Words that are spoken, written, and read are just as powerful as actions. To write is to act. The pen is man’s greatest weapon.
Last week was a bit painful and depressing: my respiratory health was battered by London’s pollution and I realised that I saw eye-to-eye with very few people with regards to what sustainability, among other words, really denotes. As an artist however, much like a muscle, pain is a source of growth and change.
Last week’s events made me realise that many people working ‘in sustainability’ don’t have a good grasp of what the word sustainability means, and it’s upsetting.
London was recently measured as the second ‘most sustainable city’ in the world, yet I ought to wear a breathing mask to get through Oxford Circus without congesting my lungs with black more often than not. I also heard from someone who works for a ‘sustainable fashion company’ that makes ‘sustainable products’. Without the known systems around it, a product on its own cannot be sustainable.
I used to use such combinations of words with sustainability, but for some reason it stopped making sense to me once I started seeing through the falsity of the spectacular marketing of it all.
Define is etymologically de-fine (Dubreuil 2015); to define something is to set its boundaries; where the word ends and begins, a type of mapping. Because our minds and current states in our human bodies are so limited with regards to our perceptions and modes of expression, we must set boundaries within communication in order to get any meaningful point across.
I have to define sustainability before the sadness from the confusion and hypocrisy from the outside to within me grows worse, and like the respectful Guy Debord before me, become an artfully suicidal alcoholic.
Sustainability is living in communion with Nature. It is a living experience, and cannot be produced, nor consumed. Sustainability is being the soul that knows Nature in the body as its instrument.
‘The mind is more than the brain’ –Catharine Malabou
When reading the Kering website, they write that they are ‘tackling the challenge of sustainability’. Sustainability is definitely not a challenge to tackle. The ego is a challenge to tackle.
You are sustainability, you’re just not expressing it, because your mind has become numb from the spectacle and ‘glamour’ of egoistic consumption. Styling your own Fashion is an intimate way of expression. Fashion and sustainability go hand-in-hand. Expression ought to be an art, that comes from the soul. Fashion and art ought to go hand-in-hand.
Sustainability and spirituality go hand-in-hand.
Capitalism and Developing Countries also need to be defined.
Capitalism is simply a system based on the private ownership of the means of production of goods and services. Private ownership isn’t innately ‘evil’. The divide between ‘Public’ and ‘Private’ sectors of the global economy is blurry these days.
What made the idea of ‘capitalism’ seem so ‘evil’ to me for the past couple of years was not the ideology of capitalism itself, that today has become null, but rather the relationship between this economic system and human nature. Through the counsel of Keynes this is made clear. He says that ‘Economic progress is obtainable only if we employ those powerful human drives of selfishness, which religion and traditional wisdom universally call upon us to resist. The modern economy is propelled by a frenzy of greed and indulges in an orgy of envy, and these are not accidental features but the very causes of expansionist success’ (Schumacher 1973).
Economic progress today needs to be redefined in a way to not require the powerful, soul-less drives of human greed etc.
Now, on to ‘developing countries’. The ‘developing countries’ that often come to mind (India, Indonesia, the Philippines…) are not developing. They were developed. When the West was hungry and needed to search for more resources, they got on the colonial bandwagon and pillaged these spiritually evolved and resource rich countries.
The West is developing. The West still has no idea about what it means to live and enjoy life aside from setting up systems that trick people into thinking that eating food out of plastic containers is ‘modern’, and that ‘sustainability’ can be commoditised, and that you have to ought to fly around the world burning oils that took millions of years for the Earth to produce to.
‘Developing countries’ are not ‘developing’. They are recovering countries, recovering from the shock of pillage and brain-wash by the West.
Fashion, Design, Style, and H&M must also be defined.
Fashion is a particular mode of carrying and dressing oneself as active soul in corporeal instrument.
To design is to shape matter for an intended outcome.
Style is personal Fashion.
H&M: That’s not Fashion! They’re just a bunch a wannabes!
Homo-Sapiens and the Digital must also be defined.
Homo-sapiens : Homo- the same, sapiens- sapere, to know. Homo sapiens is a group, a species on Earth. A group that knows that we are all the same. If human beings evolved from the first life-form on Earth, then it makes sense, that we know we are all the same, we- denoting all life-forms on Earth. Which is why sustainability is innate within all of us, just not expressed.
Digital: A medium of transmitting information powered by electricity.
Our brains are arguably digital. Social media is digital for sure, but it is not much different from analog. Instead of writing a letter to Bob with a pen on paper and sending it through post, I am simply writing an electronic letter to him by forming pixels into letters via electric waves facilitated by a keyboard and particular codes and algorithms.
Social media and the digital world are not bad. It is good, and powerful, but can be easily used by the ego for self-fulfilment and advertisement, for greed, and unwarranted need. This is bad, and not an expression of sustainability. Don’t delete your Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat accounts, just post things that are meaningful, from the soul, and be aware of the system and your own reasoning.
That it for definitions for now. Time to go out, function, and express.