Reply To: 26.5.2014 Ancient Futures

Author Replies # Posted on May 28, 2014 at 15:52

Reply to Sabbath
Thanks for answering my question!
I agree with you that social networks are one important aspect of a sustainable and happier life for the individuals in a community. The word network means things that are connected to each other and both you and Helena bring up the connection to the nature and the local conditions as something crucial for a sustainable life. A large part of Norberg-Hodges theory is, in my view, precisely about the contrast between connection and disconnection to our surroundings, even our families. The latter one, disconnection, came with globalization according to Helena. The same goes for her other point about diversity in relation to monoculture. What come to mind for me are Tim Ingolds theories on connection and paths in the local landscape known for people living there in constant relation with things like trees and animals for instance.
Helena describes as shift towards more violence in the globalized society and violence comes from the opposite of happiness. Hence a violent society is not a happy one and also not a sustainable one. It is easier to define what happiness is not then what it actually is.
If I address your example on what sustainability is from the Bruntland definition I think you are right in that it goes well with Helenas thoughts, but form me Helenas narrative is a bit naïve in her description of the happy people of Ladakh, that is not to say that she isn´t right about that we can learn lessons from it. I also think Norberg-Hodge is arguing for some kind of middle path at the same time – we can´t go back- but we can learn from how “it was” before, thus she recognize benefits with the new technology, for instance when it comes to child mortality. I just can´t accept that it was in a certain way before, it is too simplistic,; the Ladakh community was of course not fixed in history; it was as complex and in constant change as any other society.