A long time ago, I asked a mentor to help me make a decision. The details of that decision are unimportant. What is important is what he said to me.
There are two kinds of people in the world, Helen. One kind believes the “pie”,
whether economic or otherwise, is infinite and easily able to provide for all.
(Many years later, business writers referred to this thinking or way of being in
the world as “Blue Ocean.” Imagine a preschool daycare where all the children
get to play with all the toys. For simplicity sake, let’s call these people Sharers.)
The other kind of people believe the “pie” is limited and if they don’t take and
keep their share for themselves, they will lose it. (The same business writers
labelled this behaviour “Red Ocean.” Imagine a shark feeding frenzy where
each fights with the other to get the lion’s share. Let’s call these people Hoarders.)
What you have to decide, Helen, is what kind of person you want to be.
Whew, what a break to have such a wise mentor in my youth. His parable immediately triggered a clear direction within me. I knew, at that moment, who I wanted to be and who I am … a Sharer. In today’s business world, I would be called a collaborator or someone who “plays” well with others. Notice all the childhood references. There is a reason for that.
Wasn’t, isn’t it still, the goal of most parents to raise their children as willing to share their toys with others? Do you recall your own parents attempting to teach you that lesson? So, how did we get into the current global predicament where nations are hoarding their resources instead of playing well in this sandbox we call Earth?
The Hindus believe there are four stages of evolutionary development in our human journey. Stage One is the desire for pleasure where our ego-centricity has us pursuing pleasure and avoiding pain. Stage Two is the desire for success where our youthful ambition and social expectations encourage us to be achievers and winners (Red Ocean). Stage Three is the desire for community where, guess what, we have to learn how to collaborate and share (Blue Ocean). Stage Four is the desire for liberation where we break with the past, surrender our self-image based on success and winning, and birth our new self.
Considering those four evolutionary stages, it appears obvious that mass consciousness, and thus human development, is stuck at Stage Two. Collectively, even globally, we behave as though life will not provide for and protect us. Rather, we compete, steamroll over others, and hoard our resources in the pursuit of “our” success. I wonder what would happen if we redefined “our” to include everyone. Wouldn’t we evolve to the next stage of development?
Ecologists and even some economists warn us that the road we are currently on is taking us into a dystopian future.
A dystopia is a community or society that is undesirable or
frightening. It is translated as “bad place” … often characterized
by dehumanization, tyrannical governments, environmental
disaster, … a cataclysmic decline in society.
Some authors use the term to refer to existing societies, many
of which are or have been totalitarian states or societies in an
advanced state of collapse.
Utopia, the antonym of dystopia, was coined by Sir Thomas More in 1516 as the title of his book. It depicts an ideal society with minimal crime, violence and poverty. A society that most western governments promise their electoral voters. Hmmmm, 403 years ago Sir Thomas More started us on the path to envisioning what kind of personal skills and society might be required for breaking out of Stage Two and evolving into Stage Three.
Consider this: to share something is to risk losing it, such as The Broccoli Tree. To hoard something does not eliminate this risk, but it does forgo the possibility of creating a community that shares the same love. Which leads me to ask, “What is your choice—hoarder or sharer? Who do you want to be?
As Earth’s children, may we evolve in union.
Completion is a place enshrouded deep
within the soul where one rests and sees
with panoramic vision, everything, all at once.
There, too, resides certainty,
truths that resonate in the bones.
What was once problematic becomes adventure,
beckoning to be known. Child-like wonder sees,
as if for the first time, life’s lessons invitingly laid out.
Truth be known, as earth children, we are ancients
newly born in every moment.