What Binds Humanity Together?
- August 5, 2016
- Posted by: Reena Saxena
- Category: Thinking Maps
Say so, the learned T.S.Eliot and Thyon Edwards. But why ? I looked at the PC screen for answers.
There is a message from a person, whose existence I had wanted to forget. Why did she want to meet me again ?
A social network site is open in the third window. Facebook, being the hub of diversity, always takes me to unplanned destinations. I came across a video of twins being separated for a few minutes on birth, and in visible despair. The expressions changed as they again lay close to one another, as they derived security from a sense of familiar comfort. Do we have a need for connectivity, before stepping out in the world ?
An accidental click on the right, opened up a celebrity gossip feature, with the trials and tribulations of a star-crossed relationship, and the bitter public battles they had waged against each other.
What is it that keeps human beings bound to one another? If we complete each other, we also antagonize each other. If we love, we also hate. We are also indifferent and unconcerned. Is hatred or indifference, the absence of love, or vice versa? Did we develop the negative emotions, when certain expectations of positive connectivity were not met ?
I am no Gautam Buddha to meditate under the Bodhi tree, and my limited knowledge is derived from books and the World Wide Web. And there, came the following gurus to my rescue, with their combined wisdom.
- Hilary Scarlett, U.K.-based author of the new book NeuroScience for Organizational Change
- Matthew Lieberman, author of “Social : Why our brains are wired to connect ?”
- Carnegie Mellon researchers Russel Goleman and George Loewenstein.
Need for connectivity
The brain craves connection and information. Denial of the same leads to intense fear and insecurity. The reactions induced in the body are akin to those in physical pain. The levels of pain in the absence of desired or sufficient information, have been measured and found to be much higher than those who knew with certainty, that the worst will follow. The missing bits of information distract a person from work, and create an uncomfortable sense of not being in control.
Questions as connectors
This validated a Slideshare I had posted a few months ago, on the role that questions play in connecting one to the universe.
- Questions are the speed-breakers in our thought process.
- The process is interrupted, when theories cannot be verified.
- It leads to Unanswered Questions, to which you seek answers.
- Questions pull you out of your comfort zone.
- Questions are your connectors to the rest of the world.
- Relationships are formed with people who either answer your questions or challenge them.
- The resultant equations create the web of your social and professional networks.
- The right questions challenge your assumptions, beliefs and yourself.
- The right questions lead you towards untraversed terrain.
- This untraversed terrain has the potential to become your Highway to Success.
Oh Boy, my questions and statements suddenly made sense. And without going under the Bodhi tree.
Learning, Teaching and Sharing
The absence of the ‘other’ renders each of these activities meaningless. How do I feel superior or inferior, if there was no competitor? Whom do I share my love and wisdom with, if there were no receivers? Pets provide us with the much-needed sense of comfort and connection, in absence of human companions. We love them, discipline them, rebuke them and provide for their comforts.
The satisfaction that we derive from the 3 activities of learning, teaching and sharing, encompasses life (other than the fulfilment of physical needs ), and our yearning for life. We seek completion and fulfilment from it, and want to continue forever with this process. The saints who have been able to give up their bodies voluntarily, were the ones who had either achieved their stated life purpose, or believed that they will live again to complete the process.
It is ultimately, your story and mine, and theirs, and how they all overlap, that creates this nexus called the world. This includes the plants and animals, and any attempt at excluding some of them, creates environmental and human disasters. Pull out a thread, and the fabric falls apart.
But, the human mind loves a challenge. They create isolated zones of comparative self-sufficiency. And then, pity those ‘poor dependent creatures’ outside, while gloating on their own fortune. Would that really be a fortune, without those unfortunate creatures out there ?
What I know now is that we’re all interconnected and that’s a really beautiful thing. We have links to everyone else in our lives and in the world. Different people have different journeys for different reasons. You can’t judge, but you can celebrate that there are connections everywhere.
By Jane Seymour