Bringing Sustainable Happiness to Life
By Catherine O'Brien • March 14, 2013
We know that biodiversity is essential for a healthy environment. What about mind diversity?
Two decades ago, Vandana Shiva, physicist, philosopher, author and environmentalist, coined the term “monocultures of the mind”. A monoculture lacks diversity making it vulnerable to disease and infestations. For example, when a forest is logged and replanted with a single species, the complexity, the diversity of the original forest is lost. The new plantation is highly vulnerable because a single pest or disease could destroy it. The lack of complexity and diversity not only affects the health of the trees of the forest but all living creatures that might exist within.
Shiva understood that the kind of mind that cannot grasp the value of biodiversity is itself a “monoculture”. The uniformity of thought and lack of mind diversity manifests in dire consequences for the planet. She wrote, “Monocultures of the mind generate models of production which destroy diversity and legitimize that production as progress, growth and improvement.”
Another outcome of ‘monocultures of the mind’ is that we may become limited in our ability to generate alternatives and to imagine new options for addressing the personal, local or global challenges that we face – like the monoculture plantation whose natural resilience has become lost or restricted.
In contrast, sustainable happiness inspires a hopeful vision of happiness and wellbeing for all, nurturing social and ecological resilience. It addresses the problem of “monocultures of the mind”. Sustainable happiness opens us to new ways of thinking, creating new habits, enabling new visions – rediscovering our mind diversity.