Co-author of the scientific book “Personal Sustainability”

Title of the Paper: Awareness as a New Paradigm for Personal Sustainability: A Practitioner’s View on Sustainable Development (chapter 9)

The book: 214 pages

Format: Hardcover, also available as an eBook

Language: English

First print: 2018

ISBN: 9781138065086

Publisher: Routledge Press

One of the world’s most pressing problems

In March 2018, the scientific book “Personal Sustainability,” creating a new line of research, was published by Routledge, the world’s leading publisher of humanities and social sciences. I was invited to co-write in this book, resulting in a chapter on awareness as a new paradigm, entitled “Awareness as a New Paradigm for Personal Sustainability: A Practitioner’s View on Sustainable Development.”

Foreword by the editors of the book: “Unsustainable development has become one of the most pressing problems in today’s world. The complexity of the issues related to sustainability concerns is due to the trans-disciplinary nature of the problem, which is why, in most cases, the existing solutions do not work. The mainstream approach to sustainable development focuses on external, collective, and global macro-processes, ignoring micro-level intra and interpersonal aspects.”

A pioneering approach to sustainability

The compilation, prepared by sustainability researchers Kaidi Tamm and Oliver Parodi, contains 12 papers from international researchers and practitioners whom the editors call the pioneers of this new field of research. The purpose of the book is to map a new area of research and to provide an initial first-hand analysis of issues affecting sustainability.

The paper in the scientific book is based on my long-term empirical research. It aims to complement the academic theoretical approach with a practitioner’s perspective on sustainable development and to highlight the changes needed at the individual level. This paper reveals the background to human behavior and choices and offers a completely different strategy for achieving lasting change. Based on the chapter written in the scientific book, it is possible to initiate a substantive discussion and plan further research.

Sustainable development through the eyes of an empirical researcher

My paper on awareness as a new paradigm for personal sustainability is the ninth chapter of the book. It opens the view of a practitioner who has explored the inner world to conditions that either enable or hinder sustainable development. In the article, I emphasize that in order to find solutions to the global sustainability crisis, the processes at the individual level need further attention. I compare in detail the two fundamentally different approaches: the currently dominant mental-emotional paradigm (the so-called old paradigm), and the use of awareness as the new paradigm.

In the paper I claim that the currently dominant understanding of a person’s identity, role, and capabilities is based on a very limited reaction-driven emotional-mental paradigm. Based on my empirical research and discovery, I can confirm that our problems and conflicts have their roots in the automatism of behavior and thinking, and in our general ignorance of inner world processes. However, instead of constantly trying to “improve” the old paradigm into a better version, I recommend switching to a whole new paradigm – to that which is based on the primacy of awareness.

Change at the personal level is the only practical way

To make the transition to the new paradigm possible in real life, humanity needs knowledge and skills that do not originate from the old paradigm – the values, norms, and habits that are currently automatically accepted. I am talking about skills that are based on the use of the tool beyond mind – consciousness – and which allow the individual to stop transferring the old paradigm.

In the long run, creative, smart/intelligent and healthy individuals can only function sustainably if they reduce the proportion of automatic emotional and mental reactions that create the old paradigm and increase the use of consciousness. This choice enables a person to independently change his or her life, evolving from a reactive being to a smart, independent realist with a capability of rapid learning. This change at the individual level is the basis for any further necessary changes in the outside world and, when summed up, leads to positive results at the macro level.

The book: 214 pages
Format: Hardcover, also available as an eBook
Language: English
First print: 2018
ISBN: 9781138065086
Publisher: Routledge Press

Table of contents:

  1. Personal Sustainability – Exploring a New Field of Sustainable Development Oliver Parodi and Kaidi Tamm
  2. Sustainability, Culture and Personal Virtues Reiner Manstetten
  3. Psychology of Sustainability – Psychological Resources for Sustainable Lifestyles Marcel Hunecke
  4. Care of the self and “Bildung” as condition for and result of personal sustainability Michael Niehaus, Dirk Schmidt and Shirli Homburg
  5. Sustainable Development: A Matter of Truth and Love Oliver Parodi
  6. Sustainability in crisis: a perspective of subjective body as ‘healing’ force Sabin Wendhack
  7. Developing Intra-personal Skills as a Proactive Way to Personal Sustainability: The Preventive Side of the Mental Health Equation Helena Lass
  8. Inner Conflict Resolution and Self-Empowerment as Contribution for Personal Sustainability on the Case of Intentional Community Practices Stella Veciana and Kariin Ottmar
  9. Awareness as the New Paradigm for Personal Sustainability: A Practitioner’s Perspective on the Sustainability Transition Ingvar Villido
  10. Reflexivity: Balancing the Metanarratives of Sustainable Development Kaidi Tamm
  11. Sustainability without the I-sense is Nonsense: Inner ‘Technologies’ for a Viable Future and the Inner Dimension of Sustainability Shelley Sacks
  12. Personal Sustainability – Conclusions and Perspectives Oliver Parodi, Kaidi Tamm and Sabin Wendhack

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More: Art of Conscious Change; New Paradigm; Consciousness and awareness – what are they?; Scientific studies on consciousness.

exit the old paradigm – participate in ACC

Consciousness has seven active super-qualities, one of which is awareness. The qualities of consciousness have nothing to do with either emotions, or the thinking mind.