Posts Tagged ‘selfishness’

A while back I was hiking in one of my favorite cities in the world – San Francisco. My hike began in Muir Woods, home to some of the giant redwoods that towered over my head like skyscrapers as I walked beneath them. Their perspective here on earth dwarfed mine by hundreds, if not thousands, of years.


My hike continued up nearby Mt. Tamalpais. As I perched at the top of the mountain, I gazed back down at the once towering redwoods, noticing how they now looked like little more than tiny toothpicks dotting the landscaped. I turned to my right and saw the mighty Pacific Ocean, stretching as far as the eye could see out into the blue oblivion of the horizon. The only object to disrupt its smooth surface was an occasional ocean freighter, which appeared as little more than a spec of dust in its vastness.


My hike concluded that day with a walk across the majestic Golden Gate Bridge. As I admired the beauty of San Francisco flowing over the hills like its famous fog, a HUGE ocean freighter steamed beneath me. I was in awe of its size and mused over how tiny it once looked lost amid the blue of the Pacific Ocean. It was in that moment, awash in all these different perspectives, that I realized that if there are 7 billion people living on this planet, then there must be 7 billion different perspectives of reality, all coexisting in the same space at the same time based on each person’s experience in life.


This past weekend I heard about something Google was doing with its Google Maps. The company was actually trying to communicate all those different individual realities of the world based on a person’s unique perspective. For example, to a Russian, Google Maps communicated that Crimea was part of their country. To a Ukrainian, the map looked different. To a Palestinian, Jerusalem was their capital. To an Israeli, Jerusalem was theirs.


This is a problem, and I think we are moving in the wrong direction in our world.


Don’t get me wrong. I strongly support the perspective of the individual. In fact, my personal mission statement declares, “… for when each person can celebrate themselves for who they are and what they have to offer the universe…”. I believe it is vital that we understand and celebrate our individuality and bring our special gift into the world . . . but never at the cost of the greater good. You see, my mission statement goes to say, “… then we will be able to celebrate and honor all people and the natural environment of which we are a part.”


I am worried about the current direction our human perspective is going, especially here in the U.S, but I believe that same perspective is also taking root throughout the world. Between our divisiveness in world views, our lack of trust in anything, the disappearance of any real truth if it does not agree with our individual ones, and our lack of compassion and understanding while expressing our individuality, I believe we have lost our way and tethering to what the possibility of being human has to offer. We are putting self above the whole, and I do not believe this is a strategy toward peace, a greater good, or the magnificent achievements of which we are capable. This individuality turns us away from caring, collaboration and problem solving and pushes us toward selfishness and ego-centered myopic views.


We are better than this. I know we are. I have seen and witnessed our magnificence personally.


We must not let this selfishness grab hold of us and lead us. That is not the pathway to our future. Our future resides in the ability to celebrate the individual in the context of, and commitment to, a greater vision for the whole. Absent of this understanding, we will never be able to realize the stunning potential we humans have and are capable of here in the Universe.


And that is what we must strive for.


“We are all angels with but one wing and only when we embrace each other can we fly.”

  — Luciano de Crescenzo


The Internet is an amazing invention. In many ways it has brought the world together as one and connected people across distances that we never imagined could be crossed. And yet, the Internet has also facilitated an individuality, a loneliness, a separation into silos of people, cultures, and societies.


I have no desire to argue the value of one over the other. They both do, and can, coexist in the same place at the same time.


I merely want to highlight a hope that among all that separation we somehow find a way to connect and unite behind something much bigger than ourselves or the individual. We are losing the connective tissue of society’s body, and when that happens, the integrity of the body begins to break down.


We must all make an effort to find and commit to something bigger than ourselves. We must all seek out that thread that sews us together more so than crowing about that unique quality that makes us different.


The truth is, we are the same people we were 20 years ago, 50 years ago, 100 years ago. What has changed are the tools around us. We must use them to build our humanity and community, rather than tear it apart.



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