Notes for the Debate: Vivir Bien / Buen Vivir
Let’s walk with our backs toward the future and our eyes on the past so we can find our way to utopia.
Follow the debate in Systemic Alternative and learn more about what prominent authors have emphasized. The following includes a few excerpts from the Systemic Alternatives – Analysis for Global Change:
What is Vivir Bien?
Is it an idea that reclaims ethical principles and knowledge? A practice or proposal of the Andean indigenous peoples? A philosophy? A paradigm for civilization? A “cosmic ethics”? A cosmovision?
The Core Elements of Vivir Bien
A central element is the assumption that human beings are part of nature, that we must overcome the anthropocentric (or human-centered) view of the world, because people are one component of a larger community that is Mother Earth, the Pachamama, in which everything is alive.
[Pablo Dávalos] Buen Vivir expresses a different relationship between human beings and their social and natural environment. Buen Vivir incorporates a human, ethical and holistic dimension into the relationship between human beings and own history as well as with nature.1
[Josef Estermann] Everything has life, nothing is simply inert matter. (…) the universe, or Pacha, is not a machine or a giant mechanism that organizes itself and moves simply by mechanical laws, as stated by the modern European philosophers, especially Descartes and his followers. Pacha is rather a living organism in which all parts are related to one another, in constant inter-dependence and exchange. The basic principle of any “development” should be, then, life (kawsay, qamaña, jakaña) in its totality, not only that of humans or animals and plants, but of the whole Pacha.2
[Alberto Acosta and Eduardo Gudynas] Buen vivir is a plural concept, both for its cultural context and also because of the need to adjust it to different environmental frameworks.4