The individual and the collective

Most cultures in the modern world celebrate the individual. We are conditioning ourselves to be proud of our differences, our uniqueness. We teach it to our kids. Everyone everywhere wants to be a “leader”, the one that stands out, the one everybody worships and praises, the famous one on TV. The star.

As a result, nothing we humans do together feels right. There’s always something off with it. Have you ever looked at teams in sports, at work, anywhere?

In all works of fiction particularly, it’s a peculiar characteristic of ours. I tried looking for stories about teams and the results were a sad collection of “blah.” Most were stories about an individual in a team. The savior, the quarterback, the star player. Nothing more.

We are really bad at those.

For example, any movie about a team tells the story of the team’s formation. One hour and fifty minutes out of two hours of failures and maybe ten minutes of “success” for a finale.

And then everyone goes their separate ways!

As if to say that it’s so hard to get together correctly that we can only withstand it for short periods. Any longer and our brain melts and rots then we die a vegetable. Right?

If we cannot stand one another for very long, what is the logical end result in our society?

One word: war.

We are permanently at odds with each other. The only species in Creation that is basically always aimed at self destruction. If I can’t dominate your life, take advantage, even enslave you, then you’re no good to me and you must die.

It is rather funny that all religions speak about “love your neighbor as yourself.” Can we ever attain this? How? When? Does anyone have a good tutorial for that? An app maybe?

I guess the relevant question is: how much time do we have? Because at this rate, we will end up an endangered bunch really soon.

Luckily, there’s a method. It simply requires us to roll our sleeves and go against the grain and seek connection. Not the “connection” that the advertising industry uses to try and shove down our throats a product we have no need for, but CONNECTION. The ability to feel for others. The one thing that no other species is capable of.

It’s a long journey to get to “love your neighbor”, so for now, let’s have one good thought for our neighbor.

It is enough to break the cycle and turn our lives into a masterpiece of harmony and peace.

(Continued: A Good Throught for Others)