In our cynical culture of back-biting politics, posturing and sound bite diplomacy, it seems naïve to believe that humankind’s basic nature is anything other than aggressive and susceptible to greed.  Is our essential nature one of cooperation or domination?  In aboriginal cultures, the highest value is cooperation, while competition is a low value, and competition beyond certain boundaries is considered mental illness.  So, how would our society’s norm of blood sports, or TV shows, such as “Survivor,” or “The Apprentice,”  fare in a culture that thrives on cooperation?

Are we competitive by nature? Or is it a value inculcated in our way of life?  Your experience may produce some doubt, yet the basis of our nature is cooperation.  It’s in our DNA.  Empathy is strong in our collective humanity.  You observe it every time there’s a natural disaster or horrific destruction. Of course, there are sociopaths in society, but this is not the norm.  We are wired to have a sense of community and a compassionate response to another person’s anguish.

As trite as it may sound, what we do on an individual level effects the global environment.  We live in a participatory world.  We are all connected.  The reality is that what happens on another continent does impact us. There is consequence to people starving, to genocide.  We normally don’t see the connection until the outcome impacts us economically.  Yet, for the most part, our better nature does rise to the top.  A TIbetan Buddhist nun, Pema Chodron said, “fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.”  There are many examples of courageous individuals who have embraced their fear to stand up for their truth and they have impacted our world immeasurably.  When one becomes fully conscious of one’s true nature, there is no other choice.

New Perspective:

When you change your perception, the world changes.

Nothing in nature takes more than it needs.

When surrounded by negativity, love is a powerful force.

What’s right with the world is that more often than not, we do remember our true nature, cooperation is the force that brings groups together, empathy is a healing influence and embracing fear does bring us closer to the truth.