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The Space Between Us
Lynne McTaggart, author of the international bestsellers The Field and The Intention Experiment, is one of the pre-eminent spokespersons on consciousness and the new science. This article, adapted from her forthcoming book The Bond: Connecting Through the Space Between Us, is the culmination of her groundbreaking work, offering a completely new scientific story, plus a detailed blueprint of how to live in harmony with it. Watch a LIVE interview with Lynne with Lisa Garr on GaiamTV.com at 7pm EST, Wed., March 7, 2012.
I was taken aback, but I had to admit she had a point. Certainly that’s the life we grown-ups have designed for ourselves. Competition makes up the very warp and woof of the societies of most modern developed countries. It is the engine of our economy, and it is assumed to be the basis of most of our relationships — in business, in our neighborhoods, even with our closest friends. Being first, no matter how, has permeated our lexicon as a given: All’s fair in love and war. Survival of the fittest. Winner take all. He who dies with the most toys wins.
It is hardly surprising that highly competitive tactics have crept into the social relations of our children, leading to transgressions, large and small.
Our current paradigm, as provided us by traditional science, maintains a view of the universe as a place of scarcity populated by separate things that must turn against each other in order to survive. We’ve all simply assumed that’s life.
I began to ask myself a basic question: Does it have to be like this?
Were we meant to be so competitive with one another? Is it inherent in animal and human biology? How did it get like this? And if we’re not this, what are we supposed to be?
It doesn’t have to be like this.
As I began researching and studying the latest discoveries in a vast array of disciplines — biology, physics, psychology, anthropology, sociology, among others — the more it became clear to me that the lives we’ve chosen to lead are not consistent with who we really are.
A new understanding is emerging from the laboratories of the most cutting-edge physicists, biologists, and psychologist that challenges the very way we conceive of ourselves. Frontier biologists, psychologists and sociologists have all found evidence that individuals are far less individual than we thought they were.
Between the smallest particles of our being, between our body and our environment, between ourselves and all of the people with whom we are in contact, between every member of every societal cluster, there is a bond — a connection so integral and profound that there is no longer a clear demarcation between the end of one thing and the beginning of another. The world essentially operates, not through the activity of individual things, but in the connection between them — in a sense, in the space between things.
These new discoveries in physics and biology demonstrate that all living things succeed and prosper only when they see themselves as part of a greater whole. Rather than a will to compete and dominate, the essential impulse of all of life is a will to connect.
Human beings need partnership just to survive; we experience the greatest stress and the most serious illnesses when we are isolated from others and from a sense of connection.
This impulse to seek connection has four signatures in any society: a need to belong, a need to agree, a need to give and a need to take turns. Hardwired in our basic biology, these impulses get revealed in the connections we make with our nearest and dearest as well as with every person with whom we come into contact.
We can recapture our sense of the connection between things, but it requires a very different set of rules from the ones we currently live by.
We need to perceive the world differently, relate to others differently, organize ourselves — our friendships and neighborhoods, our towns and cities — differently. If we’re not to be separate, but always attached and engaged, we need to change our fundamental purpose on earth as something more than one based on struggle and domination. We must look at our lives from an entirely different perspective, a larger vantage point, to notice the connections that tie us all together.
We must make a choice.
For hundreds of years we have followed a false trail of individual satisfaction as our primary motivation, at great cost. As individualism rises, the indices of every major aspect of life satisfaction, from health care and education to life span and urban safety, fall further among every member of the population, rich and poor.
We stand at the crucial point in our evolution where we must make a choice. We can continue to operate against nature, and connect less and less with what we regard as other than ourselves. Or, we can embrace the opposite impulse, our natural drive to seek wholeness and connection.
There are tiny signs here and there that the game is changing. Herbert Gintis, professor emeritus of University of Massachusetts, who has worked extensively on game theory and the development of strong reciprocity, discovered that if a culture falls apart with too many freeloaders, all it requires is a small group of individuals committed to strong reciprocity to “invade” a population of self-interested individuals and turn the entire thing around.
Gintis is saying that both selfishness and altruism spread easily, but that altruism is the more contagious impulse. Although this contagion spreads more rapidly in a small group, once one group has a small, stable level of cooperation, it may spread.
Marie, an employee of a software company, discovered this at her company’s vending machine. She decided that every time she came for her afternoon Coke, she’d leave money in the machine for the next person, with a note and a card: Your can of Coke has been paid for. Takes this card and pay it forward.
From the moment Marie began her campaign, it not only changed the dinner conversation for weeks; it entirely changed the me-first culture of her office.
It doesn’t have to be like this. Not for one more day.
Lynne McTaggart is a bestselling author, researcher and lecturer whose work has been described as “a bridge between science and spirituality.” She is the award-winning author of six books, including the international bestselling sensations The Field, The Intention Experiment and The Bond. Wayne Dyer called The Field “the most profound and enlightening book I have ever read.” Lynne also is the architect of the Intention Experiments, a web-based “global laboratory,” involving an international consortium of prestigious scientists and thousands of people in countries around the world to test the power of intention to heal the world. She has been featured in the acclaimed documentary I AM, on national TV shows and radio shows, including Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra. For more information, go to www.thebond.net. Watch Lynne’s LIVE interview with Lisa Garr on GaiamTV.com at 7pm EST, Wed., March 7, 2012.