Mounting scientific and archeological data supports the idea that humans evolved to be both collaborative and competitive – to seek self interests as well as interests of others. We have it in us to place a high priority on our own needs, as well as on the needs of others. What then do we do when self-interest competes with other interest, or we perceive that it does? When this happens to you, do you blame others for “not doing their share,” yourself for being “selfish” or for society being beyond redemption? Do you end up choosing between self-interest and other interest, and also losing connection with others, yourself, and your deepest dreams and longing?
I believe that there is another way. Common sense suggests, as does my experience, that there is a way that self-interest can align with other interest, and that is when I strive to meet my needs while also considering the needs of others. Pursuing the common good benefits all people, indeed all beings, without diminishing any ones needs. When two friends, a family, a community, a congregation, or a society or nation can put the common good (equally considering everyone’s needs) in the forefront, we will find that we have abundant resources and creativity to build better relationships and experience more beautiful and joyful moments, and hence realize the beloved community. This is my prayer not just for the future, but now, in the very next thought and conversation you and I have. May it be so. Blessed Be.