Language/mind games or something deeper?

One dimension that I am not concrete about is whether using thrivability rather than sustainability really is the same thing with a different name….or is it more than that? My sense is that it is more than sustainability, but I am, for the most part, making this up as we go along. And I do feel like the name emerged, for me, from a dissatisfaction with the language and its impact on the mind when using the term sustainability. The frame is lacking to me. It implies we are at a negative state and need to reach neutral.

Some that I have discussed that with say “pshaw” to me. They say that it is my own limitations that I place on the term sustainability. The movement is fully open to humans thriving. And in some way I agree. I think most of the sustainability field is open to and hopes for a thriving world. Some are quite cynical (or well versed depending on your point of view) about our ability to become sustainable much less thrivable. I hear that. I feel the frustration. I am frustrated at our lack of progress and the pressure of time.

From a mind game perspective I am choosing the word thrivability because it is like wanting an A in a class instead of a C. Because it sounds less like a world not teetering on the edge of doom but flourishing and vibrant.

But I also wonder if there is something deeper than that. Is that mind-game criticism only coming at it from a superficial level? Is thrivability about something more vast than sustainability? Let’s try an exercise, for fun. Which of the following select words or phrases would you put within the domain of sustainability:

  • zero emissions
  • organic farming
  • social justice
  • green architecture
  • conservation practices
  • personal growth
  • animal protection
  • economic justice
  • leadership development

Which ones do you think we need for a thrivable world?

Are they the same? Are they different? How and why?

Sneak peek: In the next post, I will talk about the value of the term even at the mind-game level.


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