Human beings are profoundly relational beings. While we all may enjoy some alone time once in a while, we hardly can imagine to always remain alone. Isolation is one of the most hurtful punishments. We also know that being seen or acknowledged by others is one of the basic needs we experience. It is telling and describes the importance of relationships for us.
The way this is often translated into everyday life is through a need for others to care about us. Especially when seeing ourselves in the center of our own interest. May it be in receiving or in being able to give. In a way, these are the same behaviors. If there is a focus on one partner in the relationship, there automatically is a lack of balance for at least one person in the relationship.
A different level of perception is when there is a concentration on our peers. Those who are our family, friends or partners in some way. Here again, we’ll find one-sided partnerships as the focus would be either on an inside group or on the larger whole.
The interesting thing is, that there are always good arguments for focusing on ourselves or for focusing on our group. Depending on the result we want to achieve it is perfect to focus on ourselves or on a specific group.
What is lacking on both levels, is the ability to see ourselves or our group within something larger than ourselves and caring for that.
What we need to have is a set of principles we connect to the space we live in. These principles serve us as guidelines, they tell us what is being accepted as serving the community we live in. They also help us to be clear about the things that don’t serve that community. Today, we are living in a connected economy. Thus the community we live in and which is part of something larger than ourselves can only be earth and its global population.
Already the ability to know the things which aren’t good for our community would help to distinguish between things we do and don’t do. Taking this leap before thinking about ourselves would solve a lot of problems.
Marcus Aurelius said it with fewer words: “That which is not good for the bee-hive cannot be good for the bees.”