Principles of Integral Sustainable Development (ISD)


Dimensions and Principles


The challenges we all face are not simply political. The challenges have many sources, many dimensions. They are also economic, cultural, societal, ecological, human, and spiritual. (For details, click “Challenges Facing Philippine Society”)

The solutions, therefore, must address these different sources, these dimensions of the challenges. An agenda for change and transformation cannot simply address corruption and neglect the other challenges that not only affect corruption but also add their own unique burden to the country.

The long reign of traditional politics is ruining our country. Filipinos are ready to join a new movement to recover the Philippines' true identity as the Pearl of the Orient. They seek profound relief that can come only from a truly integral and comprehensive agenda for sustainability. MISSION (Movement of Imaginals for Sustainable Society thru Implementation, Organization, and Networking) shares that longing and quest with them.

The Seven Dimensions of Integral Sustainable Development

MISSSION recognizes seven dimensions of authentic integral sustainable development (ISD). MISSION pursues these seven dimensions of ISD in its vision of a sustainable society.

Spiritual Development. Modern science, especially astrophysics, is providing evidence that we exist in a profoundly interconnected, living and intelligent universe; that the human species is not a mere product of blind chance and therefore has deep purpose; that our brain structure and other aspects of our biology are geared towards freedom; and that Divine Intelligence permeates the continuous creation and evolution of worlds. As part and parcel of this universal creation, we affirm the divine nature of the human being. A sense of the sacred is deeply Filipino and underlies all aspects and dimensions of a truly integral sustainability. MISSIONwill nurture the conscious understanding of our spiritual potentials and will encourage Filipinos to mobilize the tremendous divine potentials within for the good of our country and the world.

Human Development. We will guarantee the right of every Filipino to the development of his or her full human potential always mindful and within the context of contributing to the welfare of society and the planet. We also affirm human dignity and the rights and responsibilities of every human being as self-directed, spiritual individuals with unique hopes and aspirations for themselves and for the common good.

Societal Development. We will encourage governance processes that seek to eradicate poverty and advance the quality of life for all. We will mainstream moral and effective governance that will remove corruption, improve the nation’s education and health, end conflict, secure peace, provide adequate housing, strengthen family and community life, and achieve sustainable population levels, among others.

Cultural Development. Culture has the power to transform and civil society has a key role to play in this process. We will institute a cultural revolution, a peaceful cultural revolution that will inspire and propel reforms in culture itself, especially education. These reforms would then have the power to re-invent government and business and lead to a Philippine renaissance.  Culture, especially the creative arts, is going to become essential in the renewal of our society. This is an exciting dimension of excellence that has yet to be fully mobilized in our quest for a sustainable society.

Political Development. We will redesign the political system so that it is open to the participation not only of people in government, but also those in civil society, and business. In this way, we encourage an approach that involves and evolves society as a whole. We will ensure that justice and equality, transparency and accountability become the hallmarks of a more moral and effective governance.

Economic Development. We will broaden the foundations of the economy and make its benefits more inclusive. We will align and harness investment, trade, financial, monetary, and fiscal, especially taxation policies towards genuine integral sustainable development that eradicates poverty and improves the quality of life for all.

Ecological Development. We will reframe development policy to recognize and respect the environment as among the most important sources of life of a nation. Ecological balance and harmony must thus underpin and inform national development. To achieve this end, MISSION will encourage educational efforts to understand the full implication of Nature as a Divine creation and, which, therefore, has its own value and integrity beyond narrow human intentions.

Principles of Integral Sustainable Development (ISD)

Certain principles are contained in these dimensions of development, principles to guide the use of these seven development dimensions in day-to-day reality.MISSION will adhere to these principles as we, individually and collectively, seek to change our country. MISSION will use these ISD principles in designing, implementing, and assessing its policies, programs, and projects.

Spiritual Development Principle

1. We adhere to the principle ofsocially engaged spirituality. Our task of inner and societal transformation requires access to the deepest sources of meaning and identity that we can tap so that we can continue to have strength and do not burn out. We will therefore seek and nurture our own paths to a sense of the Divine in all that exists.

We advance our spirituality not for ourselves, but ultimately to serve others and to nurture the world. Our search is for a spirituality that will not take us away from this world but will give us the creative power to manifest in world affairs the implicit essence of the evolutionary process of Divine Creation.

Socially engaged spirituality, while not equivalent to religion per se, respects different religious traditions and beliefs and recognizes the common spiritual and moral underpinnings of the nation and of humanity.As we deepen our own spiritual work, we respect the different spiritual or religious paths that others may take.

