Our oceans are amazing and we can help them generate more good, not just less bad. Helping oceans generate more good is a way to Practice Paneugenesis by generating comprehensive improvements. We can do better than just rid the ocean of plastic and or oil or stop overfishing.
While these issues are important, it may be even more valuable to help the ocean be more good. Oceans can grow food, such as from fast growing kelp, it can also provide parks. It also can provide energy from wind and waves. At the same time, underwater mangroves, oysters and other underwater vegetation buffer storms, generate more air to breathe, provide underwater homes for creatures that also clean the ocean as it captures and buries carbon – all to make life more livable.
Overall, nature, of which we are a part, functions to make life more livable. As James Lovelock explains with Gaia, our living earth works hard to allow life to prosper. Our oceans provide a powerful example of the important role all life plays on earth. Our oceans can generate comprehensive improvements by creating net-positive, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. To help improve life, our motivation can be to make life better – now and in the future, not just to prevent problems .
Our oceans enable every other breath we take as it also helps regulate our temperature so we can live comfortably. For a more clear understanding how we can help the ocean Practice Paneugenesis and help it create all good, I recommend you listen to Susan Ruffo’s powerful 9 minute TED presentation, “The Oceans’s Ingenious Climate Solutions” .
A recent discussion with a respected colleague brought this, “Do people want to be healthy?”, question to mind. We then realized it was a complicated question. Of course people do not want to be sick, mainly because it means they cannot accomplish anything they desire, but this doesn’t mean they want to be healthy. Health is not an end goal, as the World Health Organization and most acknowledge, health is an enabling resource, not an end result.
From an employer perspective it seems pretty clear. Of course they want healthy employees, but not for health reasons, they desire healthy employees because they want dedicated, passionate, creative, and productive employees. Without health, none of those outcomes are likely. Health makes desired goals possible, but it does not achieve those goals. Health is the latent or hidden, underlying construct of all we want in life. Without health, very little is possible.
“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.”
Peoples conscious actions also seem to suggest they do not want health – or at least health is not what they prioritize. People will stay up late, eat unhealthy foods, skip exercise, or resort to other substances they know are not health enhancing to accomplish other goals. Even so, people will almost always say their health is important and they want to be healthy. Why then do our actions and the goal of health not match? Could the prioritization of other things be why people often give up their goals shortly after New Years?
According to Dr. Wendy Wood’s convincing scientific work, much of this can be explained by habits. As she explains, habits are what people do when they are not thinking, so they are not conscious actions. As most of us know, intentions help us feel good but don’t allow much to be accomplished.
She outlines these important findings in her work and in her book, Good Habits, Bad Habits. As she documents, habits are the actions we take when not thinking. Therefore when we are rushed late or thinking of other things, we resort to our usual, not desired or intended behaviors.
How Can Health Be a Priority?
For health to be a priority, we probably should focus on what people want to achieve more so than health. Most people want to thrive. Does that mean we should focus on thriving? Probably not, thriving cannot be achieved directly, it is the result of meaningful work, fulfilling relationships, meaning, belonging, purpose and much more. The focus therefore, to achieve thriving, has to be on generating meaningful work, building stronger relationships, finding common purpose, and contributing to meaningful goals.
Maybe this means Obliquity is how we get health. Obliquity suggests complex goals, such as health, are best achieved indirectly. In other words, indirect methods provide a better chance for health and also for reaching achieving what is desired.
Quality management endorses similar ideas. They note you cannot create quality with inspection at the end, quality must be created by continually by improving the processes. Inspection can’t create quality anymore then scales manage our weights or checkups produce health. Desired outcomes must be caused to happen through processes that lead to the precursors of those desired outcomes.
As noted previously, James Clear supports this idea when he explains…
“Friendship happens on the way to something else If you “try to meet new people” it feels weird and forced. The more you aim for friendship, the more it eludes you. But if you aim to learn or achieve something with others, friendship happens naturally during the shared pursuit.”
