When you look at any version of human history, and there are plenty of legitimately viable ones out there, you see at its basis – relationship. Hunter-gatherers would usually hunt either in groups or with a collective of historical wisdom derived from multiple hunts by multiple individuals who then pooled their knowledge. Relationship bred children through the majesty of sex. Relationship latched onto the idea of fire – a way to keep warm, to cook for communal meals, as entertainment or the centre of a familial circle.
Then came trading – relationship. To get a better range of stuff you swapped your excess stuff for other stuff. Shiny stuff, to relationally impress someone. Tasty stuff to improve the meals you ate together. Intelligent stuff to make farming for each other easier and more effective. Relationships called for leadership – family decisions, village decisions, tribe decisions, nation decisions. Language entered the realm to be able to communicate – the basis of any relationship. We function first through a family unit. A group who are most familiar with each other. Similar facial features, mannerisms, colouring, language. The essence of family is relational.
Everything is relational. – Humanity has a certain relationship with the animals and the trees and even the ground they sleep on. We have a relationship with each other – social codes, rules, niceties. We have a relationship with the gods depending on who and when they were. We have a relationship with our history and our own dreams for the future, The spiritual forces and the completely non-spiritual parts of life.
Life is relationship based.
For humans we can quantify this even further – Life is for and because of love. Starting from the family base. If two people are attracted to each other and are drawn to one another in a selfless wanting to serve the other one, who then have sex and make a baby from that mutual love and servant-heartedness. then love has made a family. A relational triangle has been produced. We go out and collect food, and shelter, and warmth. Or we get a job to make money to trade for these things. The purpose of life is not the collection of foods, it is not the collection of monies. It is the things these collections bring us.
We CAN put ourselves into positions where our collecting of monies take up more of our days than the enjoyment of relationship, but this doesn’t maketh the reason for existence, this is just a distortion.
At the base of all our “aholicisms” is our craving for intimacy, our need of love and relationship. And this is hugely simplified, yes. But simplified because I believe existence as we know it is currently is a lie. A lie intended to distract us from leading meaningful, hard and good lives but instead leading us into inherently lazy – “easy” comfortable lives which breed selfishness. A selfishness which permeates the worlds relationships so much so that less than a sixth of the world lives extremely wealthy existences, whilst more than a third live in comparatively extreme poverty. This gap can easily be closed but WE – the wealthy – believe the lie that we must be destructively and filthily rich.
Why do we crave to be CEO’s? Because we are good at our jobs, because we are good with power, because we crave power, because we are addicted to influence and money, because we needed a job once and then ended up there. Everything starts in a relationship.
Simplified: Everything is relational. And one could write a hundred books on psychology and ethnicity and business and invention and pack mentality and family and religion and God and community and human interaction at primary school. Everything comes back to relationship. So wouldn’t heaven be when everyone loves each other and treats everyone really well? Serves and blesses each other?
So why don’t we. Why don’t we base our lives on just being nice and serving other people? Because we can’t.
The bottom line is, humanity is inherently dodgy. Try it. Try being amazingly nice and servant-hearted forever? Try being perfect.
Try it. Please.
But if you’re anything like the rest of the 7 billion of us here on earth you will fail. and worse, you will choose to fail.
If you design an electronics plug to plug into a wall and power things, you will design it in such a way that it will fit in the plug and go flush to wall to get optimal power. But what happens if it starts being used improperly and chunks come off it, or it melts a little and one of the prongs falls off and its so misshapen that it can’t even be plugged in let alone all the way in like it needs to be. So it can’t power the thing it was designed to power, it can’t even connect.
This is a picture of humanity. We are disconnected, we need to be repaired or at least, some of our components need to be replaced. And that’s why we easily miss the point. We forget about relationship and how good it is because we have redesigned ourselves. And we can still see echoes of this in how we function in teams and communities and clubs but not intimately. Not perfectly.
We are designed for perfection, we just need some help to get there.