Socially engaged spirituality will be vital and necessary to the survival of our society and humanity in the 21stcentury.  It will be like water is to a fish. This is especially so because the 21st century will be an age of elite globalization and extreme materialism, governed by one or a few superpowers seeking their own narrow advantage. In addition, technological developments will increasingly seek to mechanize human beings and societies. Only a spiritually grounded worldview and societal structure will survive the violent challenges of the future. We will need a spiritual beacon and new spiritual faculties to navigate these treacherous waters of hyper-consumerism, technological imperialism, military adventurism, and meaninglessness as we are hurled with accelerating force into an uncertain future.

Human Development Principles

2. We affirm the importance of developing the full human potential of each and every human being so that they will be enabled to contribute what is unique in them to society and the greater purposes they yearn to serve. Transforming a country will require the best in all of us.

We therefore commit to continually develop our professional competence even as we purify ourselves, overcoming residues of jealousy, pride, power-seeking, untruthfulness, hidden motives, and other fallen aspects of our human nature. We will advance our cause with courage and commitment and be ready to make the necessary sacrifices to create a new world.

We also acknowledge that the human being is more than his/her two IQ or cognitive intelligences: that is, linguistic and logical/mathematical intelligence. In addition, every human being has 10 other intelligences including visual, kinesthetic, musical, emotional, social, naturalistic, moral, existential, appreciative, and spiritual intelligence. We will support initiatives that provide opportunities for citizens to undergo a self-directed process of awakening to their full human potential.

The increasing complexity and survival of societies and the world will require the full development of all these aspects of human intelligences and capacities. MISSION recognizes the staggering implications of these newly established scientific image of the human being for education and training programs of institutions. MISSIONwill make available to its members and the general public, training modules geared to drawing out these awe-inspiring human potentials and place it in the service of the world.

3. Because of the divine creative essence of the human being, we respect and encourage the need for self-determination in each and every person. We can also call this principle, dignified individuation. The creative essence of a human being cannot emerge if it is unconsciously subservient to all kinds of external constraints. However, we encourage a kind of self-determination that is consciously nurturing of others, of the whole. This is the essence of that central Filipino value of pagkikipagkapwa, a sense of self that is mindful of the welfare of others.

Cultural Development Principles

4. Dignified individuation and socially engaged spirituality flourish best in a free, moral, and vibrant culture.  The outer cultural world should be a place that is conducive to the unfolding of the multiple intelligence and other capacities of the human being. Only a free, moral, compassionate, meaningful and creative culture can do this.

The path of inner transformation enables us to build a culture powerful enough to withstand our testing as a people and the trials of humanity. When individuals, who have experienced profound change, come together to create a new world, then we will have the beginnings of a culture so powerful that even the most cunning state dictator or powerful empire in the world will not be able to suppress. It will be a free, moral, and vibrant culture, transforming everything that it touches, including but not limited to the very institutions of culture itself.

5. Because all forms of education are critical to shaping a culture, we will support or advance integral educational approaches, both formal and informal, that effectively draw out the full human potential that resides in each and every one of us. Current modes of education make millions of Filipinos sleep through the greatest challenges of the country and the world. Instead of apathy, our education should draw out wonder and excitement; instead of meaninglessness, a sense of purpose; instead of cowardice, courage; instead of rote memory, a deep understanding of the logic and nature of a subject matter; instead, of dead static thought, critical and living thinking; instead of a total reliance on the past, creative thinking; instead of a mechanical view of the human being, a sense of awe at the vast powers that lie dormant in each human being; instead of selfishness and egotism, a sense of responsibility and service for the world.

6. We affirm the need for unity in cultural diversity. We will be sensitivity to and respect the diverse cultures including religions throughout the Philippine archipelago – an approach that builds a truly free and vibrant culture. We recognize that innovations happen at the intersection between diverse cultures. We will encourage the different cultures to come together as sambayanan, as one country, in the pursuit of trueginhawa: true freedom, true justice, true prosperity, and true solidarity in society and with nature, all on the foundation of socially responsible and spiritually active Filipinos.

7. We support the need for a holistic science and appropriate technology so that societal developments, especially economic initiatives, are achieved within the context of genuine integral sustainability.We live in an age where rapid advances in science and technology are fundamentally restructuring the foundations of societies and shaping the destinies of billions of human beings and the planet. Unfortunately, science and technology are not inherently benign and neutral. They often come in forms that harm nature, human beings, and societies.

We need only think of widespread scientific materialism, massive pesticide poisoning, global climate change, genetic engineering and cloning, and the advent of half-human and half-robots to sense the pervasive role of science and technology in our lives. We will ensure that, in our search for a sustainable society, we will promote healthy, more holistic and appropriate kinds of science and technologies, the kinds that nurture natural processes and life in all its forms and diversity and aid the spiritual advancement of humanity.

