Towards a Philosophy
of Sustainability


The "Insanities of Normality " are such a pervasive, integral and often essential part of our lives and the world at large that it is very difficult recognising them. When we do, it is usually because they are far away or involve other people rather than ourselves. The ones we ourselves are involved in and dependent upon are virtually invisible to us. When we do catch glimpses of them, we use our large "prime-ape" brain to rationalise and justify them. Most relate to the continuing, blind, dumb-animal (Darwinian) struggle for survival and advantage in the "socio-economic environment", which for modern man has effectively replaced the natural environment, and thus also explains why it is so difficult to see them for what they are.

- Generally putting the economy (the household of man) before ecology (the household of our planet) with the consequence that we are quite literally plundering our planet, Spaceship Earth. This, together with the dominant role still played by our more animal than human nature, is the underlying cause of virtually all the insanities of normality.

- Encouraging people to have more children, or permitting (even encouraging) immigration, in order to maintain or increase current population levels, when we are already very overpopulated. We should be thankful that a benevolent mother nature has caused the birth rate of native Europeans naturally to decline and make the necessary socio-economic changes to deal with it.  

- Virtually all forms of advertising, which drives the materialistic aspirations that our non-sustainable, growth-dependent economy depends on, taking full advantage of all aspects of our animal nature, such as our interest in sex, cheap or free lunches, etc, etc.

- The lack of limits on personal income and wealth. The absurd differentials, even within the same society, make a mockery and hypocrisy of the ideals of human equality and citizen solidarity, as well as being an absolute obstacle to achieving sustainability. To maintain that they are the natural and acceptable consequence of a free-market economy is a rationalisation of the irrational and a justification of the unjustifiable by our large brains in the service of our "more animal than human " nature.

- Individual motorisation (and its promotion through advertising). Because with less than one fifth of Earth's population fully motorised, it is already placing a non-sustainable drain and strain on its limited resources and carrying capacity.

- Frequent air travel, its promotion through advertising, and airport expansion. For the same reasons as above.

- Economically driven mass migration into countries, such as Britain, which are already overpopulated (and should be rejoicing at the natural decline in their native populations) and where large ethnic minorities are likely to cause ethnic conflict in years to come when our present, non-sustainable prosperity comes to an end; and which also drains developing countries of trained (often highly trained) and desperately needed professionals, such as nurses and doctors. 

- Free trade as opposed to fair trade (including the exploitation of cheap labour, which underlies much of the global economy, but is a disgraceful act of man exploiting his fellow man, no matter how well it is rationalised and justified as helping those it exploits). It is totally unworthy of creatures calling themselves Homo sapiens

- The National Lottery and other ways of winning very large sums of money, which appeals to and reinforces our primitive, animal desire for, and acceptance of, free lunches (which the excessively wealthy have always had, of course). A society in which some members have a right to free or cheap lunches at the expense of other members is a society of apes, rather than of human beings.


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The supersonic airliner, Concorde, is an extremely important - because still so contentious - example of non-sustainable values, attitudes and aspirations (see Anglo-French folly)

Examples taken from the press:

Guardian, 10 may 06: "China plans 48 new airports"

Daily Telegraph, 28 Jan 06: "German women told: we need more babies" (Nature tries to help us by reducing the birth rate on our overpopulated continent, and what do we - Idiots! - do? We try to increase it, or encourage immigration, both of which are complete madness!

Guardian, 5 Dec 05: "Where they hide their money"

New York Times, 5 Dec 05: "In Today's India, Status Comes With Four Wheels"

Daily Mail, 29 Oct 05: Page one advert for cheap air travel (utter insanity staring us in the face!)

Guardian, 14 Oct 05: "BP plans a pioneering drive into China"

Guardian, 1 August 05: "Limerick lottery winner goes to ground"

Guardian, 15 April 05: "More than 30% of our food is thrown away" (No comment).

Guardian, 14 April 05: "Nike publishes details of abuse at Asian factories" (the consequences of an economy rooted in man's "more animal than human " nature, which would be unknown in a moral, fair trade economy based on our more enlightened, human nature).

Guardian, 12 April 05: "Low-cost airlines defy the gloom" (No comment).

New York Times, 9 April: "Nukes are Green" (Nuclear energy is not Green, but far too dangerous for Earth's Greatest Ape (Homo sapiens, indeed!) to mess with.

Work in progress