Rather than be brought up to be open-hearted collaborators, we are schooled, trained and incentivised at work to be competitive and individualistic.
If we want to mobilise our collaborative potential we must first become collaborative in our emotional, psychological and spiritual core. Nothing could be harder for a species fed an addictive diet of ‘me’, ‘mine’ and ‘more’ from birth.
Time and time again, collaboration often begins to breakdown as we get start having to share our ‘property’ (whether intellectual or not); and therefore risk our livelihoods. As we fear loss of earnings, reputation or opportunity, we tend to back towards the habits learnt over a lifetime of looking out for Numero Uno.
We have been hampered by an impoverished mechanistic narrative of the cosmos, which leads directly to Social Darwinism and the Selfish Gene. It thrusts us, fundamentally spontaneous, improvising, collaborative human beings into boxes labelled ‘rational decision-making machines focused on economic gain and gene survival’. The Communist dream was born to destroy this inherently selfish (Capitalist) system; but was in fact rooted in this same mistaken, mechanistic belief about human beings. Both robbed us all of the enlivening process of, moment-by-moment, co-creating a better world / organisation / family life with the people we are interconnected with because we want to, because it is natural to.
Although most of us are profoundly ill-equipped psychologically and spiritually to collaborate, the latest behavioural research on humans and primates shows we are as hard-wired for compassion and collaboration as we are greed and graft. The circuits are there, waiting to be used. What we each mush shift are the entrenched patterns (HEART, HEAD & HANDS) that lock us in place. The more we shift our personal and cultural mindsets and metaphors away from separation and selfishness, to interconnection and heart-led habits, the more likely we are to set of the viral transformation that is palpably seeking to emerge.
Quantum physics also suggests that we live in such a participatory universe, where everything is co-created with, and interpenetrated by, everything else. Quarks, atoms, molecules are not discrete entities, islands unto themselves, but part of a ‘field’ of reality where everything is intertwined. Elementary particles burst in and out of existence, the quantum void
Carl Sagan, a celebrated scientist and agnostic came to realise that this unity does not require us to believe in religious mumbo jumbo or an “outsized, light-skinned male with a long white beard”. Instead he considered the interdependent state of all things to be a “final expression of the material universe.” This network of things seems similar to the French philosopher, and enfant terrible of post-modern theory, Jacques Derrida’s ideas that books, films, political beliefs, policies and humble words are never fully ‘present’ in themselves — they always refer, infinitely, to other ‘texts’. Meaning emerges from this network when we as humans engaged in it.
The African philosophy of Ubuntu offers up as solution to the Me / We conundrum. Archbishop Desmond Tutu explains:
Ubuntu speaks particularly about the fact that you can’t exist as a human being in isolation. It speaks about our interconnectedness. You can’t be human all by yourself, and when you have this quality — Ubuntu — you are known for your generosity. A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed.
Check out 'From Me to We' in London.
Brain to Brain coupling – a mechanism for creating and sharing a social world ; published in ‘Trends in Cognitive Sciences February 2012, Vol. 16, No. 2′
The structure of the shared external environment shapes neural responses and behavior. Some aspects of the environment are determined by the physical environment. Other aspects, however, are determined by a community of individuals, who together establish a shared set of rules (behaviors) that shape and constrain the perception and actions of each member of the group.
For example, human infants undergo a period of perceptual narrowing whereby younger infants can discriminate between social signals from multiple species and cultures, but older infants ﬁne-tune their perception following experience with their native social signals . Coupled brains can create new phenomena, including verbal and nonverbal communication systems and interpersonal social institutions, that could not have emerged in species that lack brain-to-brain coupling.