Part 17 of 36
The universe is a matrix of interdependent relationships. For example, the human body has various elements that are linked together in a hierarchy of increasingly higher purposes. Groups of specialized cells form organs, organs link up into systems, and systems cooperate for the benefit of the entire body.
Cancer is a disease in which the tumor cells cease to honor the higher purpose of the body. The tumor is parasitic, feeding off the body for the sake of its own growth. Eventually, the cancer saps the body of its vitality and the body dies. By not supporting the higher purpose, cancer sows the seeds for its own destruction.
Model of Interconnections
The model for interconnections among the various levels of society is a similar structure as the human body. Individuals are members of families, so their higher purpose is to support their family. Groups of families form clans and sustain communities. All kinds of organizations seek to support their nation. Progress is made toward global peace when nations work for the welfare of the world.
The individual purpose is to maintain and preserve the individual; the higher purpose is to contribute toward the preservation and development of the whole. These dual purposes naturally support each other. This principle operates automatically in nature, always urging smaller entities to form larger systems. These systems should, in turn, preserve the integrity of the individual. As the lower entities join to support the higher entities, they benefit from the care and nurture of the higher entities.
Humankind is more than a collection of independent persons. We are interconnected beings. The welfare of the nation is included in the well-being of the world, the welfare of the community is a result of the well-being of the nation, the welfare of the family is supported by the well-being of the community, and the welfare of the individual is rooted in the well-being of the family.
Example of Dual Purposes
Each year, my parents rent a group camp for our extended family for a little over a week. It’s refreshing in a way because we are immersed in the balance and harmony of nature. There is no cell service and since we’re camping there are no televisions. We spend the day soaking in the sun, getting refreshed in the river, and enjoying the stars and campfire at night.
On the flip side, it’s a lot of work: we often don’t sleep well, we miss our modern conveniences, and we must deal with our relationships and internal challenges. It seems sometimes that our enjoyment doesn’t always over ride our uncomfortable feelings and relational inefficiencies. It’s not unusual to see someone in our family blow up or to feel like you’re at your wits end.
So why do we continue to attend our family primitive style group camping? I would say it’s because we want to preserve the value of family and community. We also gain individually from our collective experience. It’s tradition but deeper than that it’s time to catch up with how everyone is and to share how our own lives are. It’s rooted in heart because we want to give and receive love.
Oftentimes, we need to do things we may not want to do because of the lasting benefit or for something beyond ourselves. When our kids were in grade school and we went on our yearly camp out, I felt like I was going crazy to get ready, packed, set up at camp, cooking there, and preparing for each day’s activities. What made it worth it all was the enjoyment we all had and the amazing memories of each year. It was often the case that we drove away with tears in our eyes and feeling like the next year would not come soon enough. The pictures from years past paint a fairy tale camp out with no cares and only harmony and relaxation. It’s amazing how we often only remember the good things.
Balancing Our Dual Purposes
Another dual purpose is a balance between taking care of day to day necessities and considerations of our three life purposes. When we put too much emphasis on the daily regime, we lose out on our deeper fulfillment. On the other hand, we need our health, well-being, and material resources to be able to accomplish our three life goals.
To bring about a world with mutual prosperity, we need to balance our individual desires and needs with the greater interest of the whole. Individual interests must include what’s good for the whole. It’s easy to think that only those with more money and opportunity need to think about others, especially those with less. That’s not quite accurate. Everyone should think of others because it’s part of our original nature to want to contribute to something greater. If we concentrate on what we don’t have and how other people have more, we will have a bland existence. We may even be more selfish than greedy millionaires if we are only thinking about what we don’t have and how to get more of what others have…
Mature people take responsibility not only for their own actions, but they look beyond themselves to how they affect others. They try not to cause harm to themselves, others, or the environment. These are the types of people that we like to be around. They uplift our day. They inspire us to set higher goals. We want to make sure they are also taken care of. We naturally want to give to them. It’s easy to be patient and forgiving of them. We’d stand up for them. So, fulfilling the first goal is not a complete sacrifice of ourselves. We receive the benefit of our efforts to mature and give.
In the same way, schools, communities, organizations, and nations etc. need to ensure the care of the individuals. This means the individuals in these groups need to attend others. Teachers reach out in heart to students and students care about the concerns of the teacher. If a student is upset, he will not be open to learning. Or, if a teacher feels no one is listening, he will not be inspired to share his wisdom or will lose the zeal he had. In either situation, if the teacher and/or student thinks about the other, both will benefit. In addition, the class will notice the giving attitude and it will multiply. If we examine situations that are not functioning well, we can always look back to the people involved, their family, and the society around them and see there was a lack of empathy and heart.
One of our life goal's is to use our talents and resources for the greater good. If a community consisted of mature people, it would be beautiful itself. Others would want to emulate it because they see how they can make their own community work. How many times do you see on videos online of someone or some entity (school, community, business) making a difference. For instance, there was an individual who found a way to recycle trash and convert it into building materials. There was another example of a grocery store using their roof as a garden where customers in a big city could shop for freshly picked fruits and vegetables. Someone else found a way to make it easier for people in remote areas to get fresh water. The sky is the limit as to how much communities can give to others, improve the lives of others, and multiply the spirit of good will.
What person, people, or community do you admire and why?
What situation have you been in where the relationships and activity didn’t work out well because of self-centered attitudes?
How can a situation or relationship that doesn’t seem to be working out well in your life benefit from knowing the principle of interconnections?
What situation or relationship have you seen the amazing power of dual purposes in action?
How do the relationships you have affect what you want to do?
How can a spirit of community affect the world?
How can we improve a situation by our attitude?