Interconnection

Understanding the truth of Individuality, one might imagine that individuality is all that matters, leading to an "every man for himself" philosophy of radical independence. However, this would be a mistake.

We are all connected to one another through a great strand of life. However, our predominant philosophies today see people as self-interested, utility-maximizing agents. As a natural result, the systems that arise from them foster isolation and competition, rather than connection and cooperation.


No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man's death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
John Donne

Ancient philosophies (for example animism), modern science (for example quantum physics), and the esoteric cores of our major religions (for example Gnostic Christianity) speak to this truth.

However, most of our modern systems are based on a more Cartesian view of humanity, emphasizing the notion of self, and diminishing the notion of Self. This leads to systems that don’t support people well, because they don’t support the whole truth. It leads to systems of competitive education, of housing with no shared space, of television and private automobiles, all of which make for a deep loneliness in the modern world.

Therefore:

Aim to foster connection, in our culture internally and in what we put out into the world. Take special care to foster connection in four ways: between people (empathy), within oneself (self-awareness), between various facets of oneself and between oneself and the environment (wholeness), and between different facets of the environment (integration).

Internally, foster rituals of reflection (for example, Regular Self-Reflection, and Unfolding), connection (for example, Mutual Trust, Communal Dinners), and wholeness (for example, Embodiment at Work). Externally, work towards building neighborhoods that have physical patterns for connection (for example, Common Green), where there is a gradient between the public realm and private realm (for example, Six Foot Porches), and where there is space for reflection (for example, Quiet Backs and Connection to Nature).

Published May 5, 2019