Herds (and tribes) exist for a reason. They are the social construct that allows all to be greater than the sum of their parts. We can collect, use and develop resources more efficiently in groups. And we can certainly protect ourselves more effectively.
It’s not until we set aside our own interests and start to act in the best interests of the group that we can really do anything. On our own, it’s a great big world with many obstacles and challenges that can’t be overcome by the individual. If we leave others behind, we are likely going to hurt ourselves.
Here’s a real life example of water buffalo behaving heromindedly – taking care of the weakest – faced with a herd of hunting lions and a hungry crocodile. First, the lions are working together to have lunch. Then the water buffalo work together. Watch and see…
Seeking to build the largest tribe possible is the goal. But it’s not always possible to keep everyone in the tribe.
So when is it time to put someone outside of the tribe?
When they attack the weak or refuse to protect them. Or when they show that they are only willing to look out for themselves. Our social instincts are in place to challenge us to do better for each other. We don’t admire the selfish (usually) – and when we do, we are acting counter to our own best interests and those of the group. It takes the power of a collaborative group for us all to thrive.
Obstacles can do two things in our lives. They can beat us down and make us into a resentful, selfish villain – always complaining about what we didn’t get, grabbing for whatever we can take from the world. Or challenges can make us Hero Minded – as we leap over them and build our strengths and empathy.
We create laws in the effort to solve the problem of selfishness infringing on the autonomy of others. We want to make the world a fairer and safer place. Laws are usually coupled with punishment when they’re broken. Sometimes there are better ways to solve the problem and accomplish the goal, if we continue to remember the goal is a fairer and safer world. Continue reading A Better Kind of JusticePolicing Without Punishment→