Sustainability: What it Really Means

We’ve all heard about sustainability in relation to the environment and the planet as a whole. But what about individual personal sustainability? Just for a moment let’s focus on “us”, as in you and me individually. Forget the environment. What’s going on at home? Is your life sustainable?

Can you continue living exactly the way you’re living right now and not suffer any illness, infection, mental breakdown, injury or degeneration of the mind or body? If the answer is yes, you’re definitely on the right track!

However, if what we are doing (or not doing) right now in real time is contributing to our own personal demise in any manner; it’s time to stop the insanity. It’s time to change, modify or update the program.

The root word of sustainability is “sustain” which is derived from the Latin word sustinēre. Sustinēre means to uphold, support or bear the weight of.

Picture Atlas the Titan in your mind holding up the celestial sphere. In this example taken from Greek Mythology, Atlas was able to bear the weight of the world because of who and what he was, a powerful and huge immortal being of incredible strength and stamina. And with our brain potential in mind, aren’t we a bit like Atlas?

I’m reminded of Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. In this example, Atlas shrugs off the enormous weight he bore in order for him to survive and retain his dignity. It was an intellectual and moral decision. And the same is also true for many of us. Sometimes we have to shrug off whatever obligation we have in order to survive. We have to stop before we are crushed by the weight we bear.

My foremost objective when examining the state of any athlete is to determine the sustainability of their training, diet and lifestyle. It either is or isn’t sustainable, and I make this judgment call based on functional evidence obtained from a detailed analysis of diet, a fitness assessment and a variety of biomarkers identified in blood, urine and saliva. It’s called a biological reality check and reality is what reality does.

By coming to terms with what “is”, as in the here and now, it’s possible to determine whether or not the athlete in question can continue living, training and eating the way they are without suffering from chronic disease, injury, depression or premature death.

Most cannot and are often blind to the facts or live in denial. For whatever reason, and there are many, we allow outdated traditions or irrational social obligations to control our actions. We then justify them as noble forms of loyalty, however toxic or perverse. But the truth is our behavior is often controlled subconsciously by false neural programs superimposed and planted deeply within our brain during our most vulnerable time, meaning our defenseless childhood.

Life is a gift and science is a wonderful guide. The purpose of life is to live, not die. Our purpose is to survive, thrive and stay alive, not terminate prematurely. These statements may seem blatantly obvious, but why then are so many of us suffering from auto-immune conditions, obesity, cancer, heart disease, diabetes and mental illness?

What do you think? Is most of what we suffer with self-inflicted?

Part of the solution, as opposed to simply recognizing the problem and doing nothing about it including even thinking about it, is revealed in how people live in relation to the principle of cause and effect.

Fitness and optimum nutrition are absolutely essential to SUSTAIN a healthy functional human long-term. Without consistent workouts, progressive athletic training and a clean, whole food diet reinforced with dietary supplements, it’s simply not possible to stay lean and free of chronic disease life-long.

Thinking as a scientist, how can we possibly take on the forces of Nature that exist independent of our perception of them? Easy. Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Entropy, oxidation, radiation and gravity all directly affect me and “Me” is what it’s all about, at least from “my” point of view. So first we observe and analyze, then we calculate and take action.

Without the “me” in this equation, there is nothing to perceive, consider or debate. If I don’t exist the entire matter is moot or closed, meaning it has no practical value. In the context of my existence therefore, if I’m dead there’s no point to a discussion about anything, because in essence I simple can’t. A person who doesn’t exist can’t have a discussion about their own existence.

So do you see what I mean by individual sustainability and its importance? You have to be alive and keep your brain intact in order to think about whatever you’re doing. Dead men tell no tales and share no secrets from the grave.

Like philosopher and mathematician Bertrand Russel, I take a step back, analyze it all and live by reason. I relate to things I can measure and validate using my five sense organs (sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing) and/or instruments of technology that can measure things impossible for human senses to detect directly, like telescopes and microscopes. Russel said, “Believe what is, don’t believe what isn’t, and for everything else, suspend judgment.”

So when it comes to the interpretation of truth or “reality”, don’t be too hasty. Science itself teaches that certainty doesn’t exist, and Einstein said if you want to learn about yourself and relative truth, study nature.

When I “die” and I’ll use this term very lightly, the principal “I” that dies, as in my consciousness, my identity, my self-awareness or the thing that I am that gives me a sense of my individual identity, perhaps a being of light, that “I” will cease to exist.

It turns off when I expire just like how a light bulb turns off when you hit the switch. Go ahead. Walk into a room and look at the light when it’s on. Now turn it off. Could it really be that simple? Yes it could.

When my lights go out, meaning when my DNA ceases to project my consciousness in the form of bioelectrical energy, a type of living, animated energy that flashes like lightning across the sky in the 100 billion neurons in my brain, I will become and go back to the same place I was before I started. Nowhere and nothing, and I for one, find great comfort in accepting this logical postulate.

Now what has any of this got to do with sustainability?

The short answer is everything! Your philosophy or outlook on life is what determines your pattern of life. What you believe is what you achieve (or grieve). So in the most general sense, we are limited or not primarily by ourselves and by what we believe, accept as real or deny.

Do you want to suffer with the masses? Do you crave the same pain, disability or disease pathology as your parents or grandparents, or would you prefer to live free from disease so you can train, study, grow and travel for the rest of your life? Do you believe it’s possible to live without disease and infection, to live without being a slave to negative emotions and fear? I do.

If we took an objective telescopic view of your lifestyle right now and analyzed it, what would we find? Is your current life strategy and pattern of living day-to-day sustainable? In practical terms, I’m talking about your diet, your exercise pattern, your sleep routine, the work you do and the relationships you keep. Is your life when viewed as an independent living ecosystem sustainable long-term?

If so, I commend you for taking this approach and for being truly wise, but if not, why not? Only you, only we ourselves are capable of making whatever changes are necessary. Primum non nocere. Edge that into your brain.

First, do no harm. Sustaining yourself in a state of optimum health and wellness on every possible level is your first and only obligation, and yes, this task is much more difficult than trying to save the world, which I suppose, is why so many of us choose to do just that. Trouble is the world can’t be saved, at least not by us. Put the oxygen mask on your own face first.

As always, stay well and live free! Dr.C