An ordinary person's thoughts on the complexities of art & life ...

An ordinary person's thoughts on the complexities of life ... or just ramblings from the mind of a working Mum with far too little time to think!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

We are all connected ~ I am because you are

Over this Easter break I have been thinking about how the whole world celebrates certain special days every year, and how on those few days we are all connected for a short time. We all too often think of ourselves as being individuals, separate from each other, and of having complete autonomy over what we think and do - and yet everything we think and do has an effect on others. We are in fact all connected, simply by being human.

Evening stroll in Shanghai

Africans call this concept of interconnectedness - 'Ubuntu', which has its origins in the Bantu languages of Southern Africa. There is a Zulu proverb that says, ‘umuntu ungumuntu ngabanye abantu.’ Simply translated, it says: ‘People are people through other people', and it acknowledges both the rights and the responsibilities of each citizen in promoting individual and societal wellbeing.

Street in New York City

Archbishop Desmond Tutu explains it in the following way: "One of the sayings in our country is 'Ubuntu' - the essence of being human. 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."

Saint Mark's Square ~ Venice

There is a spiritual as well as practical dimension to 'Ubuntu', reflecting the idea that we are all part of a long chain of human experience or universal consciousness, connecting us to previous and future generations. 

Spanish Steps ~ Rome

Imagine what we could do if the power of 'Ubuntu' were to be universally harnassed - this simple concept has the awesome potential to bring about harmony in our chaotic world. All it needs to start is for us, as individuals, to accept our interconnectedness with the billions of other human beings who share our planet.
I am because you are!

Commuters ~ Hong Kong

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