Throughout history, the center of focus for humanity has been dominantly rooted in individual success, family protection, and the desire for adventure, fun, and pleasure. This has led to a recurring belief in many that this is normal and healthy and that our success will trickle down to those without opportunities.
We need to recognize that we live in an interdependent world that has finally reached its limits of individualism and dominant focus on family. The predictable conclusion of this way of living as separate individuals and groups is that it will lead to a collective death sentence for humanity because of a lack of care for the collective well-being of both the most destitute parts of humanity and the planet. Therefore, it is vital that we see the dire necessity of finding our need to live in a balance of love for family, individualism, and devotion to the interconnected collective world in which we live.
In our paper on Psycho-Politics, we’ve explored how, throughout human history and up to the present day, those in political power and leadership have largely lacked a highly attuned psychological understanding necessary to guide us toward peace, unity, and equitable justice.
Instead, they’ve pursued the divisiveness of placing excessive importance on individual and family interests. This is true on an individual level by prioritizing taking care of ourselves and our loved ones with only a minor interest in using our resources and time to do the same for our country, those in the greatest need, and our planet. It is also on display in the behaviors of leaders and policymakers on international and national levels, each of whom almost invariably exaggerates their own value, innocence, and integrity while minimizing others in the same role.
Throughout the millennia, world teachers have attempted to convey the necessity to love our brothers and sisters as we would ourselves. This isn’t just an idealization but practical guidance on how to live a sane and balanced life and allow our world to survive, thrive, and have a continued sense of purpose and well-being.
How can individualism and primary importance on family be so harmful?
Families are idealized as more important than caring for those outside our orbit and the planet — not as a conscious or malicious way of thinking, but simply due to the way we as a society prioritize wealth, resources, and energy. This radically impacts how each of us relates to the world and has much more impact than is understood. This is unwittingly one of the major root causes of suffering and alienation in the world.
The focus on self and other family members is comprised of an exaggerated fantasy of contentment, fulfillment, and responsibility. This ignores our connection and dependence to the earth on which we live and a potential collective purpose for those that are more fortunate. This purpose includes inspiration and fulfillment to give everyone possible an opportunity to live a hard-working, reachable and inspired life for themselves and their families.
As most of us relate to this primary way of bringing our hearts, thoughts, and actions to our day, this simple, profound guidance is almost always reduced to be more like a philosophy than a guiding light that we follow. This message has been overwhelmingly experienced in mind by so many Christians on Sundays or virtually every other religion limited by individual religious customs.
In theory, there are almost always tenets in religion, spirituality, psychology, and politics that speak to a greater love for the world and treating everyone equally, but in practice, this has not been followed to a large degree in any of the major powers that lead the world or have led the world.
Still, so many of us only primarily take care of our own, place our distorted national perspectives on a pedestal, and give power to self-centered individual directions and political and economic determinations on narrow preferential interests. Instead, we need to focus our intentions on the benefit to the planet on which we are gifted the right to live and those that can work but need to be given opportunities.
These factors will always be a part of our conditioning; however, a new, collective, interconnected psychology and spirituality present in the nuclear age requires us to learn from what has happened throughout history. We need to think about what changes are mandatory for the human race to survive. It is not even a matter of idealism at all, but strictly one of what it takes for our species to continue — it’s a matter of survival.
We will need to break out of our denial of our individual and collective ignoring of this truth to evolve in our psychology, our main needs, and what it will take to survive and expand as a human race. There needs to be this new collective, inclusive and “interconnected psychology” to reveal our true human potential.
Changing our past patterns to create balance and interconnectedness
A mistaken view held by the vast majority of the hundreds of millions of individuals and families with varying degrees of wealth is one of the unwitting greatest causes of the threat to our survival. This view believes that there is the need to be dominantly concerned with our own survival, security, and pleasure instead of seeing it collectively with balance and proportionality.
Instead, we must increase caring and taking care of the planet on which we live and give opportunities to those that have no access to work or receive support. This is greatly amplified and justified by the false belief that the poor or disadvantaged are unmotivated and wouldn’t contribute to humanity if they were given substantial work opportunities.
But, it is clear from past and current experience that immigrants, recipients of micro-finance, and large-scale poor communities who take advantage of work opportunities provided through foundations like Acumen are actually closer to the opposite of that view.
The impoverished and disempowered are a great bet to be a highly motivated force to learn and work when given a chance. This inability to find a balance between the self, the planet, and those most challenged with life circumstances is one of the most substantial causes of imbalance and threat to our survival.
Does this make sense to you? Are you open to really contemplating (perhaps for the rest of your life) how you can question and live in increasing balance and reconsider the benefit of supporting life opportunities for everyone? If you are disregarding the responsibility and opportunity that still exists to rebalance the motivations, especially of those that have the greatest wealth and power, then I challenge you to have a real conversation with yourself about your rationale or invite you to have a conversation on my podcast, The Missing Conversation.
I don’t believe anyone can rationally justify having much more than they really need in today’s imperiled world without entering into a state of questioning what is balance for my family and me. This is a plea, more than a judgment or statement. Our hearts and wisdom need to be touched, as guilt virtually never works. This is a call to reach the sweetest and wisest parts of our universal hearts.
This self-oriented way of reacting represents the norm, as mentioned throughout history. On one level, it is totally understandable when you consider the way almost all of us were raised. However, the difficulty is that it sets us up to be destroyed because the world’s resources and wealth are being possessed. There is endless competition for and with them, rather than them being used primarily toward cooperation and the well-being of all of life in the world.
Also, seeing the overall impact on the world makes it clear that we aren’t really making ourselves more secure. Instead, we are further endangering our real home on which we are all profoundly dependent. By excessively protecting ourselves and continuing to believe that we are protecting our children and our families, we are unwittingly endangering their very survival.
How would we benefit from an interconnected human perspective?
The very ground on which we all stand can’t protect itself from our domination of resources and wealth — all because we believe in only taking dominantly care of those closest to us — “ours.” We are actually in a continued reactionary phase, trying to protect ourselves based on the fears and desires of our ancestors coming from a very different time with very different threats to our survival.
We need to develop this new psychological understanding that is presented not only through psychology but also by infiltrating education, religion, and spirituality to illuminate and redefine what it means to be successful. Wealth also needs to be redefined as the maximum utilization of money and resources for the well-being of everyone that is alive.
This psychological foundation would radically change the field of psychology into an internationally inclusive understanding that is rooted in our interconnectedness. The linking of seeing the utterly defensive nature of war, both physical and psychological, needs to be seen for what it is: acting out anger.
It is revealed as an egotistical way of ignoring our own anger, resistant emotions, and doubts and taking it out on others. This anger needs to be transformed to be a passion for peace and fair treatment of all concerned. Yes, at times, there will need to be strong and clear boundaries and limits set for people who insist on dominance. Strength discrimination and generosity are revealed to be partners, not opposites. It will require a deep understanding and illumination of what it means to honor individual wealth and collective responsibility at the same time.
In part two of this article, we will explore how our current individualist world psychology puts immense focus on money and generating wealth without creating a world that could be caring and potential opportunities for the poor, the impoverished, and the planet at large.