Shark Among Minnows
The shark among the minnows or the wolf among the sheep: as individuals we are vulnerable; as group we are highly intelligent and strong. The combining of our physical resources creates a multiplier effect, but the combining our mental resources is a force multiplier in the extreme. We are at our more powerful when we are working in a coordinated fashion for the good of the group over the individual. This can be seen throughout history and it is the message that the philosopher/teachers have been professing for generations from within their various cultures and locals. We can choose to follow these teachings or rethink generations of proven social progress in an attempt to “find” something better. Having the correct group think is the key to harmony!
Misaligned Group Think
If you drove a Maserati—would you put wagon wheels on it? Of course not! We want to act like integrity doesn’t matter. We choose to reject honesty or fairness as the proper ways to conduct ourselves at the peril of our society’s harmony. It is all connected, and I think we intuitively know that, but reject the standard for some mysterious “progressive” method—that no one seems to be able to define. Isn’t that a definition of insanity? In the west we are driving a Maserati and making conscious decisions to degrade it and claim that makes it (us) better. Any rational individual would see that it is not making our society or us better! Why do we play these games with our happy existence? Our children’s or grandchildren’s existence. Why do we consciously take the racing wheels off and replace them with something obviously inferior?
We join together because we don’t function well as individuals. At first, we are part of a family. A thing we are born into. A small group of close relatives who care for us when we are young and incapable of caring for ourselves. As we grow we learn that there are other distinctions, like our sex, our skin color or eye color, and religion may begin to play into our life perspective. When we get beyond physical attributes everything else is a fabrication of our metal belief systems. A product of our knowledge, experience and understanding, often called wisdom.
I reintroduced the supporting principle Wisdom to cover this human experience. The Golden Rule is like God’s mission statement. A simple one sentence phrase that directs our thinking towards the common life goal of our species. Because we are beyond mere physical existence as humans we are capable of making our lives remarkably modern and relatively easy (as compared to our cave dwelling ancestors).
Our thinking makes us truly who we are. Our identity, a name, a sense of self and purpose are creations of our mental states of being. We are no longer of the simple animal survival mode. We have the power of group think to increase or knowledge base and survival options. Therefore, that thing called wisdom is critically important. Who are we? Why are we here? What is our purpose? The fact that we can ask these questions makes them valid and important.
We can look back through history and get some sense of direction and potentially derive a sense of purpose. From the earliest of historical references, we have been attempting to create viable communities. This became especially important once we began to understand agriculture and animal husbandry. We began to settle into fertile spots to grow and harvest crops. We learned to domesticate certain animals like sheep, goats and then cattle and horses (for eastern hemisphere).
With community rises the need for rules. Consequently, ideological systems like religions begin to pop up. All ancient societies had some sort of belief system that included higher entities, supreme beings, superhuman creatures, and spirit creatures. In my research I realized that all of the ancient cultures accepted some sort of god or gods about them. In China and Greece these are personal guides more than absolute law givers. Sometimes the Supreme were the law givers and sometimes just sought for support and guidance. Greece had a pantheon of gods, but the law was more a system to debatable principles and morals developed by thought and practice as opposed to the Hebrews belief of the rules handed down by the Supreme to be followed. Ideologically different sources, but very similar systems, indeed.
Group Think in Axial Age
Nevertheless, rules were developed and their purpose was to create a place where many individuals could live in harmony to create the best possible environment for creating prosperity and happiness. When the group think aligned with these principled systems, harmony bloomed.
As I suggested in The Golden Rule Rediscovered these various systems were developing during the period known as the Axial Age (Karl Jaspers) around 500BCE. All around the Eastern Hemisphere societies were forming and developing rules and regulations for governing. These cultures all included the Golden Rule in their systems developed during this period. I actually found references in all cultures at or before 500BCE. We (humans) were developing a governing system based on the same underlying principle: the Golden Rule. The odds of this happening across the entire hemisphere among individuals of every race, language group and culture are about as likely as the first living cell popping out of nothing!
Aligned Group Think
As a species we have been struggling to align ourselves in a way that we can be independent players in a system that allows us to stay alive, reproduce successfully, and expand into that next generation. Approximately seven thousand generations of our species have existed on this planet. We are nowhere near where we were as our ancestors began occupying ever expanding territories out of Africa (if you are evolutionist). Furthermore philosopher teachers across the eastern hemisphere are designing specific guidance for creating prosperous societies. All at once—everywhere. There is some kind of purpose going on in that experience. The various peoples of the hemisphere all falling into the same foundational social system is beyond pure chance. There is something going on “behind the scenes.” There is a purpose… Something is providing some kind of guidance for us to connect to and develop.
We are born and develop a personal identity around our physical person. We have (produce) certain motivations, desires, drives and we are willing to take certain risks (some of us more than others). As a community we are entering an era where we can pursue pretty much our grandest desires. However, with the right attitude and motivation these desires can be achieved. We do that better as a group. Our combined efforts expand our innovations exponentially advancing the entire globe. And, the circle in turn advances us as individuals also.
We can seek an understanding that expands that wisdom or tear it all down. Our choice!