D departments. The probably would need to switch their ad agency to one that buys into the notion that enabling care is the objective, not creating and feeding want-driven need (If any such agencies do exist.). For the capitalists that argue that any attack on growth and consumption is always a left-wing plot, there is nothing in this model that is different from the existing market model in terms of competition and profit as drivers.

Once people begin to pay attention to taking care, these businesses will begin to grow. New products will sprout up and others will begin to capture more of the economy, as people expand their caring actions. The growth fueled by the feeding of insatiability will slow down and may even stop, but without the catastrophic impact on a society that many argue would come if growth is neglected.

I am not enough of an economist to predict what would happen if the basic model of Homo economicus that drives neoclassic economics would be replaced by one driven by care, not need. but I see no barrier to trying it. Smith’s world was very different from ours. The economy he saw driven by the invisible hand was one that predominantly produced care-enabling goods. He wrote about the butcher, the baker, the brewer, and pin factories, all enablers. We have a pretty good idea of what it takes for someone to provide basic care for in a couple of domains, but have little understanding as to what is needed to enable care in other domains. Amartya Sen sees economics as enabling people to care although he uses the language of capabilities. Although his work was largely focused on developing and poor nations, there is no reason it cannot be applied to rich places like the US. We are rich in material wealth, but perhaps even more impoverished when it comes to taking care than the countries Sen points to.

Spreading Flourishing Around


FE Cover

Last week I spent a day in Cleveland with my colleagues on our spirituality in business project. Our collective thinking is being publishing very soon as Flourishing Enterprise: The New Spirit of Business. It has the same editor and publisher, Stanford University Press as my last book. It continues the effort to put the ideas in my books into play. The arguments here are closely tied to those in Flourishing.With this book, I seem to have found a magic formula for getting one’s ideas into print. I wrote the first one one, Sustainability by Design, my own. Then Andy Hoffman and I co-authored, Flourishing, and now I have joined eight co-authors for this latest work.

A flourishing enterprise is one in which the individuals are flourishing and, as a result, create a organizational system from which flourishing can emerge and flow out into the world. Our group meets under the auspices of the Fowler Center for Sustainable Value at the Weatherhead School of Management. One of the book’s premises is that spiritual practices induce a sense of connectedness that is critical to caring, which in turn creates the authentic human Being essential to flourishing. My role was largely in developing the core philosophy. Others on the team provided access to the way spirituality was being practiced in businesses and other organizations. One of the key features of the book is a number of chapters on these practices.

The Fowler Center has a motto and vision of business as “an agent of world benefit.” This carries it far from Milton Friedman’s notion that “The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits.” Where this does go is yet a work-in-progress. The neo-classical measure of well-being as material wealth remains at the center of business strategy. Employees are treated largely as commodities in a competitive labor market, Manager’s compensation is set to retain key personnel in such a competitive setting. As long as this is the case, it is difficult to locate the source of world benefit. One possibility is to direct part of the profits to alleviate poverty here in the US and abroad. I offer a couple of alternates in this post.

Manfred Max Neef, a Chilean economist whom I have often written about, argues that we have the wrong conception of poverty. We should be speaking of poverties as plural, as domains in which people lack the ability to flourish. His notions closely parallel those of Amartya Sen, the Nobelist Economist, who argues that the purpose of an economy should be to provide the capabilities for a flourishing existence. The kind of capabilities he considers are very close to the categories of the poverties of Max Neef. I speak similarly when I talk about care as central to flourishing, and break it down into a set of distinct practices. All three of us see flourishing as a condition that becomes possible when a person possesses the means to take care of the essential domains of human existence.

Sen is silent about the specifics of these categories, but both Max Neef and I are explicit. We include categories like subsistence, protection, education, participation, membership, authenticity or self expression, and others. Few, if any, of these categories can be satisfied without means of some sort. Direct relationships, without intermediating technology, work in many cases, but, in general, people need means provided by the market and from the institutional structures that constitute the society in which they live. They need these means to enable them to care. Care is not just a mental attitude, an intention. It entails actions that rests on such an attitude. When people live with the poverties of Max Neef or without the capabilities of Sen, they cannot flourish. Simply raising their income cannot provide the same benefits as explicitly enabling them to care.

