‘If we’re here to help others, what are the others here for?’ (Robert Anton Wilson)
What a great satirical question. It calls into question human identity and purpose and does so with tongue firmly-in-cheek. It made me smile. I ran it past my professional mentor and his response was simple: ‘
There are no others.’ I like that…but what on earth does it mean?
I can’t get rid of this deep, nagging feeling that we’ve seriously lost our way somewhere.
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The climate emergency, the plastic-in-the-oceans crisis, the Covid19 pandemic: all are screaming out to us to wake up, open our eyes, see.
The troubling thing is, this isn’t just about something that someone else needs to do. It’s about you, me, us.
‘Make X great again’ is an attractive and rousing slogan, but it’s a zero-sum game in which there are real winners and real losers…and the stakes are getting breathtakingly high.
Against this backdrop, I was encouraged to read a coaching book this week in which the writer rejects ‘return on investment’ as a foundational principle in favor of a ‘return on humanity’ (Clare Norman, 2020).
And this word keeps returning to me: Return.
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Glancing down at my keyboard:
I touch the ‘return’ key and the cursor leaps back to where it started in the left-hand margin (or the right-hand margin if you use a different script) – except that it doesn’t.
It’s one line, one step, further ahead on the page than it was before.
Now I’m thinking – a return that means a revisiting, yet to a step forward. Where do we need to return to in order to move forward?
What will best yield a ‘return on humanity?’
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So, here’s a return.
In 18C Europe, the Enlightenment must have felt like a bright liberation from the feudal dark ages.
Yet, ‘the (apparent) death of God didn’t strike (even) Nietzsche as an entirely good thing’ (Scotty Hendricks, 2016).
In losing sight of God, we somehow lost sight of each other.
I’m convinced it’s time for a new Enlightenment: a radical re-turn to Jesus and to step forward with renewed humanity – together.
Bottom line: There are no others.
‘I am them’ (Jasmin – Philippines, 2016).
What could this look like in leadership and coaching practice? What do you think?
Is a psychological coach and organization development (OD) consultant who is based in the UK and works internationally (www.nick-wright.com).
References: Norman, C. (2020), ‘Mentor Coaching’, London, Open University Press; Hendricks, S. (2016), https://bigthink.com/scotty-hendricks/what-nietzsche-really-meant-by-god-is-dead; Jasmin – Philippines: A Radical Heart: http://www.nick-wright.com/a-radical-heart.html
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