One of the most fascinating and frustrating things about a two year old is the perception that they are the center of the world. And while it is appropriate for the developmental phase of a two year old, for most people this illusion never fades in adulthood.
We all need to grow into the realization that we are part of this world and not separate. This is an important paradigm shift. One most of us, myself included, finds difficult to make. I therefore, lean heavily on the thinking of “giants” that has gone before us on this road.
Einstein explains it as follows: “A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
To free ourselves of our own prison, I make the suggestion that we embrace our interconnectedness with the world. There are different words describing this concept, Covey for example refers to interdependence, referring to our human relationships. But interconnectedness is more than just human connectedness. It is the deep understanding that I am part of the whole of the universe.
David Bohm puts it in another way: “Indeed, to some extent it has always been necessary and proper for man, in his thinking, to divide things up, if we tried to deal with the whole of reality at once, we would be swamped. However when this mode of thought is applied more broadly to man’s notion of himself and the whole world in which he lives, (i.e. in his world-view) then man ceases to regard the resultant divisions as merely useful or convenient and begins to see and experience himself and this world as actually constituted of separately existing fragments. What is needed is a relativistic theory, to give up altogether the notion that the world is constituted of basic objects or building blocks. Rather one has to view the world in terms of universal flux of events and processes.”
John Muir has a simpler way of putting it: “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe. When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.”
Why would this paradigm shift be important? The answer I would give is: If you are serious about living your life in flow, you need to take as departure point your interconnectedness with reality.
Or in the words of Martin Luther King Jr: “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.”
Connected to you