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Sustainable community #25

Spontaneity (Wu Wang)

Metaphors: Innocence / Unexpectedness / Unembroiled / Detachment


Social A sustainable community is most successful when it acts spontaneously in response to emerging events rather than on the basis of some pre-defined programme. However, the guidance of such instinctive certainty leads to misfortune unless it is correctly rooted in superior values.

Sub-conditions:

1. The sustainable community can be confident of success when it acts on impulses involving no expectation of gain. (Resulting in: Stagnation).

2. The sustainable community's activity can succeed if each phase is carried out for its own sake and irrespective of any possible result. (Resulting in: Careful conduct).

3. Even though the sustainable community acts without expectation of gain, it should be prepared to adjust to the possibility of misfortunes arising from external events. (Resulting in: Fellowship).

4. No catastrophe can deprive the sustainable community of its inherent qualities, provided it continues to uphold them. (Resulting in: Assistance).

5. In the event of catastrophe arising from external causes, the sustainable community should take time to heal itself rather than call on external assistance. (Resulting in: Decisive action).

6. When the time is not appropriate, any spontaneous response by the sustainable community is likely to be counterproductive. (Resulting in: Following).

Transformation sequence The excesses of spontaneity are contained through conservation measures. (Resulting in: Conservation).


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Earlier version in 2nd edition of Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential (1986).

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