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Møller on Unsplash
73 Intelligence over Obstacles
Do we separate “us” from
“them”? Neuropsychologists tell us that we are hard-wired to do
so. However, they also tell us that we are hard-wired for
cooperation. Let us accept that cooperation occurs among humans
to reduce our separation.
We have already discussed
measurement theory. Here we do not need a scientific scale of
accomplishments. We can apply the question, “does this idea make
us better off?”
Putting others ahead of
self focuses on collective advancement. I benefit when you
perform at your best. Adding us all together makes the world
better. By including everyone, we are at maximum scaling without
monopoly. Nobody is squeezed out.
The aggregate view of
progress contributes to validation of self. Rather than isolating
my own progress, I am worthwhile because I am part of a group
Our experiences and
knowledge start out local. We increase our reach when we expand
awareness beyond our selves and immediate surroundings.
Aggregation of this process achieves community, ultimately
resulting in global improvement. The individual experiences joy
in the progress of others.
It gives us great
benefits to mesh with other people. However, it involves a
certain outflow of energy and returns uncertain feedback.
Interactions are not always easy.
Leaders require solitude
at least some of the time. They go on retreat, they self-isolate,
they withdraw to regenerate themselves. Doing so is fundamental
to health. Along with a lot of listening to others, a leader must
listen to self—for integrity and for reality check. Preparing and
organizing begin within. Time spent looking out at nature
is often the most precious part of a day, time well
solitude, social interaction draws on the refreshed supply of
energy. Positive feedback increases energy, but it is not
assured. What comes back from others is not always so placid.
Negative feedback ranges from simple rejection (the invitation is
declined) to hostility (the inviter is attacked).
We often feel we are too
close when the feedback is painful. We recoil. We withdraw back
into our selves. We disconnect our individual silo worlds. Some
cushioning may be necessary for self-preservation, but long-term
isolation wipes out the above benefits. The world goes dark. To
avoid this result, we must learn.
What do we do when we
reach out and are attacked in return? Let us assume good will,
the desire to make the best of a situation. That begins with
forgiveness, which does not mean being vulnerable to re-injury.
This is followed by examining the “self” to determine whether the
invitation can be improved enough to have a more appropriate
Sometimes a situation
calls for retreating to safer ground and sticking to behaviors
that have previously been well received. However, reality cannot
brook abandoning crucial issues unresolved. An illustration is a
parent who angrily tells an offspring “you are no longer my
child.” Another is a region or country that maintains “we are
free to pollute our air without limit.” Retreat from certain
obligations is not viable.
opposing force are not durable answers to questions of hostility.
We face questions without final answers. Desiring not to leave
readers in depression, I suggest instead a direction
- Move at your own pace, regenerate. Do not
undertake a job that will kill you.
- Examine every possibility. You cannot make the
rest of the world go away. Always study it to find your best
place and time to build a bridge. That makes you a
- Article 71 suggested
blending the actors to form one social organism.
Laboratory crows and chimpanzees have
demonstrated a special behavior: when one animal was hungry and
caged in the same room where another had a generous food supply,
the free animal opened the latch on the cage to release the
trapped individual. This blog is not the place to develop a full
scientific analysis. The story is here as an example of
redistribution which, in the case of humans, we give a special
We do not need to speculate on the
purpose of the creation in which we find ourselves. We
give it purpose by what we do with it. We can propose that
a creator intended it for all his children. Alternatively,
we can expect human reason and moral stewardship to do as well as
the animals in the story did with a collection of individuals and
a collection of resources. The animals demonstrated freedom from
the crippling distinction between self and others (article 51)—the freedom we humans call sharing.
Being For Others Blog copyright © 2020 Kent Busse
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