The InterDependence Project
The Two Masters
"It AIN'T so much the things we don't know that get us into trouble. It's the things we Know That Just Ain't So."
Attributed to : Josh Billings, Mark Twain, Will Rogers
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Matthew 6:24 (King James Version)
For most of the existence of mankind there has been only one master - InterDependence. Survival of the fittest "Individual" was not possible, nor cities, nor culture, nor atomic bombs, until the advent of agriculture which created a new "Master" of Independent Survival. This shift has created a culture based on independent individual survival which is in direct conflict with our biology and psychology which is adapted for group Interdependent Survival.
I maintain that the fallout of confusion from this shift is the root cause of almost all of mankind's current problems. Remedying this confusion must be our highest priority.
Darwin's theory of evolution certainly has advanced our understanding of how life on earth came to be. Unfortunately, and I feel tragically, we have misinterpreted and misconstrued a lot of his theory. Darwin actually believed that man survived and evolved not as an individual but a Group and was a product of Group Selection perhaps more than Individual Selection. Unfortunately, in the context of our current brutal dog eat dog rat race culture which actually does operate under a "survival of the fittest" set of precepts we have erroneously presumed that the nature of our culture is the nature of our biology. A misunderstanding with Tragic Consequences.
The Confused Animal
The cultural shift that we refer to as "civilization" is only about 10,000 years in the making. We Homo Sapiens Sapiens has been around in our present biological form for at least 200,000 years and were the product of over 2 million years of evolution into that subspecies. Our culture is not our nature and our culture is the result of the shift to agriculture which for the first time in our existence set forces into play that put us in direct conflict with our true biological and psychological natures.
My central thesis is that we are the most confused animal on the planet. Like a bird who is born in a birdcage, all our views of the world are limited to the environs of that cage. Our cage is "Independence" while our nature is "Interdependence" I maintain, all of our physical and emotional beings are tuned and evolved over hundreds of thousands of years for interdependence. This book examines the resulting dissonance and insanity this sudden schism in our realities visited upon the human condition.
What difference does it make if humanity which by nature is interdependent is operating under the confusion that our nature is independent? It makes all the difference in the world ! We go totally against our natures when we attempt to function in a world organized around an independent paradigm. Frustration, lack of fulfillment and unhappiness are predictable outcomes at the personal level. Less predictable are the institutions of government that would lead us to and keep us on the brink of self destruction and annihilation with tens of thousands of nuclear weapons. The two paradigms produce totally different ways we organize our selves, our families, our communities, and our institutions and our governments. This will not likely become evident until one goes down the road I lay before you.
Culture - The Environment In Which We Express Our Potential.
When you purchase either seeds or a seedling in a plant nursery, there are usually instructions for the "culture" the plant needs to reach it's full potential. One plant may need full sun and well drained soil whereas another needs shade and moist soil. Since the advent of agriculture, most of humanity has lived in a culture of independence when I maintain we require a culture of interdependence to reach our full potential for fulfillment and happiness as individuals and as a species. It is my assertion that we went from interdependent "Thrival" to independent "Survival". We have been misinformed that in primitive cultures life was "nasty, brutish, and short" . In fact primitive cultures work fewer hours than "civilized" societies, have far more leisure time, and are loath to accept a "civilized" lifestyle, unless it is forced upon them, generally by destruction of their habitat by "civilized" society.
The ideas in this book may well change the way you view security; economic and physical. As it is written in 2009, people have seen their life savings in stocks and investments ravaged. We also face the threats of global warming and the realization that nearly 7 billion humans cannot possibly live in the manner the first world has lived. There simply are not enough resources and the impact to the planet would be unsustainable even if there were enough resources. New models are required. I will lay out alternative investments in community that I believe will secure a higher quality of life and experience and economic security as well as reverse the unsustainable trends in resource usage.
If You Can't Say It Simply.... You Just Don't Understand It. (Albert Einstein)
Much of the evidence for my theories is incontrovertible and the logic of the arguments is straightforward and of a common sense nature, however it is truly a paradigm shift of huge proportions. This should not be that surprising. It's not what you don't know..... it's what you know that just ain't so that has kept us confused as a species for millennia.
Somewhere along the way I kept running across parallels in some of my religious upbringing in the Christian faith. Bible verses that I used to interpret conventionally, suddenly had a totally new dimension to them. Considering that my whole premise is that this confusion over our nature - independent versus interdependent is "the" root of virtually all of our dilemmas as humans, it should not be surprising that much of the teachings of religion would deal with this central conflict and its manifestations. I include references to these verses because I have found their insights relevant. I in no way wish to quarrel with anyone else's interpretation and believe that frequently some of the greatest teachings have multiple complex lessons contained within them.
The developing of the theories contained in this book has altered the context within which I live my life. I am convinced these perspectives have allowed me to live a happier, more fruitful and fulfilled life than would have been possible under a conventional world view. It is my hope that others may likewise benefit. I also believe the broader implications for how we organize all of the socioeconomic aspects of our lives and our institutions could also shift and create a totally different "culture"... a culture I would hope would be tuned toward our natures not our confusion.
Lacy Thompson, Jr.
I have become convinced that the fate of humankind that has led to the levels of confusion that put us on the path to self-destruction with the creation and widespread proliferation of nuclear weapons first and currently the second path to self destruction of global warming, is brought about by the confusion of being an Interdependent animal living in an Independent culture. The case for this is I think clear and compelling and the implications for how we structure our individual priorities and cultural support systems absolutely vast beyond my ability to speculate.
It's fair to say that I started the research for this book somewhere around the age of 15 when I saw in no uncertain terms that what passed for normal in the human condition was merely the accepted average level of dysfunctionality and insanity. The epiphany that first brought this into clear view was that at the age of 15 I was learning to drive an automobile and exposed to driver's education classes where they showed you all sorts of gory accidents with movies like "Signal 30". At the same time the Viet Nam war was escalating and the central subject of debate at my church amongst the youth. Somewhere along the way I started applying third grade math to question and assess the relative importance of subjects of debate.
At that time the deaths per year from the Viet Nam war were in the 5,000 to 7,000 range and automobile accidents were claiming over 50,000 lives. The debate over the war was hot and heavy, while except for driver's ed class, no one batted an eyelash at the relatively much larger threat to human life of auto accidents. This seemed to me to be prima facia evidence of a twisted logic or worse..... insanity. From that point forward I realized if I was to remain sane, I was going to have to question almost everything and make up my own mind.
This started me on a curious quest for reasons as to just why it appeared to me we humans act so irrationally and frequently not at all in our own best interests. For about the last decade, I have had enough of a paradigm or model of the situation to make me realize that getting this out into the world was important, perhaps one of the most important efforts that should occupy my time.