Define Sustainability


A reader of my blog suggests my understanding of the definition for the word sustainability to be at odds with the definition that the rest of the world or at least scientific community uses. He quotes the Cambridge Dictionary – “to cause or allow something to continue for a period of time” or in the case of sustainable development, the Brundtland definition:

Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

For contrast, as displayed in the image above, I use the definition of sustainability from the dictionary on my iPhone a billion people around the world are using.


Linguistically Speaking

On the surface, this question appears an interesting one since I frequently argue why the constitution of our lovely country, the United States of America, mentions the right to freedom numerous times, yet has failed to provide a succinct definition of freedom in the same document that could cement those rights (and obligations). So, it is indeed a good idea to base the interpretation of a term on the definition of the term.

First, to suggest the integrity of a definition comes from a dictionary is foolery. Instead, a dictionary is a representation, a derivative of how the terms are used in society – a consequence not the cause. Second, if you listen to linguistic experts, like Noam Chomsky, you will realize the interpretation of languages is in constant flux, only meant to infer a common understanding no matter what the linguistic vehicle of said understanding becomes. Meaning, the integrity of the definition is secondary to the agreed-upon interpretation of the term.


Absolutisms Defy Nature

My brief interaction with this reader already produced three different, competing, and incompatible definitions of sustainability. Here is my response to the reader suggesting mine needs revision:

The definition and usage of the term sustainability refer to a maintained level (see attached definition), which indicates absolutism of outcome, or better, a linear progression of infinite outcome. Real scientists know a relativity theory, by which nature operates, does not produce or guarantee linear outcomes. A relativity theory shaped by renewal – as the cause – can create, at best, pockets of temporal sustainability as a consequence. Confounding cause and consequence of leads to grave depravity of reason (Nietzsche).

That you can change your expectation of outcome (to fit your thesis) to a different value of absolutism – along the way does – not make it less of an evolutionary fallacy. A plurality of absolutisms is not equal to a  theory of relativity. It may feign a relativity theory to those who do not comprehend the underlying principles. By the law of entropy, a consequence of temporal sustainability does not revert to renewal at its cause. In the same way, a final score in soccer is no indication of gameplay.


Financial Games

Sustainability in finance is supported by evolutionary incompatible principles, using stale monisms of absolutisms related to the type of distribution of assets unrelated to the innate risk of the asset, and a reason why the usage of the term sustainability supports my interpretation.

Again, real scientists know nothing on our planet or universe is sustainable, as I explain extensively in this piece I wrote on the subject. We must then conclude the dynamic equilibrium upon which nature depends is, therefore, not linear at all. In fact, all resources on our planet evolve in a renewable fashion, interdependent, and relative to ours. Einstein developed his theory of relativity one hundred years ago, and to date, our efforts to become responsible citizens are still held hostage by incompatible strongholds of artificial absolutism.


Evolutionary Fallacy

We can go into esoteric discussions that lead us to argue whether a circle is a line, and in an extreme case, a circle is. But such a discussion defeats the purpose of understanding the difference between a circle and a line. Sustainability, as implemented by finance, is a flat-earth interpretation of how nature evolves, a confounding of consequence and cause.

I would not attempt to sell the snake-oil of financiers, with limited evolutionary comprehension or knowledge, to people who expect not to be fooled again by evolutionary ignorance. If we have learned anything from Einstein, we should know a real-world of relativity cannot be accurately represented by the monisms of absolutism portrayed by sustainability.



As I have explained ad nauseam, the principles of the relativity of nature’s renewal are diametrically opposite to the make-believe suppositions of sustainability. The definition of sustainability can be made to appear like the definition of renewal, in the same way, the circle mentioned above can be considered a line; the underlying principles of sustainability, and thus its compliance with nature, will not be the same.

We must deploy the highest normalization of evolutionary truth for humanity to adapt to nature in the most effective way possible. An adaptability that can only be achieved by playing the same game nature plays, that of evolutionary renewal instead of sustainability.



Online commenting is a waste of time. Schedule a 30 minute 1:1 video-conference with Georges instead, even if to simply better understand his writing in this or other articles.

Georges van Hoegaerden
Georges van Hoegaerden
Georges is the Founder and Managing Director of method41. From analyzing the workings of policy, capital, and innovation, Georges noticed how these siloed constructs are woefully incompatible with the principles nature deploys to produce regenerative performance. With humanity stuck in a fabric of its own making, Georges set out to reinvent the operating-systems of humanity to fix the theory that determines what humanity can discover, aiming to fundamentally improve human adaptability to nature's entropy.
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