If a visitor from another galaxy landed on planet earth today—watched our news programs to learn about us and conducted an objective examination of the overall health of human institutions and state of our oceans, air, and planet from the outside—what would they say about us as human beings? There’s overwhelming evidence that we humans are arrogant, self-centered, and dangerous to ourselves and the planet that we live on. It’s easy to see how this could come to be the stranger’s view.
From my perspective today—having studied, lived, and worked as self-organizing groups for 7 years now—I’ve come to believe that this perspective on humans as a whole is also the individual’s viewpoint. That is, in every moment that I think of myself as just an individual—a small, lone being moving in and eventually leaving the world alone—I hold (or become susceptible to holding) the stranger’s viewpoint of humanity as a whole. We suck (or at least many of us do). We are ruining our world. We are destroying ourselves. There’s likely nothing we can do to save ourselves.
I’m not saying that the stranger’s perspective is wrong. And I’m not a religious person myself, so I’m also not trying to sell God to you here (my dear “woo woo” fearing friends). But I would like to share another perspective—the view from the seats of self-organizing group members. Here’s their perspective…
It’s easy to love ourselves and everyone around us.
We naturally learn, get better, and do better together.
We are more effective than we imagined possible as individuals.
We are naturally generous. And silly.
We don’t need more. We have enough. We are more than enough.
This is the world that self-organizing group members imagine and create for themselves. This is our world. Today, each time that I let go of this perspective and take the stranger’s view of my planet and its people, my own self-organizing groups flood me with gratitude, remind me how lucky I am, and pull me back to the perspective on myself and my planet that comes from within.