James Clear 9-9-2021 Newsletter
Also Archbishop Tutu described getting joy in this way…
“… if you set out to be joyful you are not going to end up being joyful. You’re going to find yourself turned in on yourself. It’s like a flower. You open, you blossom, really, because of other people.”
Archbishop Tutu in “The Book of Joy”
The idea of Paneugenesis, or the generation of comprehensive improvements by creating net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits may be an effective way to get what we desire as it also produces benefits for others and our environment. Please share your thoughts….
This post is a thought exercise that I hope encourages you to think about how to build better processes. In other words, it is also how we can spread more love and caring this Valentines Day.
As I taught about ethics in class I realized we can’t have low or high ethics, either we have ethics or we don’t. Actions are either ethical, or they are illegal, inappropriate or not desired. Ethics are not a high bar, they are the minimum. Ethics are a low bar for a civilized society.
We need ethics codes because it shows the users, customers and professionals that there are expectations. There is an ethical code in Health Education, however the ethical code not only sets up expectations, it also provides a framework on how to improve. The ethics code requires health educators to continually get more education and to use that knowledge to improve methods used in the profession.
Are ethics Yes or No?
Even though ethics seem to be black and white, either we have them or we don’t. It also seems ethics are a low bar, however I am continually reminded that being ethical can get complicated. Workers who must keep a job to support their families may be required to sell a number of drinks or tanning sessions for example to keep their job even if they know it is wrong. This situation makes it difficult to do what they know is right.
The difficulty of doing what is right was demonstrated by Stanley Milgram’s experiments that were used to try to understand how good people could have participated in the Holocaust. This video explains how and why people may sometimes not do what they know is right…
Ethic WERE complicated
I was reminded again that ethics can be complicated when I listened to the NYTimes Daily Podcast: Who Else Its Culpable int eh George Floyd’s Death? In this podcast it explains that although the fellow officers wanted to do what was right, the situation made it very hard.
How can we improve?
What do you think? It seems there are rarely bad people, but bad systems. Continually improving processes can help generate comprehensive benefits by creating net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic benefits so everyone and everything benefits.
What system or process improvement could help make life better for all while it also prevents another George Floyd like experience? I am interested in hearing your ideas, please share.
Radiolab is fantastic. In this podcast, From Tree to Shining Tree, they explain that previously tree canopies were pretty much completely ignored by science. Mother Nature continues to amaze. As they described, “It was as if researchers said collectively, ‘It’s just going to be empty up there, and we’ve got our hands full studying the trees down here! So why bother?!’ But then, around the mid-1980s, a few ecologists around the world got curious and started making their way up into the treetops using any means necessary (ropes, cranes, hot air dirigibles) to document all they could find. It didn’t take long for them to realize not only was the forest canopy not empty, it was absolutely filled to the brim with life. You’ve heard of treehouses? How about tree gardens?!” In other words, all of life on earth exists to make life more livable.
This RadioLab podcast explains about the secret powers of these sky gardens from ecologist Korena Mafune, and we follow Nalini Nadkarni as she makes a ground-breaking discovery that changes how we understand not just what is below in the forest, but also what is up.
They acknowledge that they learned about the magical world of the canopy from this beautiful video from Michael Werner, Joe Hanson, and the PBS Overview team. It features Korena Mafune’s research up in the treetops, as well as the people who have dedicated their lives to saving what’s left of the old growth forests. I highly recommend checking it out!
Thoughout the podcast they referred to Dr. Simard’s wonderful work and the previous podcast they had done about her work, From Tree to Shining Tree. I strongly encourage you listen to their podcast done with Dr. Simard in 2016. Their Radiolab podcast was before her 2021 book, Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest and it is a great stand alone presentation and also an excellent complement to her book because it seemed to hightlight additional areas of information that were not stressed in her book.
Overall, I continue to be amazed at how well nature, by default, generates comprehensive improvements to make life more livable for all by creating net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. We are part of nature, meaning we should have living styles that also make life more livable for everyone and everything. Please share how you create all good by practicing paneugenesis with selfish, selfless, synergy.