The Illusion of “Us” and “Them”


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When we focus our mind’s eye on what we’ve come to know as our self, we typically see a division between a misty constellation of biology, ideas and emotions that we embrace as our personal identity, and the rest of the outside world. This permeable and tenuous separation between our notion of “self” and “other” can quickly dissolve in an ideological solution of greater perspective. If we look through a different lens such as family, community, nation or species, our identity shifts from an isolated individual self, to part of a larger community. This membrane of identity can expand all the way up to include the recognition that we are an inseparable part of everything. The big Truth is; everything in the cosmos is inseparably related to everything else – a singular interdependent body of relationships – evolving over time – on a collective journey.

When we realize that changing the abstract membrane we use to examine subsystems in the context of the whole cosmos, we see that this also changes our perspective. With this in mind, we can see that understanding the relationship between the level of abstraction we use as a lens, and what it reveals, is the key to deepen of vision of the interdependent nature of community threaded throughout the cosmos. For instance; when we look at the earth level, we can see that we all swim in the same pond – a singular web of life in an earthen womb, dependent on nourishment from outside sources like the sun and other forces that umbilically nourish the earth with what we need to nourish and sustain our biological framework. We see that this womb model visible in earth as a whole is also expressed through our species and our individual biology – each ensconced in the other in successive interdependent layers. When we shift the layer of abstraction in our lens back up to the cosmos again, we see that everything is an expression of itself – that biology is an expression of the nature of the cosmos. The fact is; it could not be otherwise.

It is for this reason that cultivating community through the expression of nourishing values in the context of the web of life we are both part of is the way we can cultivate a more fulfilled state of being. Expressing nourishing values in the context of community is the nature of our being. The organs in our body must nourish each other to maintain integrity and flourish. Harmony and/or disharmony with this native expression made through our biological system is a measure of our biological integrity. Our experience of life depends on harmony and/or disharmony with the communication made through our biology, this biology is a reflection of nature and a statement of who we are.

This same model of a seed within a seed applies to humans as a species – we are an organ in a larger body of life. The more we nourish the food web, the more nourishment is available throughout and the closer we can come to the realization of our full potential. This model also applies to personal relationships, business, institutions, governments and our collective relationship with the environment. This community aspect of relationships in our collective body is frequently lost in the heat of a moment, or in the apathy that rises from our ignorance of the fact that we exist in the context of a shared body of life. To diminish each other or any portion of this body, is to diminish our self.

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