Article 55 quoted Zig Ziglar: “You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” The emphasis was on relating to other people, accommodating their needs and being flexible about cooperating. The goal was meeting all the needs: yours and theirs.
Article 56 taught that self stands in the way. Putting self in the background shifts the emphasis from personal gain to social gain. Bridling the self improves interaction with others.
Articles 36 and 37 discussed the benefit of teamwork in which a happy society orders its priorities to save individuals from disaster. Looking at housing supply and work force in the aggregate is a technique for distributing both houses and jobs with minimum disruptions. The individual laid-off worker is not alone when all of society is looking out for her. There is a safety net because in a small-scale disruption the overall supply is still adequate to cover everybody’s needs.
Take these ideas one step farther by blending self and others. Instead of being discrete entities that trade with each other, we shall all comprise one social organism that facilitates collaboration. Instead of being transactional (person-to-person), let’s be experiential (living this moment together).
“I am getting what I want in exchange for selling people what they want” changes to “we are getting what we want by working together.” For some, this is painful. Can the following illustration reduce the pain? I am happy to make sure that everybody has healthcare because I am included in “everybody.”
My most reliable access to healthcare is cooperatively making sure that you have healthcare. This is not a money exchange, not an employment. It is the benefit that accrues when we are all included in the same social organism that distributes healthcare. I have long said that what you give out comes back to you (article 12).
Competition as selfish materialism breaks my heart. People sometimes confuse getting ahead of the rent payments (which is good) with getting ahead of other people (which is evil). In athletic competition, you do not run faster than I do so that you can destroy me. You run faster than I do as a way of helping me envision being faster. We agree with each other that we are doing this so that we both will grow.
The business equivalent is companies that improve the market by being efficient (education improving the standard of living). On the other hand, the business equivalent of unfair competition is reducing prices not by efficiency but by wage gouging (greed reducing the standard of living). Selfish competition hurts progress by sapping the strength of the organism.
As a walking sunshine, I do not leave you with broken hearts. My painful example is only the foil against which we see how well off we are. The present economic stress has made me thankfully aware that the food pipeline is still flowing. I assume it will need help as people’s rainy-day funds give out. The important fact is that farms still produce, and carriers still deliver. It gives us the basics for survival. By engaging in creative distribution, we cope with natural misfortunes to the crops, not with profiteering on scarcity.
Human survival does not depend now on eliminating all but the fittest. The Ernstraudian way looks to the progress of humans viewed as a unitary organism. Our survival and prosperity lie in the cooperation for which we are hard-wired (articles 15, 41, and 58). We are getting what we want together.
There is common reference to the lobster bucket that does not need a lid because the lobsters pull each other back down. This does not mean to me that lobsters are jealous and mean-spirited, preventing others from getting ahead. I take the behavior to be almost a reflex, an attempt to move to higher ground. It happens that the higher object is a lobster that is not on firm footing. When the creature below tries to gain footing on the one above, they both tumble under the combined weight.
Humans are partially like these lobsters: pulling down someone above does not produce a stable foundation on which to build. However, we differ in that we can analyze our footing. When humans deliberately pull down those on higher ground, that is mean-spirited jealousy.
Cultivating excellence is not done at the expense of others. The progress of those around us stimulates our growth. We emulate success, we don’t envy it. The human pyramid symbolizes cooperation and trust. When we stand on the shoulders of those who went before, we are fulfilling the intent of their endeavors.
Today’s message speaks to the disappearance of go-it-alone attitudes.