Think Collectively

Thinking revolves around two axes: the pursuit of individual interests to do what one wants and collective interests to pursue what our society needs. Today, our government allows laissez-faire constructs to fester, prioritizing and glamourizing personal interests over collective ones, poisoning the evolution of humanity.

New threats to the survival of the human species continually present themselves. Natural threats such as climate change, viruses, and disease combined with manmade threats such as sixteen percent extreme poverty in the U.S., national debt outgrowing our GDP, and obesity, killing forty thousand Americans each month, force us to think collectively about how to combat those challenges best. Combining individual skills, strengths, and expertise to serve collective interests was and remains an essential benefit to the survival of the great ape species.

Pursuing individual interests requires thinking about how to get the upper hand over others and to become more dominant to achieve a leadership position or to become free from the shackles that enslave others in the group. Pursuing individual interests incompatible with evolutionary benefits beyond the boundaries of collective interests will damage the trust in the efficacy of the group. This is called a vile maxim; “the all for me and nothing for anyone else” stance.

It seems really very unfair that man should have chosen the gorilla to symbolize everything that is aggressive and violent, when that is one thing that the gorilla is not, and that we are.

Sir David Attenborough

For our great ape cousin, the gorillas, their limited purview of foraging and procreation is finetuned to their well-defined local environment, which restricts the group’s collective interest and need to think. Gorillas rely on the hierarchy of a dominant male to ensure the pack operates per the group’s collective interest of well-being and security. In a surprisingly delicate balance, the female gorillas collectively rail against the male to ensure his behavior subscribes to the same. The power of neither is absolute and shifts dynamically based on who is best suited to serve the group’s collective interests at a given time. This balance of power ensures a vile maxim cannot wreak havoc on the group. 

Humans have a much broader intellectual purview and use thinking and predictive reasoning to expand the purview of our collective interests. That is how early humans fled the plains of Africa in search of milder climates to escape extinction. We have learned that our survival as a species is predicated on more than our status quo within a group in sight. We interact with and are part of groups worldwide and realize how the dynamic equilibrium with our environment impacts us today and how the strength of our renewal determines the quality of life of our offspring tomorrow. The packs we belong to and depend on have become much more extensive and diversified, crossing geographical boundaries. Each sovereignty requires a rebalance of collective interests with individual contributions to serve it. 

The operating principle of gorillas has evolved by nature to provide for the well-being and safety of the pack; their individual contributions to the group are renumerated in kind. Humans expect the same outcome of well-being and safety, yet have developed our own constructs to do so—a methodology quite different from gorillas and violating nature’s first-principles. To use an analogy, when nature tells us to play the game of soccer, and we keep playing basketball as our preferred game, we will surely lose the battle for human survival.

A new method must be developed to balance our individual and collective interests to protect the trust in a future that serves us all. A method we call method EVA.

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The sign of a vibrant, innovative nation is its willingness to pursue the ever-unfolding discovery of nature's truth and reinvent itself continually against those proven new normalizations upstream. Let’s inspire the world with new rigors of excellence we first and successfully apply to ourselves.

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