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Consciousness as the key leverage point for personal and societal sustainability transformations

Abstract presented at the 26th The Science of Consciousness conference in Interlaken, Switzerland:

Consciousness is a phenomenon that enables us to be aware of the world and ourselves. However, it is elusive, difficult to describe or measure. In the society characterized by excessive focus on external, quantitative and collective aspects, the subtler, invisible, inner and qualitative aspects have received undeservedly little attention. In its elusiveness consciousness could be described as a utopia – a place that does not exist. As such it is a goal longed for in many teachings as a final destination for attaining freedom, reconnecting to unity or returning home.

In my empirical research on sustainable development rhetoric and practices I encountered many case studies where people plead for transformation of consciousness as the primary solution for solving both personal as well as societal challenges. There has been little research on how human inner and outer dimensions interrelate and influence each other. To contribute to this field I explore the potential of consciousness as a powerful leverage point (Meadows 1999) helping to transcend paradigms.

I hypothesize that increasing the proportion of conscious awareness is the key to building up inner literacy and freedom. Realizing one´s interconnectedness with nature and utter dependency on one’s consciousness is also relevant as well as openness for experimental and experiential knowledge as possible sources of valuable insights. 

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