We are, first of all, not solitary creatures and second of all, we are deeply embedded in the lives of others. It’s very easy to forget that and to engage in an atomistic fallacy — where we think that all we have to do is study the individual components of a system in order to understand the system. That’s clearly not the case when it comes to social systems.
–Nicholas Christakis, in “Q&A with Nicholas Christakis: Our modern, connected lives”
If a few nations step forward and begin changing the narrative of ‘us and them’ to ‘everyone,’ we will see a new dawn. If a few nations begin actually making operational a verification system we can all depend upon and push to bring all into such a system, we will all benefit.
–Jonathan Granoff, in “A Good Framework for a Good Future”
A social network is a kind of human superorganism, with an anatomy and a physiology — a structure and a function — of its own. Our local contributions to the human social network have global consequences that touch the lives of thousands every day and help us to achieve much more than the building of towers and the destruction of walls.
–James Fowler, in “Social Network Guru”
Many problems that challenge us today can be traced back to a profound tension between what is good and desirable for society as a whole and what is good and desirable for an individual. That conflict can be found in global problems such as climate change, pollution, resource depletion, poverty, hunger, and overpopulation.
–Martin Nowak, in “SuperCooperators: Altruism, Evolution, and Why We Need Each Other to Succeed”
We are beginning to see the entire universe as a holographically interlinked network of energy and information, organically whole and self referential at all scales of its existence. We, and all things in the universe, are non-locally connected with each other and with all other things in ways that are unfettered by the hitherto known limitations of space and time.
–Ervin László and Jude Currivan, in “CosMos: A Co-creator’s Guide to the Whole World”
If humans were to model the lifestyle displayed by healthy community of cells, our societies and our planet would be more peaceful and vital.
–Bruce Lipton, in “The Wisdom of Your Cells: How Your Beliefs Control Your Biology”
If ordinary people really knew that consciousness and not matter is the link that connects us with each other and the world, then their views about war and peace, environmental pollution, social justice, religous values, and all other human endeavors would change radically.
–Amit Goswami, in “The Self-Aware Universe”
The idea of the universe as an interconnected whole is not new; for millennia it’s been one of the core assumptions of Eastern philosophies. What is new is that Western science is slowly beginning to realize that some elements of that ancient lore might be correct.
–Dean Radin, in “Entangled Minds”
Collaboration is vital to sustain what we call profound or really deep change, because without it, organizations are just overwhelmed by the forces of the status quo.
–Peter Senge, in “The Fifth Dimension: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization”
It is indeed a paradox that so many from what are considered developing countries wish to come to the West, where we have an epidemic of depression, isolation, and loneliness, while the U.S. alone consumes 25 percent of the world’s resources. However, it is often these “third-world” cultures that offer some of the most profound wisdom and insights that have been garnered over thousands of years, while our own history spans a few hundred years.
–James Doty, in “The Science of Compassion”
The human brain now holds the key to our future. We have to recall the image of the planet from outer space: a single entity in which air, water, and continents are interconnected. That is our home.
–David Suzuki, cited in Pauline Vetuna, “A Force of Nature: David Suzuki”
We are (most of us) embedded in an exceedingly complex network of social relationships, many of which are vital to our well-being. Every day we confront issues relating to the needs and wants of others and must continually make accommodations. And in addressing these conflicting interests, the operative norm is – or should be – fairness, a balancing of the interests and needs of other parties, other ‘stakeholders.’
–Peter Corning, in “What’s the Matter with Libertarianism?”
The more we study the major problems of our time, the more we come to realise that they cannot be understood in isolation. They are systemic problems, which means that they are interconnected and interdependent.
–Fritjof Capra, cited in Michael Jackson, “Systems Approaches to Management,” p. 5
Social change will only come about through a process of education, that education is not limited to the classroom or to institutions of higher education, and that each of us, as an individual, has a responsibility to serve as an educator.
–Daniel Chodorkoff, in “Education for Social Change”
School performance, public health, crime rates, clinical depression, tax compliance, philanthropy, race relations, community development, census returns, teen suicide, economic productivity, campaign finance, even simple human happiness — all are demonstrably affected by how (and whether) we connect with our family and friends and neighbours and co-workers.
