Positive is always best
My first thought is to ask whether the personal relationships, referred to in this beautiful quote, are positive or negative. Positive relationships mean that we get on well with people. If we have negative relationships, then that tends to isolate us.
Obviously Ben is taking about positive relationships. The ability to get on well with other people is a golden quality, that oils the success wheels of all kinds of life ventures, where we have to work with other people.
What’s your boss like?
One huge area, where this personal relationship dimension is crucial, is in business. Most businesses are hierarchical, an authority pyramid, with different levels of responsibility for others. A key issue is how the boss treats their workers. Gone are the days when it was simply a matter of dictatorship. What the boss told you to do, you did it. If not, you got fired.
Let’s hope we’re a bit more advanced today. A boss who can command the respect, even the love of their workers, is the boss who builds a successful company. Human relations savvy is essential. Business success, of course, also depends on many other elements; elements such as how the market is doing, whether the product is good enough to compete with competitors, and so on. However . . .
Even if all these other elements are in place, a boss who can’t get on with their staff can undermine the whole business, and lead to failure. An unhappy workplace is a recipe for failure.
Let’s take another area where relationships are key: families. Countless movies bear witness to what happens when family relationships go wrong. Their storylines depend on disagreements, fights, misunderstandings, etc. On the other hand, Romcoms bear witness to the beauty, joy and happiness that spring from positive relationships – at least by the end of the movie! Yes, “boy still gets girl.”
Politics and Them and Us
We could make a seemingly endless list of different areas of life, where positive relationships are essential, and yet often seem so hard to achieve. A massive area is politics, where the very fibre of political life seems to be a relentless “them and us” battleground.
Of course, this applies in so-called “democratic” countries; but is so much worse in countries still tied in to dictatorial regimes. Countries, where people have to obey like sheep, are hardly likely to result in “advancement, success and achievement” of our Ben Stein quote.
The matter becomes even worse, when we examine the relationship between different countries, especially when they have different models of leadership. That’s the obvious reason why we have so many wars, and today’s no different.
Is there a better, peaceful way?
Many philosophers and spiritual leaders today attempt a paradigm shift in our thinking. They help us to see that it’s possible to move from the duality of “them and us” to the “oneness” of us all. I fear they have a long, uphill struggle.
There are just so many “dualities” we still cling to in life. Dualities, where there are just two options to choose from: them and us, right or wrong, for or against, etc. We experience such dualism is race, religion, politics, rich and poor – to name just a few.
Will the day ever come when we see ourselves as family, as “brothers and sisters?” It’s a beautiful dream, but it seems a long way off.
Maybe you can help?
Maybe not in our lifetime. Utopia still seems an impossible dream. All we can do, as individuals, is to try to live that mindset within our little piece of the world: our family, our friends, and our local community.
How could you do even one little thing to move from division towards unity? What will you do today, tomorrow . . .?
P.S. How are Unity and Division working out in your life? Please let us know by leaving a comment.