The Together Approach Rather Than The Tribal Approach

There are many ways to look at life. Some people take the together view of life whilst others take the tribal view of life. Let’s explore these two approaches.

The Together Approach

People who take this approach believe that most people have a lot in common. They aim to build a world in which everybody has the opportunity to be healthy, hopeful and happy. Such people have the following view of life.

They believe in building on what people have in common – rather than continually seeking conflict – to achieve concrete results.

They believe that people can combine their strengths to tackle the challenges we face across the world.

They believe that people can work together to create sustainable systems that deliver ongoing success for people and the planet. 

They want to encourage others to live fulfilling lives, providing they don’t hurt other people. Faced by challenges that may cause difficulties, they build on what people have in common. They then try to, as far as possible, find win-win solutions.

The Tribal Approach

People who take this approach focus only on what people similar to them have in common. They have little respect for those who are different. Such people have a particular view of life.

They identify only with people who are similar to them and have little empathy with those who are different.

They see people who are different as a threat to their own identity.

They try to make themselves look bigger by belittling other people or searching for scapegoats.

They sometimes want to impose their own beliefs on the way people live their lives. Faced challenges that could cause difficulties, they see these as a call to arms. They then try to make sure that they win and other people lose.

The Together Approach In Action

We face many challenges across the world. One of the biggest is for people to work together to build a sustainable system that delivers ongoing success for people and the planet.

Such people often see the world as one system. The actions we take in one part of the world can affect the living system in another part of the world. They therefore aim to plant seeds of hope during their time on the planet.

Frank White focuses on this theme in his book The Overview Effect. This described the experiences of astronauts who had seen the world from space.

Here is an introduction to a video on this theme. You can discover more via the following link.

Compiled by the Planetary Collective, the film documents astronauts’ life-changing stories of seeing the Earth from the outside – a perspective-altering experience often described as the Overview Effect.

The Overview Effect, first described by author Frank White in 1987, is an experience that transforms astronauts’ perspective of the planet and mankind’s place upon it. Common features of the experience are a feeling of awe for the planet, a profound understanding of the interconnection of all life, and a renewed sense of responsibility for taking care of the environment.

‘Overview’ is a short film that explores this phenomenon through interviews with five astronauts who have experienced the Overview Effect.

The film also features insights from commentators and thinkers on the wider implications and importance of this understanding for society, and our relationship to the environment.

Many people are doing work that embodies the together approach to life. Some are working as individuals. They are using their strengths to do satisfying work and help others to achieve success.

Some are working with others in social enterprises. Here are videos from three such organisations. These are the Ashoka Organization and Street Football World.

Jeremy Rifkin wrote The Empathic Civilisation. He believes that humanity’s future depends on us extending our empathy to the whole human family and the biosphere.

Below is an animated video from the Royal Society of Arts which explains this approach. The video starts slowly, focusing on experiments with monkeys, but then builds to take in all life.

Taking us through the human journey, he explains how we are soft-wired for empathy. This enables us to cooperate, build on our strengths and flourish.

Jeremy says that human beings will thrive if we broaden our sense of identity. This involves recognising that our actions have consequences on the entire system.

Expanding our compassion will enable us to save the human family and the biosphere. You can read more about his ideas via the following link.

People who take the together view of life enjoy helping people. The positive majority of people take this route. They love to encourage other people when acting as parents, educators, coaches, leaders, trusted advisors or playing other roles.

Today many people recognise that we need to combine our strengths to create a positive future. Different people choose different ways to take this route.

Amanda Mackenzie is such a person. She is somebody I have had the opportunity to work with for the past 20 years. Several years ago Amanda was seconded from her role at Aviva to help set up and run Project Everyone.

This culminated in launching The Global Goals for sustainable development. Her employers Aviva issued the following press release when she took up the post.

Amanda Mackenzie to lead global education programme
for UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

Aviva announces that it will be a founding partner of a new initiative by Richard Curtis, film director and founder of Red Nose Day and Make Poverty History, which will aim to bring the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals to every person around the world in 2015.

The UN’s Goals will aim to end extreme poverty and arrest the problems caused by climate change. 

To help meet this challenge, Aviva’s Chief Marketing Officer, Amanda Mackenzie, has been invited to work with Richard on this project for the next two years and has been specially seconded for this purpose. 

Amanda will lead a global education programme around the Goals and a legacy programme to see the eventual fulfilment of the goals.

Amanda has now moved to being the Chief Executive for Business In The Community. This organisation works with businesses of all sizes that are committed to having a positive impact on people and the planet. She continues to encourage both present and future generations.

Here is the video that was produced about the Global Goals. It is one expression of the many ways that people are following the together approach – rather than the tribal approach – towards building a better world.

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