I’m reposting this blog as an introduction to my next post we too!
My friend Alex leaned into a question as he met with a group exploring the future: “What does it mean to be Human?”
I needed to go away and think about it. I know I am Human, but what is essential Humanness for me? Someone else answered more quickly – “I am not Human, We are Human,” and he gesticulated to include everyone around the tables. “We” is Human identity as valued by many cultures beyond the West.
I’ve since come to think of this as one of the most important questions of the 21st Century.
And I agree with my friend who said “We are Human.” The future is “we” not “me,” or, more specifically, the future is going to be about the we/me interface. We do not lose ourselves within the we, rather, we each become more me than ever before – nowhere to hide. Furthermore, we’ll discover We isn’t some faceless, soul-less entity, but has a significant personality all its own.
I shared in Shhhh! how we need to quieten the noise filling and surrounding our lives in order to know what it is each of must do – this is the me element. If we are to thrive, each of us needs autonomy, mastery, and a great purpose, which may sound like a contradiction. But these personal attributes will be enhanced by, and will contribute to, something greater when it becomes part of We.
I’m trying to see things from a different perspective. Instead of beginning with me and trying to move to we, I’m wondering what might happen if I move from the we to the me. When my mindset moves away from asking, “How can I work with others?”, to, “How does the we help me to see and understand my contribution?”, I get a different picture of how things can be.
This isn’t easy; it requires me to suspend my dominant way of seeing and understanding in order to see the greater connectedness I share with others and the world in which I live. Whilst some are able to do this more easily than others, generally, in the West, we’re all wired to think of ourselves as individuals first.
The group of people I mentioned in Shhhh! are seeking to understand what we are meant to be about together and I’m going to share a little more about this in future posts – it may be that we’re the experiment.
What do you think?
Tribes by Seth Godin
Here Comes Everybody by Clay Shirky
Herd by Mark Earls
More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon
When I finally defined being Human, I said it is about living with Creativity, Enjoyment, and Generosity. Maybe this captures something of the we/me interface. Of course, there are as many definitions of being Human as there are Humans.
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