The world can be seen as a multitude of groups that include other groups and, at the same time, are included in even bigger groups. This pattern is repeated in all aspects of life, including our society. We are born as a group of one, just ourselves. We immediately become part of another group, our family. As we grow, we realize that our family is part of a bigger group, our neighborhood. We then join and create new groups ourselves, our friends. As we continue to grow, we notice that there are even bigger groups, our school, our local community and, later, our city, our nation, our globe and so on.
Sometimes we notice that our current group cannot offer us what we are looking for. It might happen that our desires are different from those of our peers. Or we develop new desires. Regardless of case, we realize that we need to find and meet new people. Our first idea is to look inside our bigger groups. If we find such people, we are happy. If we don’t find them, we keep searching. After a while we realize that going upwards in our expandable groups gets harder, so we become discouraged. It is natural to feel this way. This approach to searching has clear limits due to the magnitude of such groups. Maybe we can find a better way.
Lets look at our desire. Where is it coming from? Did it suddenly appear in our mind out of nowhere? Or does it come from certain places? Or maybe from different groups of people?
Maybe our search should start from where we first discovered the object of our desire. Lets say we like a certain kind of music. Where did we hear it the first time? Who were those people playing it? Can we contact and ask them to introduce us to others like them? We definitely can. But sometimes we don’t do it. Why? Are we afraid of meeting new people? Or do we consider our two groups to be too different to even try? Are we building invisible barriers between us?
The more we look at this problem, the more we realize that there are no real barriers between the multitude of groups that creates our world, no matter how big or small they are. They are all deeply interconnected. It is us who prefer to make distinctions and separate ourselves from the others. There is nothing that stops us from engaging with any other person or group. Sometimes it is hard, indeed, but it’s not impossible if our desire is strong enough and we are willing to put the necessary effort. Maybe sometimes we just lack a purpose for doing all this.
Lets look again at our desire. Where is it coming from? Do we have something we wish to accomplish, or do we just seek pleasure? Can we transform our desires into plans and share them with other people? Can we convince and motivate others to join us? Lets try and see.
I like working with people. I believe change can only come through collaboration.
— Alain de Botton