ACHIEVING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT:
THE INTEGRATIVE IMPROVEMENT INSTITUTES PROJECT
“The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2006, divided into two equal parts, to Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank for their efforts to create economic and social development from below. Lasting peace can not be achieved unless large population groups find ways in which to break out of poverty. Micro-credit is one such means. Development from below also serves to advance democracy and human rights.”
Press release at http://nobelpeaceprize.org/ .
1 This paper is about a way of achieving sustainable "development from below" in all economies and societies. It is not an academic research paper. Rather, it offers a novel, practical and adaptive project for changing how we are trained to think, plan and act as individuals and how we are trained to organise and govern. The approaches in it have been derived from a synthesis of wide experience in government, business and civil society organisations and an extensive study of mind science, development and sustainability literature. It is in four sections as follows:-
Section I: Challenges We Face.
Section II: Description of Integrative Improvement: Sustainable Development as if People and Their Physical, Social and Cultural Environments Mattered.
Section III: Integrative Improvement Institutes Project.
Section IV: Benefits of Integrative Improvement.
SECTION I: CHALLENGES WE FACE
2 The challenges we face in our economies and societies and in our divided unsustainable world are perhaps greater than at any other time. These challenges have arisen because of the way we have thought, planned and acted as individuals and the way we have organised and governed ourselves. We have thought, planned, organised, governed and acted as though our world is comprised of parts which can be separately exploited by humans and managed by us from one stable state to another. We have forgotten we are just one species in a complex natural world. We have tended to act without a sense of wholeness - without integrity.
3 We have thought, planned, organised, governed and acted like this because we have been trained to do so. Based on centuries-old understandings of the world and the human mind we mostly train people to break problems down into parts, to put these parts into rigid categories with shared properties and to manipulate symbols representing these categories. That is, we train people to reason in a disembodied way as though our minds were symbol manipulators like computers, unconnected with the remainder of our bodies and our physical, social and cultural environment.
4 Accordingly, meeting these challenges will require completely different approaches to how we are trained to think, plan and act as individuals and how we are trained to organise and govern. These different approaches will need to be based on our current scientific understanding of our world and the human mind.