I think the gift for collaboration is the dividing marker between “success” and “failure” especially now with our highly social, collaborative Millenial generation, although Gen X and Gen Y are also obsessively social and needy in their pursuit of collaboration. So it appears to me, an aging Boomer with a decidedly “inner directed” personality and character. I was, am and always have been a highly quirky individualist with a flair and a gift for creativity, and an absolute horror of groups and collaborative ventures. Groups drive me crazy. What I have observed, and has been corroborated by science and observation, is that the best leaders are the best liars. Erich Fromm writes eloquently about the ethical considerations of modern men and women.
One of the decidedly noticable facets of many “leaders” and professional collaborators is their singular inability to contemplate death. The vast majority of leaders do nothing to explore the mystery of life and death, at least publically, and thus they deny the essential existential quality of being human. Their unwillingness to carry the contradiction to fruition or at least to the public domain, has meant that leadership is largely a game of denial and expository bullshit that is meant to assuage the fears and anxiety of the masses. Leaders, and groups under their augis develop a large cultural and societal groupthink mentality that encourages desperation, confusion and anxiety. No wonder we are an anxious society! With all the technogolical advances and medical progress we are still unable to stop killing one another in large and small numbers, we are unable to help people who are systemically incarcerated in large warehouses called jails and prisons, we cannot educate our children to think critically, solve problems, generate love and compassion and work for the greater good, we cannot celebrate creativity without exploiting it and numbing its rough edges, we cannot find and elect leaders who are individual, iconoclastic and challenging.
Our nationwide and worldwide docility will be the cause of the human species’ demise.
The problem of leadership exists because in the present day (20th-21st centuries) being a leader starts at the playground level–those chosen for leadership are usually the “tactful” ones whose ability to numb themselves or hide themselves from “debilitating” feelings and excessive compassion for the underdog selects them as suitable leaders–thus leaders are born, bred and schooled from youth onwards. And it continues on to adulthood where playground leaders become lying politicians and corporate grabbers without a conscience.
Because of this, we have people who have little or no understanding or compassion for others making decisions for large numbers of people. The gift for collaboration means that one’s “own” creative impulse gets shattered, watered down or absorbed by the group. There is no sense of accomplishment outside of a groupthink mentality. Dave Eggars latest book “Circle” explores this groupthink mentality in detail–it’s an excellent book. The bottom line is that groupthink is the death of original thought and action. It is always the outsider, the iconoclast, the weirdo, (often the people we reject and shame) that comes up with a direction toward a new paradigm for life on earth, Collaboration is only necessary for survival on the most base level–we need our staunch individualistic “inner directed” loners to come up with new pathways.
We are a dissatisfied, anxious and restless civilization. Part of this is because those who could and are willing to lead us to greater awareness remain marginalized from the central core of decision-making power. The Dalai Lama, Pema Chodrun, Ajahn Brahm, Eckhart Tolle–they all have a large following but none of their followers are willing to take the consciousness to the streets, the halls of the senate or board rooms of wall street. Perhaps it will become necessary for the streets, the senate and boardroom to be annhilated before real change can take place. Perhaps it will be necessary for anxiety and restlessness to become horror and pain on a mass scale before humankind can evolve.
In any case both our present and our future requires courageous leadership that has the ability to stand against the tide and make room for new ways of thinking, being and doing. This will require a huge leap of faith for the masses who are largely angry, confused and faithless. I do not know if this is possible, quite honestly. Sometimes I feel that we are a species that is doomed. Everything is born, lives and dies. Planets die, solar systems die, stars die, galaxies die, in Hindu teachings even the Universe has a birth and death cycle! I am thinking that we are now on the front lines of observing the human species dying. No wonder Stephen Hawking is pushing for us to colonize other planets! He knows we’re time-lived here on earth–suffocating ourselves by destroying the forests that absorb our carbon dioxide and emit oxygen, decimating our habitat, wildlife and plants, poisoning our systems with terrible non-food posing as food, killing each other in huge numbers–warfare, accidents, shootings–all signs of a civilization disintegrating from the outside in and the inside out.
As the Hindus call it, Kali Yuga.
Hindus believe that human civilization degenerates spiritually during the Kali Yuga, which is referred to as the Dark Age because in it people are as far away as possible from God. Hinduism often symbolically represents morality (dharma) as a bull. In Satya Yuga, the first stage of development, the bull has four legs, but in each age morality is reduced by one quarter. By the age of Kali, morality is reduced to only a quarter of that of the golden age, so that the bull of Dharma has only one leg.
Hawking is pushing for colonization for another reason: the aggressive development scientists are undergoing with Artificial Intelligence. Of course the species with the Big Brain wants a challenge and the current big challenge is to design another beng that has all the capabilities of humans! Haha. Kind of God-playing mentality I suppose. Hawking said AI will be the end of the human species. Of course they will program this new species with a strong survival mechanism and we all know where that leads! AI will learn to destroy anything that threatens its own survival! I think we can easily compare this to how the Indigenous populations of North and South America felt when the white men from Europe came down in hordes with their “manifest destiny” mandate, their hubris, their arrogant self righteous power complex and their cruel disregard of the intuitive side of life and completely decimated their civilization in about 200 years. AI will decimate us imperfect humans in 20 years or less.
We’d better find space colonies soon. For us oldsters, we will be gone, but younger generations will be in the thick of this. Unless something else happens, like earthquakes on the fault lines, subsequent tsunamies, mass droughts, climate related catastrophies that destroy huge numbers of people etc. Any way necessary Gaia will create balance, but we may be the sacrifice in the bargain. Other species will have a go at intelligence and perhaps, for a while, they will do better than we did.