So, here is an opportunity for business to become a real agent of world benefit. Build businesses around enabling people to care, not merely to satisfy their needs. A very simple idea, but harder to put into practice. Care is something fundamental to human existence and to flourishing. Need is socially constructed and serves those who provide the means to satisfy it. While I may use “satisfy” both in referring to need and to care, the two meanings are very different. Poverties are identified by an entirely different process than is “need.”

Some businesses already do enable care, but rarely advertise themselves as such. Care is never about a comparison with societal norms; it is only about how one is being-in-the-world. That surely depends on how the world offers possibility, but it is an individual function. The institution that calls itself business can move toward a flourishing world in several ways. It can transform its mission from (creating and) satisfying need to enabling people to care. It can focus its innovation power on identifying new means to exercise care. Much of the vaunted social media enable people to communicate very easily, to share their lives with others. Sharing one’s life is not a caring act, however, especially when done at a distance. Imagine a research project to develop a technology to build and exercise empathy, a capability necessary to care. Please “like” this or that, a primary feature of many of the social media, is fundamentally narcissistic, the opposite of caring.

There’s plenty of money to be made in offering “enabling” product and services. If the Fowler Center wants to see its vision come to be, maybe it should try to convince its home, The Weatherhead School of Management, to eliminate its present Marketing courses, and replace them and the research on which they are based with a grounding in Sen, Max Neef and even me.



A friend sent me this poem. I could never be so clear about what care is about.


by Lion Goodman


An ink-black crow yelled at me, saying,
Be responsible for everything: your life, and the lives of others.
The war in Iraq, and children dying of starvation.
Your neighbor’s happiness - and the Amazon rainforest.
Your body’s health, and the community of elders in Tajikistan.
The bacterial network in the soil, and the fungal mat beneath the roots of trees.
The farm workers being slowly poisoned by pesticides, and the wilderness being stripped of its wildness.
I complained loudly that I was not big enough to hold the whole world.
Do not stop there, he cawed.
You are also responsible for galaxies spinning on their axis, and the birth of stars.
Gravity, and the expansion of space.
All beliefs of every species, and the transformation of hydrogen from one form to another.
What then, I beseeched, does it mean to be responsible?
He looked at me from his perch on the branch outside my window,
first with one eye, then the other,
as if contemplating an answer simple enough for me to understand.
Care, he replied.
Care, Care, Care.

(Photo by Elizabeth Weintraub)

Why Should We Care for Nature?


unique nature

Alan Lightman wrote a short piece in the NYTimes, titled, our “Lonely Home in Nature,” in which he argues that “Nature” cares not a whit for us, so why should we care for it. Its actions are the result of natural phenomena, lacking any sense of intention unlike those of human beings. Our feelings toward and musings have absolutely no impact on what Mother Nature has in store for us. In our modern secular, disenchanted world, I think we take this pretty much for granted. Weber noted our coldness towards nature in his famous quote, “The fate of our times is characterized by rationalization and intellectualization and, above all, by the disenchantment of the world (Science as a Vocation, 1918).

Lightman is warning us not to be either sentimental nor romantic in our concerns for the state of nature. His concluded his short piece with, “Nature can survive far more than what we can do to it and is totally oblivious to whether homo sapiens lives or dies in the next hundred years. Our concern should be about protecting ourselves — because we have only ourselves to protect us.” That this should the primary motivation for doing something about our growing impact on nature and its forces sounds unassailable, but is it?

I just wrote a piece about caring that included caring for nature as one of the several categories of care that springs from our humanness. Human actions, unlike those of nature, are mostly intentional; we act out an intent to produce conditions in the world we envision as positive. The actions of nature are driven by a mindless set of complex relationships. Nature has rules about its action, but they are undecipherable by the usual means of normal science. We know what tends to cause weather events, but cannot predict them with precision in the way we can describe the arc of a space vehicle.

As Lightman notes, we are a part of the planetary system of Earth. A visitor from Mars would see humans merely as about 6 billion nodes in the overall set of earthly beings. I have not used the phrase “a part of nature” here purposefully. The globe’s system exists no matter what we choose to call it, but that’s not so with “nature.” Nature is socially constructed, that is, it has its meanings given by our interpretations of the global system. All the metaphors we use to describe it, like Mother Earth, are of human origin. In our unreflected actions, we forget this; we begin to interact with it out of the metaphors. We worship it. We write poems about its beauty. We feel inspired when we feel its presence untouched by human hands.

