A Consistence Movement [First Essay]

I discovered several things today, each of which surprised me a little. Taken together, they surprised me a lot. Let me explain.

What started me down this path was considering how people want to make or create or build or maybe even simply buy things. People are often very goal oriented — along the lines of: “I will do this, this will result in that, that is good, I want that, if I have that, I will be happy, so I will do this to get that.” In part, we have been trained to think this way in order to function as consumers and producers of things… things that can be traded in the market economy. Objects — whether virtual or real. Often, our reality revolves around a sort of fetish… to procure objects. Whether a product or a service, we are all too easily overly focused on the procurement of objects… to the detriment of being happy, satisfied, in harmony with society or nature.

For example: A consumer may wish to procure a widget; A business may wish to sell widgets; and neither may think much about the relationships involved in this transaction, or what role such a widget will perform in the future. If the widget gets “used up”, does it then somehow magically become trash?

It’s quite easy to see that this is also somewhat of a philosophical question: Insofar as objects, relationships and such exist, it might not a very big leap to think about their existence and from that to develop some sort of existentialism… — but that would actually be a short-cut and would miss a very important point: Each of these things exist not only in and for themselves. They exist in an environment, they are each parts of the same universe, and in that respect they are also related. They do not really exist separately as much as they consist together. Indeed: Consistence coordinates many previous philosophical points of view (such as existentialism and also interdependence, relativism and environmentalism, sustainability and change, atomism and universalism, … and many more).

Consistence thrives on complexity, and there seem to be many parallels between this way of thinking with Darwin’s theory of evolution. Just as the roof of a building may be carried by many pillars, so too do life forms continue to consist even if one of the pillars of life crumble, break or fall.

This is a significant difference between the “consistence” and “consistency” — whereas consistency seems to be about the homogeneous constitution of a specific mass, consistence is more about the stratification of different parts across a larger whole, be that a community, a culture, a regional or global population, or across time and space in general.

Literally, consistence means “standing strong together”. This does not mean that the individual parts are the same. On the contrary: They may be very different, complementing each other, sticking together much in the same way that opposites attract.

Consistence does not build so much on promoting individual strengths as it succeeds by minimizing vulnerability to weaknesses. You might be reminded of the quote by Nietzsche which states: “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger”. In this way, an infection, a virus or similar disease may be seen as promoting consistence.

Since the contexts of consistence are so wide and far-reaching, it is difficult to summarize this philosophy in one brief essay. We should revisit this approach many times, from different angles, and keep testing the usefulness of this concept time and time again.

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