From Me To We. My New Year’s Resolution

In 2019, we must move beyond the myth of the lone individual to recognize our deep interdependence and responsibilities for one another and nature.


Published:

It’s not likely that many of us will mourn the passing of 2018. It’s been a deeply troubled year defined by wildfires, floods, earthquakes, water shortages, financial chaos, political gridlock, flows of displaced persons, growth in the gap between rich and poor, the rise of dictatorial leaders, and a dire consensus warning from scientists on the impact of climate change.

I’ve been pondering my New Year’s resolution for 2019. Deep change is clearly needed. But what can I do that might measure up to the magnitude of the problem? A promise to turn down my thermostat? Buy an electric car? Give to a charity? Take in a refugee? The possibilities that come to mind—even those that might involve serious commitment—seem trivial, given the scale of the problem.

The problem isn’t me. It isn’t you. Nor is it those folks over there. The problem is we. The big we, humanity: What we believe, how we live, how we relate to one another and Earth. We have gotten something terribly wrong that we must now get right. But what? Do we even agree on the problem?

Perhaps moving forward begins with honoring our African roots—the birthplace of our species that produced the wisdom of “Ubuntu,” often translated as “I am because we are.” Ubuntu is a profound truth long ignored by so-called Western civilization, but now confirmed by the leading edge of contemporary science: Complex life exists—can exist—only in living communities in which organisms together create and maintain the conditions essential to their individual and collective existence.

Not only do we depend on one another, but our ability to live rests on the services contributed by the many members of Earth’s community of life—the bees that pollinate the flowers, the trees essential to the water cycle, the beetles that aid the decomposition of plants after their death, the microbes that digest my food so my body can use its energy and nutrients. Without these many, wondrously diverse beings, Earth would be just another dead rock floating in space.

I sense that humanity is awakening to a profound truth: We—the big we—thrive together, or we expire together. This comes with a recognition that many of the myths by which we live are falsehoods so divorced from reality that they threaten our mutual existence.

It is deeply deflating to realize just how much of what we call Western civilization is built on deceptions: The myth of the lone individual; the myth of freedom without responsibility for our neighbor; the myth that societies built on the exploitation of people and nature are advanced civilizations morally superior to the peoples they devastate; the myth that rule by the richest among us is a form of democracy.

And also, our society is built on the myth that our well-being is enhanced by institutions, technologies, and infrastructure that substitute financial transactions for caring relationships, and isolate us from one another. Too many of us live alone, travel in single-person cars, and buy whatever we need from Amazon.com with no need for contact with another living being, because society gives us few attractive alternatives. We celebrate our “freedom,” we wonder why mental health declines and suicides grow.

As we approach 2019, I see hopeful signs of widespread awakening to the truth that either we embrace the responsibilities of community life and thereby thrive, or we will perish together in the faux freedom of our isolation.

Everywhere I turn—from the spontaneous conversation a few nights ago with neighbors gathered for Christmas, to recent meetings in South Korea that included the mayor of Seoul, and to global strategy conversations with fellow members of the Club of Rome in Europe and Africa—I am finding an eager readiness for discussions about our global crisis and the path beyond it. These discussions cross the lines of race, religion, and class beyond anything I’ve previously experienced.

Conditioned to think and act as an isolated “me,” we may find it difficult to hold to the “we” space. Yet the “we” conversation is essential to the task of creating a truly civilized and democratic civilization that works for the whole of life.

So, my resolution for the New Year? To devote my time and energy at every opportunity to encouraging and engaging these conversations about getting from me to we. I hope you may consider making this a resolution for yourself as well.

David Korten wrote this article for YES! Magazine. David is co-founder of YES! Magazine, president of the Living Economies Forum, a member of the Club of Rome, and the author of influential books, including When Corporations Rule the World and Change the Story, Change the Future: A Living Economy for a Living Earth. His work builds on lessons from the 21 years he and his wife, Fran, lived and worked in Africa, Asia, and Latin America on a quest to end global poverty. Visit him at davidkorten.org. Follow him on Twitter @dkorten and Facebook.

This article was republished from YES! Magazine.

See also:
Can’t Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions - Try Being Kind To Yourself
To Solve Climate Change, We Need To Recognize Our Unity With All Of Nature

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Daily Astrology

August 26, 2019

In a note of beautiful synchronicity, the Goddess planet Venus is trine egalitarian Uranus on Women’s Equality Day! The Cosmos deserves a round of applause for its perfection. The late morning aspect casts an agreeable glow on the day’s events. Moods are…
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Alternative Health Directory

Browse all listings »

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

August 2019


Show More...
Show Less...
No Events
No Events

Free summer outdoor yoga sponsored by Mass Development and Dragonfly Wellness Center. Every Wednesday night through August 28th!   Participants must register below and bring a signed...

Cost: Free

Where:
Rogers Field
Devens, MA  01432


Sponsor: Yoga Anita
Telephone: 978-227-8297
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

August 29–September 1 After-death communication speaker and author Rebecca Austill-Clausen is helping to host this 4-day extravaganza of consciousness raising activities. Hundreds of well...

Where:
Crowne Plaza Philadelphia
260 Mall Blvd
King of Prussia, PA  19406
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
No Events

Learn to overcome spinal tensions through therapeutic postures, designed to decompress your spine and relieve pain. Taught by a certified yoga therapist, classes bring you through poses...

Cost: 5/$50

Where:
Bliss Through Yoga
484 Bedford St
East Bridgewater, MA  02333
View map »


Telephone: 508-331-3564
Contact Name: Janice O'Brien
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags