Towards Meaningful Co-Existence: A Psychodynamic Perspective on Sustainability
In the current paper we highlight parallels between indigenous cosmologies, object relations theory (ORT) and the transitioning of societies from pre to post industrial eras. We argue that, just as individual maturation goes through stages marked by needs for connectedness, separation and reconnection with the m(other), so does societal development, in relation to nature. The industrial era witnessed a gradual separation of humans from nature and with this, escalating destruction of the latter in service of economic development. We propose that the post industrial era augurs well for sustainability as increasingly, people seem to be looking for an alternative paradigm; one that shows care and respect for fellow humans and nature. Significant challenges remain however as globally, the economic rationalist model, with its inherent destructiveness still dominates. Thus, for both individuals and societies, the maturational process is non-linear and regression and destructiveness will always co-exist with progressive and reparative acts.
Keywords: Sustainability, Indigenous Cosmology, Pyschodynamic, Object Relations Theory
Ms Peliwe Pelisa Mnguni
Professor of Creative and Sustainable Organisation, Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) Portfolio Office, RMIT University