War of Ideology vs a Sober View: Sustainable vs Resilient?

Original article

Wolfgang Sassin,                            

Dr-Ing, Independent researcher, formerly Senior Scientist of International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis and Lecturer of Technical University Vienna, Austria

Address: Jochberg 5, 6335 Thiersee, Austria

E-mail: w.sassin@aon.at

Article ID: 020440211

Published online: 24 December 2020

HANDLE: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12656/thebeacon.3.020440211

DOI: https://doi.org/10.55269/thebeacon.3.020440211


Quoting (Chicago style): Sassin, Wolfgang. 2020. “Der Konflikt zwischen Ideologien und einer nüchternen und umfassenden Sichtweise: Nachhaltig gegen Resilient?” Beacon J Stud Ideol Ment Dimens 3, 020440211. https://doi.org/10.55269/thebeacon.3.020440211

Language: German

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After serious ecological problems had arisen, the ideology “to protect Mother Earth by all means” emerged and the very symbol of “Mother Earth” developed into a key media issue. The authors and spreaders of this ideology rely heavily on the concept of non-resilient sustainability. Unquestioning and uncritical adherence to this rigid principle led to the emergence of a series of societal experiments and their unexpected consequences. In the article, I study this ideology and compare it with the soberer scientific and socio-political viewpoint of resilience.

Key words: sustainability, resilience, ecology, politics, society, ideology

Extended summary in English


There are two fundamentally different types of social, ecological and political behaviour that have determined the direction of social evolution so far: Sustainability and Resilience. The concept of sustainability has already become a core part of the emerging ideological narrative reflected in ecology and culture as well as public policy and international relations. At present, many well-meaning, but worried and irritated politicians and policy makers focus just on sustainability. They overlook the much more important concept of resilience. Ideology of sustainability includes the goals of sustaining means to want to maintain a certain structure or status, if even certain changes happen and transform the environment, either by minor internal processes that lead to a tipping point, or by a sudden and deep reaching external event, e.g. a meteorite hitting the earth. To be resilient takes into account that such "disturbances" can happen. Significant resources are put aside to be able to adjust to such a change, instead of investing them into extensive “growth,” be it to raise material turnover or to build up ever steeper power structures. The much soberer concept of resilience implies that to survive a severe blow does not mean to be able or even to try to reestablish previous “unstable” conditions. If the environment has changed, for one reason or another, resilience means to adjust as fast as possible, instead of wasting valuable resources to “reestablish” previous conditions.


Social blocks and political parties emerged during the first decades of the third millennium that may be well characterized by different colours. The GREEN concept is totally oriented towards sustainability understood as ideology that one must follow. In fact a naive idea, as it neglects the fact that globalization, digitization, human compression in every respect, be it physical or informational, and human population growth together use up all means and capabilities to adapt the emerging global civilization to detrimental conditions that have been the very results of the unseen “progress“ so far. The RED concept is narrowly oriented to redistribute consumption possibilities in order to reduce social tensions. This concept neglects that savings constitute exactly those reserves necessary to bridge phases of internal or external disturbances, instead of providing a pool to foster consumption. Focussing mainly on efficiency, the BLACK concept neglects the inherent risks of establishing ever larger networks of interdependent “subsystems.” Finally, extremely ideologized WHITE concept is looming at the political horizon. It stands for the globalist aspirations. It would ensure that clear mental, national and cultural contours disappear and that there should no longer be any differences between individual minds, religions or social groups. In the paper, I show why representatives of these “differently coloured” parties are wrong in their understanding of sustainability in the modern world.


The control of global birth rate, introducing and observing different borders in the global world that would not allow the humanity to merge in one lump, re-division of the planet, and the return to hierarchies that define adaptability and flexibility as the primary goal of their communities instead of ideologies of equality and unity, are overdue – the coronacrisis 2019-2021 evidently demonstrated that the planet cannot be ruled by one set of uniform principles and homo sapiens is not a species of global humanity. Not the One Humanity, but the diversity of cultures and civilizations must be promoted in the future to elaborate principles of resilient development in the twenty-first century.

© 2021 Wolfgang Sassin.
Licensee The Beacon: Journal for Studying Ideologies and Mental Dimensions.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) that permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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