I think it really matters why we justify taking care of nature. Flourishing is a state of being beyond mere survival. Of course we cannot flourish if we do not survive biologically. One of the key domains of care is aesthetics; to be human is to care for beauty, integrity, wholeness. Nature, the human-free world, is a critical source for our aesthetic experience, and if we allow its richness to decay we are all the worse for it. Nature is a place to enrich our idleness/leisure—another key domain. For this reason alone we need to care for it. My point is that Lightman is writing out of a very narrow view of what it means to be human. To speak only of survival overlooks the set of relationships that sets humans apart from all other living species. Human existence requires meaning: meaning we create from the world, natural and human because it is not there to be found in our absence. I am dipping into philosophy here but if we do not learn to distinguish humans from all other beings, we become little more than other living creatures, a lot smarter, but with only a single motivation for living, survival. The philosopher, Walter Kaufmann, was about as clear about this as any other thinker.

The being that exists is man. Man alone exists. Rocks are, but they do not exist. Trees are, but they do not exist. Horses are, but they do not exist. Angels are, but they do not exist. God is, but does not exist.

Mull this over for a while and you will perhaps begin to understand why we need to take care of nature for the many gifts it provides us, not just life itself.

Care, Connection, and Consciousness



I met with a class of Dartmouth undergraduates this week to discuss my book, which had been assigned to them in their environmental studies course. As part of the assignment, the Professor asked each to formulate a question for me and say why that question was important. Most of the questions accepted the major premises of Flourishing, but criticized the book for its lack of pathways to get there. Point accepted. I think the direction for action is there but I have been reluctant to spell out out detailed “solutions.” Giving answers is counter to the basic arguments I make against the application of expertise coming from “experts.” Flourishing arises out of the complex planetary system when the interconnected human and natural nodes are interacting such that little or no unsustainable unintended consequences are being generated and the predominant character of each binary link is that of caring. The directionality of the arrow representing the action goes from the actor toward the target of his or her intentionality. How this is to be done must come from each actor, not from some theoretical solution coming from a technical expert.

Now having excused myself from the answers, I will offer some thoughts to help get individuals to grab the reins. I continue to hone the essential belief structure of a flourishing world: the beliefs that have the power to usher in a new social paradigm, one that both avoids producing significant, unintentional levels of unsustainability and also creates the possibility of flourishing. Two alternate beliefs must replace the ones that lie at the base of our modern cultural structure—the ones underlying our institutions and their norms. The first is to replace positive, reductionist science as the primary model for knowing how parts of a mechanical world works with a pragmatic approach to understanding the complex “real” world system in its holistic entirety. The second is to replace the predominant economistic model of human behavior based on need with one based on care as the essential driver for human being.

In both cases, little change will occur until some kind of tipping point is reached and new institutions spring up to replace the old. New paradigms build slowly until they become legitimated by a predominance of those holding authoritative power. They have to prove their mettle in solving the intractable problems that triggered an interest in change in the first place. Only then will those maintaining the old structures of belief and authority allow the new ideas to take hold. Scientific theories tend to persist for a while until new paradigmatic beliefs, like quantum mechanics, are bought by the establishment of scientific peers.

Cartesian reductionist science is so deeply embedded in the institutions that produce knowledge about the world and apply it to societal problems and technological innovation that the tipping point seems a long way off. Academic institutions are tightly structured around a reductionistic model of disciplines and sub-disciplines, each one with a privileged way of describing a small part of the world. Successful attempts at instilling inter- or trans-disciplinarity focused on understanding complexity are few and far between. The outcomes of inquiries following anything but doctrinaire scientific methodology are rarely considered as legitimate chunks of knowledge. The same privileged position of positive knowledge can be found in almost all forms of collective decision-making in both the public and private sectors.

The consequence of this embeddedness of rationality and positive science is that change to hold complexity as the dominant world system characteristic will come very slowly and will require collective action to happen. There is much that can and should be done here, but the more promising avenue for change lies in the other baseline belief, care. Care, as a feature of our species, shows up in individual actions and, as such, can be exhibited without the need for collective action. If care becomes dominant, our institutions will evolve to reflect this. The individual nature of care does not mean that it is easy: existing societal institutions pressure individuals to act primarily out of need. These institutions and their norms lead to inauthentic behavior. We act most of the time without thinking why; we are merely following the crowd. We do what “they” say is right.

