I Know You!
There is a recurring theme in our world and that’s the surprise we feel when we come across those we thought were unknown to us. There is a perception of differences that come from lack of direct experience that is exposed the moment we actually meet someone and find the ethereal tendrils of the connections that unite us.
The instances are as bizarre as they are eye-opening: A Syrian refugee giving condolences to and Englishman for Margaret Thatcher’s recent passing (http://goo.gl/Reh1Ov
) or a Hungarian Border Guard caught between the dictates of his job and the frustration of his perceptions expresses himself in the timeless language of a Monty Python sketch (https://goo.gl/ZlKol
We all sense the depth of truth in John F. Kennedy’s oft quoted speech, made in his 1961 address to the Canadian Parliament where he says that “…the things that unite us are far greater than what divides us.” (http://goo.gl/eAFwDy
). It’s a recurring theme because we are caught in the tension of our reactions to what we feel is the ‘enemy’ and our desires to not live in a world where such tension exists: http://goo.gl/mR38X5
How do we exactly reconcile such bipolar pull, where what we want to do as people flies in the face of what the systems we have in place, which we created, make us do? Do we ascribe our failing to move forward in this area to our humanity and put our hopes in technology as +Dan Oestreich
suggests in his post? (https://goo.gl/gX8fFx
The struggle of course is not so much one of polar opposites as of perceptual differences. We have lived with technology for as long as humanity has been on this planet and while the workings of the former escape us still: https://goo.gl/9W0wbj
- the latter, we feel, is something we can really understand and work with; producing incremental improvements and ‘paradigm shifts’ that create disruption and allow breakthroughs to happen. It is a tool we ‘get’ in the way we don’t get those we share the planet with.
Dan Gilbert makes the point that our failing is way deeper. We fail to ‘get’ ourselves: https://goo.gl/DEl3Tw
. At times we seem to be a construct of drives and emotions that needs to be managed to perform: https://goo.gl/bp0kBP
. We devise strategies, theories and complex models to help guide our performance in particular fields we work in. But we seem largely unable to do the same for the areas we live in.
The paradox occurs that while “work” is subject to analysis and improvement “life” still just happens to us. When we fail to understand it we also fail to understand our reason for being. “What is it that makes us human? Is it that we love, that we fight? That we laugh? Cry? Our curiosity? The quest for discovery?” Could we better understand our inner mechanics if we could see ourselves through the eyes of others or, better still, see others, close enough to feel we know them? It’s a notion that made filmmaker and artist Yann Arthus-Bertrand to spend three years interviewing 2,000 women and men in 60 countries (Google helped make the project real) in a riveting and long (you have been warned) three-parter called Human
that grips our attention from its very first frame: https://goo.gl/GAFqZy
Increasingly, our technologies, social media platforms and expanded connectivity are forcing us to reconsider things. To broaden our horizons even when we may not really want to, to rethink the arguments of our positions even when all we want is validation that our worldview is right. That “our cows are better than your cows”. We feel the tension still. The sense that we are all the same and should be all united and the reality that we are so far from that. Despite this perception, the idea of a global government which Star Trek
makes so seductive is one which is really old (http://goo.gl/wtPsqA
) and now suddenly back in vogue: http://goo.gl/TUlqZ0
When nations, like individuals, can no longer manage alone. They band together. There are indeed more things that unite us than divide us. We do need to actually realize this, at some point.
Speaking of uniting, I hope you have had the opportunity to replenish your supplies of coffee and get a decent amount of sugary treats in the form of donuts, croissants, cookies and chocolate cake. Enjoy watching Human
and have an awesome Sunday, wherever you are.