Well, love, sure, but I am a bit more concerned about our future. Things seem tenuous and on the verge of some form of chaos and disruption. What we need now more than anything else is simple.
We need authenticity.
I see a lot of heads shaking that I am out of my mind, but let me make my case. Nearly everything is broken because, as a species, we muck up most relationships we create. Consider any relationship — international, corporate, religious, education, fraternal, economic, familial, professional, marital, friends — we have an inate ability to frustrate, falter, and fail in sustaining collaborative, collegial, and cooperative commitments. When people fail to seek, foster, and support common ground and mutually beneficial relationships, so many around them suffer. And such, society suffers.
Observe the honey bee. A hive is a social structure of incredible interdependence and skilled participation working toward a common good. Each member of the hive knows precisely the role to be played and the duties to perform. The hierarchy thrives when it moves in harmony and precision. The hive grows and prospers.
When one looks beyond the hive, one quickly discovers that the bees provide essential pollenization to nearby fruit trees, vegetables, flowers and shrubs. These plants prosper and grow within a balanced environment, while providing synergistic nectar to the bees. Both the insect and the plant remain authentic to their role in nature, yet each play a vital role that is mutually beneficial.
So, you say, that is fifth grade science taught in every elementary school on the planet. Yet, both the teacher and the student rarely ask the question, “If bees and ants can live in a mutally beneficial social structure, why can't humans figure out to do the same?” Why, indeed?
Clearly, intellect and ego have much to do with why human society varies so much from insect societies. We reason and share knowledge in ways no other species can in the natural world. We have developed refined psychological traits (and troubles) that influence our ability to cooperate, collaborate, and be congenial. We fuel our roles and responsibilities with many emotions and complicating factors including greed, lust, power, and envy. We frequently sacrifice our basic instincts to co-
Most societies want us to believe in nurturing and encouraging individualism. Our communities place the spotlight on heroic and poetic individuals, heralding their talent, skill, and personality as a treasure to humankind. But, in reality, most societies want the population to conform and cooperate with the prevailing mainstream of life, work, and leisure. Within this construct, I believe we are each deeply in conflict conformity versus our true individual wishes, desires, ambitions, and passions. Parents, teachers, clergy, kin, and colleagues don't like seeing other following their dreams, avant-guard artistic expression, counter-culture opinion. It threatens their status quo. It reminds them they surrendered to conformity, practicality, and mainstream living.
We are not living authentically to the genuine person within.
There is, in most of us, a quiet voice within us speaking of being a dancer, aviator, or painter. Many secretly yearn to explore the musky green realm of the Amazon. Some hear a calling to rescue rare felines in Africa or opening a boutique to sell artisan olive oils. But far too many conform and become IT engineers, medical sales reps, PR writers, clerks, delivery truck drivers, and Brooks Brothers executives. There is nothing wrong with that if those are your true passion. But deep within, far too many are in conflict with the “genuine core” of who you are and what you want to be. They are not living authentically. They are not being genuine.
“To thy self be true.”
This conflict influences both your consciousness and unconsciousness Your happiness becomes channeled into other realities — your son's little league, your spouse's social service award, your latest performance evaluation. Amid those important priorities and realities many dream of things that now seem out of reach, unattainable. The authentic self is suppressed and driven deeper within and other priorities, emotions, successes, and failures cover it like sediment on a long lost fossil. Or diamond.
All other relationships become afflicted by this situation. It becomes harder to concentrate on work, marital issues seem to be more annoying and challenging, one envies others who seem to have found paradise instead of a profession. The grass is greener on the other side of daily reality.
What individuals need to do is to find ways to achieve the goals and needs of their authentic self while meeting the day-to-day priorities and responsibilities of family and community.
Finding this balance is essential to a life of contentment in your relationships. And society will continue to suffer until we work on authentic living.