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Sunday, 30 August 2009

'The God of sustainability is punishing me', Patricia said when she got a heavy stomach ache after eating a typical Swiss 'bratwurst' (sausage). We just finished a doctoral seminar on the role of reflexivity in the academics and asked ourselves many questions on our behavior as sustainability professionals, researchers and individuals. Reflexivity (read: daily questioning if what you're doing is the right thing to do) is not an easy task and I have tried to get a grip of it through writing three small stories for my professors.

The SenseMaster
One day a HSG student knocked on the gate of the monastery. The SenseMaster opened and looked at him friendly.
´What can I do for you my friend?´
´They always ask me to reflect more, but I never know how. For hours I sit in my room pondering upon things and I don´t feel it´s getting me any further. What should I do?´
´Leave your room and stop pondering because it will make you crazy. Go out to the meadows and breathe deeply. Inhale the scent of spring and fresh cow stool. Open your eyes to the blossoming beauty of nature and touch the little buts peeping out of their winter harnesses. Hear the birds singing and the church bells ringing. Taste the red berries you find while scratching your skin to the plant´s needles. Then sit on a bench and relax´.
´But what about all the papers I need to write Master?´
´Your brain can tell you many things. But it´s your senses that speak the truth. If you keep them out, restrained reflexivity will be yours. Is that what you want?´

The sun and the moon were sitting in their lazy chairs, smoking cigars and narrating about the good things in life.
´It´s wonderful you shine your light so that the people have guidance in the dark, but if it wasn´t for me, they would become depressed and start drinking´, the sun said to the moon.
´Well, it´s great that you warm the earth so that things can grow, but if I wouldn´t be there, they would all burn´, the moon replied to the sun.
Then the little stars arrived and stepped on the veranda.
´Forgive us, dear sun and moon, for being so unpolite, but don´t you think the earth needs both of you? Is it not about who is more important, but rather about collaboration? Only by giving each other space, the people can work and rest. Weren´t we all created to serve this process? If one of us acts separately from the other, things will get messed up big time. Why can´t you forget about yourself and be happy about what you contribute to the larger whole?
The sun and the moon had stopped rocking their chairs and smiled to each other. Sometimes, these little stars really made a point.

Yin and Yang in Wonderland
Once upon a time there was a little princess who thought she knew everything. The way she talked, the way she walked, the way she ate, the way she slept. Many times she had reflected upon these activities and she was convinced there was no better way to practice them. Then one day when she was walking her walk, she found a frog on her path.
´I like the way you walk, but do you think you can walk that way when climbing a mountain?´
´Who says I want to climb a mountain, I´m fine here on flat grounds´.
´But this way, you will never be able to enjoy the view or see what´s on the other side´.
The princess stopped her pace and frowned her pretty face. She couldn´t remember she ever had stopped, but this frog looked at her with eyes of the future. All those years of reflections suddenly seemed useless. It was as if time caught up with her like a boomerang.
In the weeks after, she learnt to trust the frog and the new horizons he made her acquainted with. The more he taught her, the less knowledgeable she felt. But it was worth it because you know what happened next.

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