I have changed the title of this website as you can see. The url remains the same. *Flourishing By Design* is the theme of the story I am now telling. Although I have been correcting myself for quite a while, “sustainability” remains present in my past work. Going forward, I intend to stick with flourishing as the goal. As I have written, without a clear vision of the future we want, the concept and implementation of sustainability tend to keep the status quo in place. Ironically, the very use of sustainability arose because powerful, concerned people grew wary of the status quo and sought to change it by applying new strategies, for example eco-efficiency and corporate social responsibility.. For a variety of reasons, this broad approach has done and can do little to change the global trajectory.
Outcomes are shaped by the language we use to coordinate actions. New words are coined when current usage cannot describe some situation that evoked action. In this case, new words are unnecessary; we already have enough good ones, but ail to use them. Flourishing does a much better job is providing an image of the future we want than does “progress,” our current operative word ever since Enlightenment thinkers gave it to us. Having a clear vision conveyed by flourishing, allows us to track our actions more effectively than does the process sense of progress, which lacks clarity about the end state.
Sustainability will hang around in my past work because it is impractical to go back and expunge each and every use of it. But there is no excuse for its continuance as the governing idea in efforts to deal with the social and environmental problems that have caught our attention. The use of meaningless or confusing language renders our actions ineffective. Savvy always, Confucius knew this, as told in this anecdote about him.
When Confucius was asked by one of his disciples what he would do if he were given his own territory to govern, the Master replied that he would “rectify the names,’ that is, make words correspond to reality. He explained:
If the names are not correct, if they do not match realities, language has no object. If language has no object, action becomes impossible—and therefore, all human affairs disintegrate and their management becomes pointless.