- Together we make a brighter light
- Together we can shine
- Together we can find our rhythm and rhyme
Teachers of all walks and ways, as you prepare to enter the classroom for a whole new school year, try on this perception for awhile and see what new perspective it may give you.
Ready? Here it goes…
There is one single word responsible for much human pathology. Not the word itself, but the misuse of the word. Fundamental stress in the human condition stems from the warped usage of this single word.
It is a powerful word. So powerful in fact, that it only requires one letter to spell it.
- It is the word –
Yes, we are born into this world and die alone. It is true. And this fact says there is something sacred in the uniqueness and individuality of every single human being, or rather, human becoming. And yes, the choices you make in your extraordinary life are yours to live with…alone. BUT… and this is a big ‘but’, the difference between dying ‘alone’ and dying ‘utterly alone’ is huge.
It comes down to how we perceive and subsequently put to use that deceptively simple pronoun – I.
It is all to do with context.
Here’s a true story that helps to bring it home…
Several years ago a well known ethno-botanist/anthropologist had been living his research in a remote village in Borneo. He had been there for years becoming an integral part of the community. In the early 1990s he invited several of the villagers to join him on a trip to his home in Vancouver, B.C.
When they arrived there and walked about the big city, he was struck by what struck them! It was not the big skyscrapers, the automobile traffic or even the swarms of people. What struck them most was that there were homeless people living alone on the streets. The idea of ‘homeless’ terrified them. It was alien to them.
To not have a home; to not be part of a family, a tribe, a collective that cared for you; to be alone – was to these villagers something utterly impossible, unnatural and inhuman.
In the context of what is natural to our planet, there is no such thing as “I”. How can there be? Everything is built on integrated, inter-dependent, co-responsive, symbiotic relationships. We humans are in part, part of nature here too, right? When we take account of what we share and are mutually supported by as an inter-connected part of this planet traveling ‘round the sun, ‘round the galaxy, through the universe, it is astounding! It is humbling too.
So… here comes the big bomb.
When we reduce the phenomenal engineering and breathtaking connectedness integral to life down to the puny egocentric use of the word “I’ to express ourselves – well, it can only lead to a state of dis-ease of one kind or another. Why?
The word ‘I’ is to be reserved for special use only. Think of it as a precious commodity not to be squandered. The ‘I’ of you belongs with the deeper part of you – however you describe that to you. To use it in selfish terms simply cuts you off from you!
These are the challenges inherent in the school of life. WE are all students here. It is only a bizarre cultural inheritance that says we must face these challenges alone. It simply isn’t true. What children long for more than anything else is to talk about life, to face the questions of life TOGETHER!
If we are not ‘teaching’ from inside the context of the school of life, whether it’s math or science or social studies then…what are we doing?
So what about that very powerful two-letter word? WE?
That’s for next time!