Care is a sign of authentic human behavior. Authentic actions come from consciousness of our selves and represent who we really are. Care follows a realization that we are connected to whatever shows up in our consciousness of the world and that our well-being and integrity (wholeness) depends on how we include the other in our everyday life. The “other” here is anything or anybody that we become conscious of and direct our attention to. We are so habituated to act out of need, a focus on ourselves as needy, that a shift to authentic caring requires that we stop and reflect before acting until our habits change from satisfying need to taking care of the other. We have a dual identity when we care for ourselves. We are both the actor and the intended target, the other, at the same time.

Flourishing emerges when all those we are connected to, including ourselves, bask in an aura of satisfaction, a sense of momentary completeness, a consciousness that all the domains that require caring are complete. This aura has been described as “flow,” a feeling we are moving with the flow of existence, in tune with the world. Unlike complexity that takes institutional change to address, individuals can begin to care on their own. Everyone will find the way to fit their uniqueness, but a few general steps might help the process along.

The first is to develop a competence for reflection, the ability to notice where you are in the world, and guess why you are acting as you are. Reflection occurs out of the stream of action so you must learn to stop and create breakdowns (interruptions) in the normally transparent way we behave. Reflection allows you to replace a mindless action that springs from your embeddedness in the culture with something coming from you authentic self. Some view the process of breakdown and reflection as a means to explicate the story that underpins the way one acts. Only if you recognize the story that is driving you can you create a new story representing the who you want to be. It is always going to be a struggle, but you have enough existential freedom to adopt your own being to make it work.

The next important skill is that of empathy. Some cognitive scientists have argued that our brains include “mirror” neurons that allow us figuratively to read the mind of others so we can respond to their situation without explicitly inquiring, “How are you doing?” Although empathy is an emotion we all are born with, it has dwindled and withered in the individualistic, narcissistic culture we are immersed in. We currently have a kind of societal autism, but unlike developmentally impaired individuals, we can retrain ourselves more easily. We can discover other people’s inner state of completion by simply asking them, and act accordingly. Empathy requires that we suspend our judgment and act out of care for them, not from some other emotion like guilt or another culturally generic action. Empathy demands a strong sense of connection and a context that is full of clues. People should be wary when trying to act empathetically (caring) via all the social media that serve to connect people today. Adam Smith had it right about the invisible hand for a while, but lost it when he shifted from the notion that the fundamental human trait driving human behavior was empathy (care) to greed (need). Just imagine what the world might be like if we had constructed our political economies on that foundation.

For non-human others, the challenge is greater because we cannot ask them how they assess their immediate existence. We have to fall back on our understanding of what makes the world work as a complex, interconnected system. We cannot design and justify our actions on some sort of cost-benefit calculus. In this domain (non-human), individual caring and the collective process of understanding the complex world form a tightly intertwining mesh. We rely on our collective understanding to inform our actions. We must overcome the separateness that normal science creates by its methodology that places us outside of the world. In other places I have written and will continue to write about pragmatism as the proper collective means of acquiring understanding of complex systems and taking action towards them.

Caring depends on being conscious of and valuing connections. We must be deliberate about becoming competent in recognizing our interconnectedness routinely. If we do not, we will continue to act as if each of us were the only thing in the world that matters; believing that everything out there exists as means to satisfy our needs. We can move this process along by spiritual practices that open us to connections to both entities in the material world and in the mysterious, transcendent “world” that we sense, but differently from our normal sensual perceptions.

I believe that everything I have written here could be collapsed into a single thought, act out of love for the world. This means to accept that you are connected to everything and that all others, human and non-human, legitimately exist and have the same right to be cared for. Love for the complex world may appear to be a paradoxical idea. It appears selfish because there is an “I” at the center of action designed to produce individual flourishing, but unselfish because actions are aimed at the interconnected, outside world. In reality, this apparent paradox is a result of the nature of complexity. When all of the individual parts otf the system are working right (flourishing), other systemic qualities emerge. In this case, these would include sustainability, resilience, justice, trust, and others we have being seeking since antiquity.