Art of Unlearning my just published graphic novel, begins in the perspective of a newborn baby who is completely depended on the goodwill of those around them. This ‘Goodwill’ is what we variously describe as loving kindness. It is the life-blood of our collective human body. All sub-systems of social organization whether sports teams or gangs, draw upon this basic energy and capture it in various containers.
During our conversation at the Art of Unlearning book launch a week ago at the Goethe-Institut Nairobi, I received many questions about one such container, namely capitalism. My response is that although the profit-motive has created great wealth and material benefits to much of humanity, loving kindness is much more essential and fundamental to human existence, whether or not that human had ever seen money. If your mother was motivated by profit alone, she may have found it more ‘profitable’ to discard you rather than bear all the expense of your existence. Indeed there are some who might discard their children, but when this happens, we recognize it as a profound disharmony. Yet disharmonies such as the destruction of our own life-sustaining resources, bio-diversity and the health and education of our children have too often been too compatible with the economic system we have adopted.
Disharmony not only depletes natural resources, it interrupts the flow of loving kindness through artificial scarcity. Scarcity is experienced in the individual’s life as an insatiable competitiveness which often erupts into violence. Disharmony is the absence of loving kindness. It is like a ripple frantically splashing around in a vain search for clear water. It is the feeling of unease at the thought that “there is not enough…”
Study after study of elite teams in sports and business have found that it is not the sum of IQ scores or medals of individual team members that makes the difference, but the foundation of vulnerability and trust that members share. This is the pre-condition for commitment that can withstand passionate and unfiltered debate and growth pains.
February 14th has always been a wonderful excuse for me to meditate on that which is most worthwhile in life. The loving kindness we feel towards fellow human beings. We share chocolates, flowers and best of all, heart-warming words that cost nothing. In so doing, we become the flowers that we share and amplify the signal of loving kindness around us.
Let us also contemplate today technologies and organizational styles that amplify loving kindness, beyond our home, our city or state.
To all the beautiful souls who have amplified Art of Unlearning with your presence and your purchase, may you know too the love you have shown me.
To the Love of my life, happy anniversary. See how far we have come. I love you and I love life.
Happy Valentines Day!