Political Development Principles

8.  State institutions are a special challenge because they are the most feudal and backward of all institutions in Philippine society. Yet in the State also clearly resides the potential for truly advancing a sustainable society.The State can truly function for the people if we move away from a narrow state-centered approach to governance. Instead we affirm our support for a society-centered governance. The country faces many, diverse and complex challenges, many of which are beyond the realm of politics. We need to engage the key actors in the economy (business, large and small) and culture (various sectors of civil society).

9. When we affirm a society-centered governance, we simultaneously commit to advancing authentic participatory democracy. We engage citizens from all walks of life, whether they be in culture, the economy, or directly in politics. With genuine participation, we advance closer to the true meaning of democracy, the rule of the people. MISSION therefore envisions the birth of a new kind of direct democracy where key governance decision-making does not reside solely among politicians. Rather it involves the meaningful participation of engaged citizens, even if these citizens may not necessarily be involved directly as politicians and public “servants”.

10. Direct democracy also leads us to the principle of subsidiarity on all levels of governance. This principle affirms the right of any political unit to pursue self-defined goals and objectives as long as it does not conflict with legitimate objectives at the national level. We will encourage national solutions only when local initiatives fail to address a serious problem. Mission will pursue governance policies and programs that would empower legitimate local initiatives.

11. We will gear our efforts at society-centered governance, participatory democracy, and subsidiarity not primarily as ends in themselves but as means to achieve wide-ranging social justiceand equity before the law. Among others, this would mean spatial equity, where governance ensures that integral sustainable development happens in all regions of the nation; inter-generational equity, where the present generation does not develop at the expense of the future generations and vice-versa; and intra generational equity, where the needs of all sectors of society, young and old, are truly addressed in a balanced manner.

Economic Development Principles

12. We uphold the importance of broad-based and inclusive economic development. We will seek means to broaden the economic foundations of the economy. And, at the same time, we will make sure that the fruits of economic activity are shared more equally among Filipinos and the different regions and provinces of the country.

13. We aspire to ground the true essence of economic activity on solidarity, not mere competition. Therefore, MISSION will advance an economic approach that recognizes the vital relationships between the different actors within the economy as well as the mutual interdependence of the market with the different institutions in other realms of society.

The battle cry of “global competitiveness” has created an economic wasteland and has driven millions into joblessness and poverty. One of the first tasks of a transformational culture is to gradually shift this neo-liberal economy of competition, which is declining globally as a theoretical framework, to one of solidarity or association, including among the different institutions of society. Entrepreneurship and business will be conducted with a greater emphasis on social, human and ecological responsibility and not for pure profit alone. Indeed, in this context, the Biblical injunction is strikingly relevant:  We shall all live “not by bread alone, but by every Word that comes from the mouth of God”.

14. After creating the proper organizing principles of inclusiveness and solidarity, MISSION will encourage the installation of a green economy.Among others, farms will run on ecological agriculture. Forests will thrive through the use of sustainable forestry. Fishing will be guided by an appreciation of the carrying capacity of aquatic resources. Energy production will rely on the use sun, wind, hydrogen, third generation biofuels, geothermal, and other renewable resources. Transportation will rely on mass transport using hydrogen fuels. We need to build an economy that is based on a true respect for and in partnership with Nature.

15. These kinds of new innovations in the economy will not happen without the emergence of a new breed of business people. MISSION will encourage and assist the mainstreaming of social entrepreneurs.  This new breed of businesswomen and men respect employees and customers and advance their welfare and that of the larger society. Social entrepreneurs are essential for creating the economies of sustainable societies.

Societal Development Principles

16. We affirm our love for country as a vital principle for development. Without this love for the whole that has nurtured us from birth and all the stages of our development, we will wreck the very foundations of our own individual, spiritual, moral, and societal development. True citizenship transcends the boundaries of our ethnic and linguistic origins. We will search for solutions that benefit the country as a whole while at the same time respecting the positive contributions that our various indigenous and local cultures can contribute.

17. Because we love our country and value human life, we will unceasingly pursue the goal of peace, order, and national unity and put an end to the wars that have pitted Filipinos against Filipinos, families against families, wars that have fragmented our nation. We will pursue this peace always on the foundations of social justice and respect for our diverse identities, the root solutions to most of our conflict.

18. We cannot say we love our country and we cannot hope to achieve peace and order if we allow traditional governance to condemn millions of Filipinos to a life of poverty and want. We affirm the unceasing pursuit of poverty eradication and quality of life for all.We cannot continue to achieve progress at the expense of others. We will launch new initiatives or continue existing efforts to improve the quality of life of the poor, including but not limited to economic sustainability. A vibrant culture, an associative economy and a responsible governance are all essential ingredients in helping the poor help themselves out of poverty.

