Whatever we think about the world around us is conditioned by what we think about ourselves. What we know about the world around us, on the other hand, is pretty much ignored. We know, for example, that we exist in an ever expanding, transforming, ongoing process. But we still think about ourselves as isolated little objects, always colliding into or clashing with something or somebody else. But this necessarily the case?
And if you grew up, as I nearly did, you studied historical theory and accounts describing humanity as a bunch of murderer- rapist- thieves banding together waving flags, wearing this or that funny outfit, slaughtering someone on the other side. This kind of historical reporting is much the same as our current news. If you stay at home a lot and watch the local news for information about whatever city you live in, you start putting up security systems and iron bars on the windows and purchase a gun with which you or your husband or children can injure each other and cause severe rifts in your household. All you will know about other people around you are that they are murderer- rapist- thieves.
But is this really the case? Or is it more like when we go to the cinema to watch some action packed film with lots of explosives and brash sex and people with their heads hacked off. How often do you see stuff like this when you're out shoppping, for example? Rarely. And if you do, I suggest you seriously consider moving. No. We go to such cinemas precisely because these things are not experienced daily in our city streets. Just as we watch the news to learn about things we wouldn't know otherwise. And so it is with history. If it were reported to young school children that most of the time, their ancestors were really more preoccupied with growing food, providing shelter, paying bills, etc., these poor school children would never pay attention to anything we taught them.
This is not to say that the world has been a bed of roses, either. Each of us have a lot of bad habits. People have a habit of creating confict with each other. This is because we tend to view ourselves as individuals engaged in some kind of conquest against other individuals who are engaged in the same conquest against us. Whereas most of the time, we rely strongly upon one another for our very survival, as well as emotional comforts and mental knowledge. Our bank of technology is an accumulation of works over many generations and cultures, not oneself alone. Such technologies include language by which we speak to one another, as well as gestures, altars and arts. We do not merely exchange money, we exchange values; and much of that value is determined by our consideration for others.
But, as a result of much misinformation about ourselves we have devised a great scheme of interactions and have incorporated them into our daily lives: the masks we portray to each other in conversations, the manner in which we drive our cars, the rhetoric of our politicians, and so on. We pay homage to the fiction of the competitive will in each of us, ambitions and an individual person or soul who manifests great achievement in strife with everything else.
I propose that the reality that makes all this possible, that provides each of us with a continuation of our lives and standards of living, and maintains our humanity in all of its splendor, is not these individuals out there slugging their way through a marketplace. Rather, it is our commonality and cooperation. This is my thesis. And to support such a way of looking at things, I will present my own historical accounts, pyschology and personal reflection.