–Robert Putnam, in “Robert Putnam, Social Capital and Civic Community”
Harmony is the deepest factor for the universal peace. But it will be effective only if people will know how to achieve and develop social harmony.
–Ernesto Kahan, in “Spirituality, Harmony, Poetry and Medicine”
The planetary phase of history has begun, but the future shape of global society remains profoundly uncertain. Though perhaps improbable, a shift toward a planetary civilization of enriched lives, human solidarity, and environmental sustainability is still possible.
–Paul D. Raskin, in “The Great Transition”
Perhaps we humans are cosmic dwarfs; perhaps we are molecular giants. But there is no denying our mid-scale complexity. We humans live neither at the range of the infinitely small, nor at that of the infinitely large, but we might well live at the range of the infinitely complex. We live at the range of the most caring; we ourselves might embody the most capacity for caring.
–Holmes Rolston, in “Care on Earth: Generating Informed Concern”
There is a fundamental error in separating the parts from the whole, the mistake of atomizing what should not be atomized. Unity and complementarity constitute reality.
–Werner Heisenberg, in “The Part and the Whole”
What is needed is the intelligent management of Earth’s resources. If we really wish to put an end to our ongoing international and social problems, we must eventually declare Earth and all of its resources as the common heritage of all the world’s people.
–Jacque Fresco, in “Jacque Fresco on the Future”
Human beings are ‘emotional amoral egoists,’ driven above all by emotional self-interest. All of our thoughts, beliefs and motivations are neurochemically mediated, some predetermined for survival, others alterable.
Until we begin to see each other as ourselves, nothing will change. We are one planet.
–Peter Joseph, in “Where Are We Going?”
Flourishing goes beyond happiness, or satisfaction with life. True, people who flourish are happy. But that’s not the half of it. Beyond feeling good, they’re also doing good—adding value to the world.
–Barbara Fredrickson, in “Review of Positivity by Barbara Fredrickson”
Especially now when views are becoming more polarized, we must work to understand each other across political, religious and national boundaries.
–Jane Goodall, in “And if we dare…”
Human rights without responsibility, without a sense of decency, a sense of compassion, is not good enough for a society to flourish… We need to broaden our scope from the legalistic language to the language of the heart.
–Tu Weiming, in “TU Weiming in Vienna: Rise, Tianxia, rise!”
We must see ourselves in community with all other people at local, national and global levels. While this may seem superficially easy, it is actually not. Western culture, now globally dominant, has systematically trained us to think and act as though we are separate individuals, often in competition with each other for scarce resources of one sort or another, primarily money, which has be-come the perceived means to all we want and need in life.
–Elisabet Sahtouris, in “The Biology of Globalization”
We [must] all acknowledge our role as global citizens, and to fully step forward into that role of global citizenship. We must recognize our interconnectedness and to know that we are all actors on the world stage carrying great responsibilities. Each person has an impact upon the whole. There is no actor in the world who acts in isolation.
–Audrey Kitagawa, in “Practical Spirituality”
As we enter the 21st Century it is clear that we have entered an unprecedented global age in which our diverse cultures, religions, philosophies, worldviews and perspectives encounter one another in the marketplace of our global village. It is now clear that our future sustainability on this planet calls for radical advances in our rational and human capacities to negotiate the powerful forces between worlds as the human family moves towards a sustainable global civilization.
–Ashok Gangadean, in “Meditations”
The whole system is under tremendous strain. Although the increasing pace of change is essential for developing new solutions, it is also pushing society to its limits. In global structures, it all comes to a head in the form of sudden crises. This leads to tipping point situations in which the seemingly impossible becomes possible.
–Franz Josef Radermacher, in “Interview with Franz Josef Radermacher”
Much of modern life is based upon a false logic, a logic that assumes that happiness and well-being come from financial prosperity.
Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.
–Albert Einstein, in The New York Times, June 20,1932 AEA 29–041
Image: "Punctuated" by Shari Alisha