19. Any country can support only a certain number of people per unit area of land before it plunges into the slippery slope of unsustainable and destructive development. We affirm our pursuit of a sustainable population for the country.

20. We assert our national sovereignty and self-determination that is founded on a true love of country and will guard against selling the nation’s patrimony for a few pieces of gold. This thrust of self-determination at the national level complements our support for dignified individuation.

21. At the same time, we recognize the principle of appropriate global cooperation. MISSION sees our nationhood within the larger context of the universal human as elaborated in the dimension of spiritual development. We will therefore continue to nurture our innate sense of courtesy and hospitality to our non-Filipino brothers and sisters within the context of mutual respect and exchange of cultures. We will also engage in global cooperation as long as this leads to the advancement of a planetary civilization that champions universal human rights and responsibilities.

Within this context, our love for our country does not mean we embrace knee-jerk nationalism or blind patriotism. We seek to meaningfully engage all nations of the world in creating global arrangements that will benefit humanity as a whole. We envision a world order where each country can contribute its own form of excellence for the benefit of the whole. But we will abhor unilateralism in world affairs and we will resist the imposition of a global order based on the exercise of raw economic, political, or military power.

22. We recognize and practice true gender sensitivity and equality that respects the unique contributions, capacities and needs of both women and men. In this context, MISSION wants to make a distinction between two pairs of gender categories that are often interchanged and misunderstood and therefore makes gender discourses more complicated than normal.

The first pair is masculine and feminine. The second pair is male and female. The first pair refers primarily to a soul quality and the second pair to a biological quality. Therefore, it is quite possible for a male to have feminine qualities and for a female to have masculine qualities.

MISSION, in advancing gender sensitivity and equality, recognizes the inherent biological differences between male and female and takes this into consideration in its training, mentoring, organizing, and other initiatives. In addition, MISSION will nurture the unique soul qualities of the masculine and the feminine especially in its design of new societal forms. The movement is aware that global civilization today has an unhealthy over-reliance on masculine qualities to organize and run the world. True healing can only come about when more authentic feminine qualities enter into the mainstream.

23. The massive work of poverty eradication, advancing quality of life for all, peace and order, global cooperation, national self-determination, and other principles cannot be done by government alone. We affirm the importance of societal threefolding partnerships in advancing all the principles mentioned above and to follow below and ultimately to attain a sustainable society thru integral sustainable development.  Societal threefolding is the mobilization of resources, talents, and power of the three key actors and spheres of society: government actors in the sphere of the political, business actors in the sphere of the economic, and civil society actors in the sphere of the cultural. (See related society-centered governance discussed above.)

24. Institutional viability is important in mainstreaming all the principles mentioned. We cannot walk if our legs are crippled. We can pursue integral sustainable development if our societal institutions are corrupted, compromised, and inefficient. MISSION will infuse the latest advances in organizational learning and transformation, including the use of Theory U and Fifth Discipline Principles, among others, to vitalize the various institutions striving for a sustainable society.

Ecological Development Principles

25. We cannot achieve sustainability in our development if we destroy the very foundations of our sources of life. Ecological soundness is an important principle in our relationship with the integrity of creation. As we pursue our human and societal aspirations, MISSION will be mindful and respectful of the tremendous contributions of Nature to our own survival. We also acknowledge that Nature has an order of meaning independent of and transcending any utilitarian desires we may have of Her. We seek to create a partnership appropriate to the Divine order that pervades the planet. We will restore Nature where we have damaged Her and we will constrain and design our human activities to live in harmony with the rhythms and processes of Nature.

26. We affirm the importance of bio-geographical equity in our pursuit of ecologically sound development. This requires viewing development on the basis of bioregions, delineated along the diverse watersheds of our country. We affirm our intention to harness the uniqueness and the beauty of our bioregions to develop greater opportunities for communities located in the unique combinations of uplands, lowlands, and coastal waters across the country. Simultaneously a bio-geographical consciousness deepens our appreciation of and relationship with Nature.

27. We assert the importance community-based resource management approaches to the appropriate development of the natural resources of the country. The richness of Nature’s bounty is the heritage of all Filipinos, not a few privileged few. Many of the success stories connected with ecological restoration were achieved through widespread and meaningful community participation.

Each of the above principles and the initiatives that will arise from it, is valuable in itself. But they would even be of greater service if MISSION can find a way to integrate all the possible diverse initiatives that can be undertaken under each principle. In this way, we can achieve a critical mass of effects sufficient to transform Philippine society. The various principles, their initiatives, and their integrationwill be our entry points to the long but worthy journey towards integral sustainable development and a sustainable society.


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