Habits form pathways that are built into networks and centres for activity

Human activity has fundamentally transformed the environment at such a scale that it is impacting the viability of life on the planet.

This state of affairs is not sustainable socially, economically, politically, or ecologically. Change is necessary, but the processes that humans have put in place to manage complex needs has exceeded the bounds of rationality. These processes have taken on their own internal logic, driving the commodification of labour, the scarcity of resources, the hoarding of capital, and the competition for dominance.

Under such circumstances, humans tend to short-circuit rationality by living according to the automatic responses triggered by emotional decision-making. According to cognitive behavioural therapy, we perceive a stimulus, interpret the pattern, and respond accordingly. In an environment of scarcity, people’s behaviours will be motivated primarily by fear, self-preservation, and control.

If the processes of the system are based on scarcity, the foundational ethics and values will ultimately be self-destructive.

To change the processes on which the system is based, it is necessary to fundamentally change the conditions of the environment, which will enable the ability to think rationally, engaging the centres of ethical behaviour where the highest values of a society can be nurtured.