Intentionally blind to the truth of our existence?
I am blind to something and if you are like me then you are likely to be blind to something. Why am I blind to this particular truth? Because, to get present to this truth leaves me no excuses. When I, you, we get present to this truth there are no escape routes. I, you, we become responsible for a ‘world that does not work’ and then the usual avenues of excuses and complaining are closed to us. For most of us that burden is so heavy to bear that we go about absolutely convinced of the opposite of what is so. Before I share this truth with myself and with you let me share with you what is so in the taken for granted, ordinary, mode of being.
The ordinary mode of existence: I am puny, I do not matter, I am not responsible
In our day to day existence we tell ourselves that we do not make a difference. That’s right we feel small, we occurs to ourselves as being insignificant in comparison to the powers that matter, that shape the world. We are puny in comparison to; the nation states; the institutions of the nation state including government, judiciary, the police; the global corporations that often wield more power than many nation states; and the media which decides that which gets attention and what gets ignored.
Take a look at the picture. Do you not see yourselves as one of those small dots – one amongst an ocean of small dots surrounded by, subservient to the powers that be? And do you not just give up – go with the flow, accepted practice, doing you best to fit into the way that the world is. If you have more gumption, more intelligence, you may make the effort to carve out a place for yourself in the world where you can simple be – rather like a hermit or a warlord, depending on your disposition.
Seeing ourselves so puny do we (you and I) not comfort ourselves with the notion that we ‘victims’ of the way that the world is? Do we not say that the way it is has nothing to do with us? Do we not escape any and all responsibility to do with the way that it is and the way it is not? And as such we can comfort ourselves saying the world may be ‘bad’ but we are ‘good’?
A funny thing happened in the office recently
I turned up at the office recently and talking with a member of leadership team I was confronted with what is so and I do not wish to face. What exactly am I talking about? I was told that my presence in the office was missed! He was telling me that it matters (to him, to the leadership team, to the company) whether I am present in and work out of the office. My automatic reaction? What are you talking about? I don’t matter to you, to the leadership team, to the company! I do matter to my clients and I take care of my clients – I make sure that I take care of my clients.
Then it hit me. How many times have I been told that I matter? How many people have told me that I matter? How many people have told me that I have changed their lives simply by being me and doing what I naturally do? What is my response – what goes on in my mind? Sometimes I discount what I am told, other times I am simply embarrassed and most of the time it is both. My reaction? “You cannot be talking about me. I am ordinary. I make no difference. You are just being nice. No, you cannot be serious, I’m just an ordinary fellow getting through life as best as I can.” Outwardly, I simply say “Thank you”. The conversation finishes, I am glad it is over and so I can forget about it.
‘Extra-ordinary’ living: I matter and I take the stand that I am responsible for EVERYTHING as it is and as it is not
I matter, you matter, they matter, we matter! Through our speaking and our acting – including that which we do not speak of and that which we do not do – we influence, shape and create the world we live in. Why is that? Because, our existence is like a wave that ripples and touches many others. We are waving all the time and so we are touching others all the time. Contrary, to our beliefs and our cultural worldview, we are NOT particles. No, we are waves: we are constantly touching others and being touched by others; we influence others and they influence us – all the time. This influence extends to our death – we touch others through our dying. And even beyond the grave we touch others with the legacy that we have left – either through action or inaction. Allow me to share a quote with you:
“We cannot be deceived. Men can and do destroy the humanity of other men, and the condition of this possibility is that we are interdependent. We are not self contained monads producing no effects on each other except our reflections. We are both acted upon, changed for good or ill, by other men; and we are agents who act upon others to affect them in different ways. Each of us is the other to the other. Man is a patient-agent, agent-patient, interexperiencing and interacting with his fellows.” RD Laing, The Politics of Experience
- whether I work here at home, with my clients at their offices or at the offices of the company I work for;
- whether I look my fellow human beings in their eyes and smile;
- whether I choose to let one of my fellow human beings cut into the main road from a side road given that I have the priority;
- whether I cycle to work or drive a gas guzzling car to work;
- whether I help the old man in the start that has fallen over and is lying on the pavement;
- whether and how I speak to you when we encounter each other in the office;
- where and how I spend my money..
EVERYTHING I, you, we speak or do not speak matters; EVERYTHING I, you, we do or do not do matters; EVERYTHING we focus or do not focus our time-money-effort on matters. I, you, we matter, ALL THE TIME. That is simply what goes with existing – being a part of the pattern called life.
EVERY action or inaction, no matter how small matters: we live in a non-linear world where small changes can have a huge impact. The ‘Butterfly’ principle shows that in the world as it is EVERYTHING is interconnected, interdependent AND a miniscule change, action, like a butterfly flapping its wings can change the weather half way across this planet.
Now more than ever I, you, we are enormously important and powerful. It is easier than ever for each SINGLE one of us to change the world. The internet, mobile telephony and social media allow us to come together and effect change in the world.
Two great examples of the impact we can make if we choose to make it
The first is our fellow human beings, in Brazil, putting their humanity into action and saving 30 stranded, in pain, dying dolphins. Their actions matter – notice that it started with one person moving from the beach into the sea and this set the cue for others to follow, to join in. And that video has been viewed over 2 million times.
People in Brazil save 30 beached dolphins:
The second video is part of the most talked about social campaign in existence today. It has been viewed over 69 million times and as a result Joseph Kony is now a well known name.
Final question: am I, are you willing to give up the delusion and live as ‘gods’ and shoulder the responsibility that comes with that?
I matter, you matter, they matter, we matter – that is simply what is so and it is even more so now, today, than any other time in our history. Our delusion is that we think, we believe and we go about our living from the context that “I am insignificant, I am puny, I do not matter. So I can do whatever I want as it has no impact on anyone else.” We do not leave it there. We add a fool’s errand on top of this delusion, actually it is only possible if this delusion is there as the foundation. What is this fool’s errand?
Fools errand: being deluded that I am puny, I am in signficant, I do not matter, I set about doing all manner of stuff to prove to myself, to you, to my work colleagues, to the world that I do matter. Hey look I matter, I am important, I am significant. Look at my job title. Look at my big, new house. Look at my latest, expensive car. Look at my clothes. Let me tell you where I went on holiday this year……
I can give up the fool’s errand and so can you. You and I can face up to the scariest (and most powerful) truth of all: you matter, I matter, we matter all the time. Everything that we do or do not do has an impact (especially now in the days of the internet and social media) and because of that you and I are 100% responsible for EVERYTHING that is so and is not so in this world. What an awesome responsibility that is. What an awesome opportunity that is. What an awesome context to operate from! And this context provides the access to live a transformed life.