(July 7, 2023 – July 7, 2023)
(This text was translated from the German source with the deepL software (deepL.com)).
Following the basic considerations on the possibility/impossibility of a generally valid morality in this finite-dynamic world, a small look at the ‘phenomenon of life’ shall be suggested here, based on the currently popular concept of ‘sustainability’.
In the year 2023, the term ‘sustainability’ is on – almost – everyone’s lips; not only positively (That’s it; we have to do that, …) but very well also negatively, rejecting (What nonsense; we don’t need it, …). In addition, the many billions of people who have never heard of sustainability … Since the fundamental ‘Brundtland Report’ of 1987 , the United Nations has been trying to raise the awareness of all governments for the topic of ‘sustainability’ in ever new conferences with ever new emphases and possible recommendations for implementation. How far this has been successful so far can be judged by everyone who looks at the course of world events.
At this point, we would like to focus on one particular aspect of sustainability, an aspect that seems to be somehow ‘invisible’ until today, although it is fundamental for the understanding and success of the project ‘sustainability’. Without this aspect, there will be no effective sustainability.
Simple example: In a certain place on the planet Earth, there is a well from which one can draw about 180 liters of water per day so far. In itself, it is neither much nor little. But if plants, animals or humans have to live from this water, then this water can become ‘too little’ very quickly. In addition, there is the ‘ambient temperature’: do we have 10 °C, 20 °C, …, 50 °C …? Also, it is not unimportant ‘from where’ the well gets its water: does it come from (i) near-surface water from a nearby stream? or from (ii) deeper renewable groundwater (iii) or from …
If this well is in a village with 20 families, then the water becomes a ‘scarce resource’ in view of the ‘need’. For the daily needs of the families, the plants and possibly for animals this water will not be enough. Whatever happens/will happen now in this village with this scarce resource depends on the ‘knowledge’/’experience’ available in the minds of its inhabitants; plus the kind of ’emotions’ that are ‘operative’ in the same minds, and somehow – more or less consciously/unconsciously – certain ‘values’ (what to do in a certain situation). A ‘borderline case’ would be (i) that people have a great ‘fear’ to die, that therefore they would not shy away from ‘killing’ the others, if they ‘don’t know’ that there are no alternatives…; another case (ii) would be that besides the emotion ‘fear’ they also have an ’emotion’ ‘connectedness with the others’, supplemented by a value concept ‘one does not kill relatives/friends’. Therefore then perhaps rather the attempt to look together the ‘death by thirst’ into the eyes. Another case (iii) could be that at least one member of the village ‘knows’ when and how there could be a solution of the problem (differently sure), that the majority of the village ‘trusts’ him, and that ‘concrete behaviors are available’ to implement the solution.
If in case (iii) a solution is known ‘in principle’, but it is not known with which
‘measures’ this solution can be achieved, then case (i) or (ii) applies again. If in case (iii) the majority ‘does not trust’ the one person who says he has ‘knowledge/experience’ to find a solution, then ‘dejection’/’despondency’ may arise. Very bad it would be if no one in the village had the slightest bit of
knowledge, from which a useful action could be derived. Or, not less badly, individuals ‘believe’ that they have a knowledge which promises a remedy, but this ‘believed solution’ turns out to be a ‘mistake’.
What this simple example can clarify is that a ‘resource’ as such is neither good nor bad, neither little nor much. Decisive is the existence of a ‘need’, and a need is ultimately always coupled to the ‘existence of biological life forms’! ‘Biological life forms’ – thus ‘life’ – represent that phenomenon on the planet earth, to whose basic characteristics it belongs to have a ‘need’ of resources which are necessary so that life ‘can realize itself’, that ‘life can live’.
If one refers to the 17 development goals of the United Nations, valid from January 2016, addressed to nation states , then one can recognize many partial goals, which seem helpful for the promotion of the ‘life of life’, but one will miss the clear classification of the human population as a partial population in the total phenomenon ‘life’. All ‘non-human’ life is only granted a meaning in the haze of the 17 development goals, insofar as it appears helpful for the ‘life of the human sub-population’.
What is missing is a fundamental determination of what the phenomenon of life on the planet Earth represents as part of the entire universe: is it a random phenomenon that currently exists but to which no further significance is to be attached; it can also disappear again. Or must the phenomenon of life as a part of the universe be classified as an ‘extraordinary phenomenon’, indicating fundamental properties of the universe, pointing far beyond anything we have been accustomed to think of as reality, as possible future?
If we classify the ‘phenomenon of life’ as an ‘extraordinary phenomenon of global importance’ – and indeed the ‘whole life’ !!!. -, then the question of the ‘preservation’ of this whole life together with its manifold interactions must be in the center of the considerations and one must pursue ‘knowing-learning-questioning’ in a corresponding everyday life the questions, what this means; at the same time one must work ‘acting’ on a lasting shaping of the ‘conditions for a global life’.
Against this background, a culture that puts ‘unimportant things’ on top 1 and at the same time marginalizes what is fundamentally important for life appears as the perfect recipe for a quick common death. This common death, fragmented into many millions of individual deaths, is not simply ‘a death’; it destroys the ‘heart of the universe’ itself.
 Brundtland Report of 1987: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_Common_Future
 The 17 Sustainable Development Goals see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainable_Development_Goals