Forum Post: Damn, this is a HUGE DISCOVERY that has shaken so many people awake -- SO, WHAT WOKE YOU UP?
Posted 5 years ago on Dec. 2, 2012, 7:54 a.m. EST by therising
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
Underdog on this forum lamented how man people "relentlessly advocate rugged John Wayne individualism as some sacred cow of ideology, as if testosterone were the only basis for survival." He called that "delusional" and suggested that "our problems are now so great that they can only be solved. . . through deep cooperation. Rugged individualism is a concept for simpler and more primitive times."
I think this discovery of the power of a community perspective is a crucial understanding. If more people understood this in their bones and used it as a template for problem solving (no matter what the front), we'd be in a great position to beat back so many of the challenges that are preventing us humans from reaching our potential. Even out of blind patriotism, this would be the arrest course of action for Americans.
So how to we get this word to sink in? We all have a story of how we discovered this truth. Read the quotes at the bottom of this by Martin Luther King, Jr. and Dostoevsky and they may remind you of what originally shook you from your from the individualistic slumber most of us were born into.
* If you are so inclined, please share a sentence or two about what woke you up. I'd like to ask a lot of people on this forum that question. Imagine what that example could do to awaken others. *
My short version is this: I read James Baldwin's book "Another Country". I was never the same after that. I looked at the world with new eyes. It confirmed / uncovered experiences and intuitions whose significance had apparently laid dormant for years.
This doesn't mean the book did it, of course. But it does mean that this book turned a key to unlock a whole different perspective. Reading King and Gandhi soon after that sealed the deal. It felt natural and familiar ---- meaning that it felt human. So, by the time I got the the paragraphs above in Dostevsky's "Brothers Karamazov", I was sort of nodding my head.
I'm not suggesting books are the vehicle of awakening for all. That was just my experience. What was yours? What woke you up from the dream of blind faith to individualism / mindless sleepwalking in consumerism? Most of us were born into that world and something shook us awake to the deeper potential of further fulfilling ourselves in community with others.
I love Martin King, Jr's quote: I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. All of us are inextricably linked."
And this quote from Dostoevsky really gets at it and speaks to us today:
"Today, everyone asserts his own personality and strives to live a full life as an individual. But these efforts lead not to a full life but to suicide, because instead of realizing his personality, man only slips into total isolation. For in our age, man has been broken up into self-contained individuals, each of whom retreats into his lair, trying to stay away from the rest, hiding himself and his belongings from the rest of mankind, and finally isolating himself from people and people from him.
And while he accumulates material wealth in his isolation, he thinks with satisfaction how mighty and secure he has become, because he is mad and cannot see that the more goods he accumulates, the deeper he sinks into suicidal impotence. The reason for this is that he has become accustomed to relying only on himself; he has split off from the whole and become an isolated unit; he has trained his soul not to rely on human help, not to believe in man and mankind, and only to worry that the wealth and privileges he has accumulated may get lost.
Everywhere men today are turning scornfully away from the truth that the security of the individual cannot be achieved by his isolated efforts but only by mankind as a whole.
BUT AN END to this fearful isolation is bound to come and all men will understand how unnatural it was for them to have isolated themselves from one another. This will be the spirit of the new era and people will look in amazement at the past when they sat in darkness and refused to see the light. . . . . . Until that day, we must keep hope alive, and now and then a man must set an example, even if only an isolated one, by trying to lift his soul out of its isolation and offering it up in an act of brotherly communion, even if he is taken for one of God's fools.
This is necessary to keep the great idea alive."
What a great discovery. We need to uncover ways to spread that wisdom of a community perspective. It has so many real benefits for us as individuals. And it doesn't preclude us also fulfilling ourselves individually. It's not "either or". It's "both and". What a great and transformative discovery this is for us as individuals and for us as Americans and citizens of the world.
* If you are so inclined, please share a sentence or two about what woke you up to the power of community. I'd like to ask a lot of people on this forum that question. Imagine what that example could do to awaken others. *