More In Common

We Have More In Common Than That Which Divides Us


More In Common - We Have More In Common Than That Which Divides Us. Photo of 3 hands holding.

"We are more united and have far more in common with each other, than things that which divides us."

These words were spoken by UK MP Jo Cox in her maiden speech to Parliament in 2015.



One year later she was murdered and her words went viral. Millions of people across the country realised that Jo was speaking for them. As her sister and founder of the The Jo Cox Foundation said: 

"Community meant everything to Jo. And it was the ‘unity’ in community that mattered most."








More In Common And Yet...

Here is an example from the other end of spectrum.

Consider the delusional and divisive comments of the President of the US on the night of 2020 Presidential election.

Here we have the most powerful man in the world addressing the electorate and trashing the US electoral system in the eyes of the world.








We are currently living in troubled times where:

  • Experts are denigrated and ignorance, bias and prejudice is celebrated;
  • Intelligent discussion and agreement to disagree and respect for other shades of opinion are denied in the current cancel culture;
  • Public debate is hijacked and taken over by group think and mob rule.
  • Woke thinking takes precedence over reasoned debate;
  • Virtue signally takes precedence over private philanthropy.

And yet most of the time, in most circumstances, people are the same.

I recall becoming very aware of this when I first traveled to, lived and worked in various countries in  S.E.Asia. I noticed very quickly that despite our ethnic, cultural other differences at root, we all want the same things. We value the same things. We see things in the same way.  We have more in common.

We all want to be loved, to be respected, we all want the best for our children, we all want to good health, at the most basic level we all want food, sex, shelter and money.

Anyone who has traveled extensively in other countries and cultures will have observed this.








More In Common And The Narcissism of Minor Differences

The Narcissism of Minor Differences


So why is there so much antipathy and hostility between people that are in many ways quite similar?

We seem to take our common humanity for granted and instead obsess over subtle divergences in culture, character and points of view as if they are the end of the world.

Freud called this phenomenon “the narcissism of the slight difference.”

He argued—long before we understood what cognitive biases were—that the small differences between us are magnified in our minds and thus drown out our similarities.

According to Freud the reason for this is the desire for distinct identity. Thus if we can identify and magnify small points of difference these become differentiators.

Thus the more we realise how much we have in common with other people the ego resists the feeling that we are not that special after all.

To protect our sense of self and keep this dissonance at bay, the ego constantly seeks to construct and reinforce its identity by artificially inflating the significance of these small differences. 

Add social media to the mix and the narcissism of the slight difference is subject to a major multiplier effect. So given that our minds are programmed by our egos to disparage similarities and amplify slight differences the internet gives us endless more small differences to spot and react to.







More In Common - Similarities Between Groups of People Are Large and Important

Similarities Between Groups of People Are Large and Important


I recently read an important piece of research that, unlike most studies which focus on differences, took a very large dataset and calculated the similarities between populations:

A New Way to Look at the Data: Similarities Between Groups of People Are Large and Important

The study took a large international survey of 86,272 people and categorized them by age, gender, education, nationality, education, and religion.

The survey asked them all questions to gauge their values around 22 different topics (trust in science, the importance of education, morality, etc.)

The researchers then cross-analyzed the data in every way they could to determine which groups of people around the world are the most similar and dissimilar.

In all, they ran over 168,000 comparisons and found that, on average, people’s values were 93.3% the same.

Of all of the comparisons, only 0.66% of them produced results where populations were more dissimilar in their values than they were similar.






More In Common - The Duality Paradox

The Duality Paradox

We live in a universe of vibration, and whether we think of vibration in terms of waves or particles, no crest of a wave can occur without a trough, and no particle can occur without a space or interval between itself and other particles.

Put simply, there can be no up without a down, no black without a white, no good without a bad.



    Here is the heart of the paradox:

    Duality, or opposites, only seem to exist as opposites in that each side of the duality depends on the other side for its existence.

    "Here" makes no sense without "there". "Not me" makes no sense without "me". "Good" makes no sense without "evil". Each of these can only exist in relation to the other.

    Therefore the difference that I accentuate as a point of differentiation between myself and you is entirely dependent on you!

    • Each of these seemingly opposite ends of the point of differentiation is one thing, not two.
    • Hard as it can be for the dualistic mind to comprehend, in being opposite, they are also inextricably tied to each other, and cannot exist independently.
    • They're like two sides of the same coin.
    • You can't have a one-sided coin, and the two aspects of duality cannot exist separately either, nor can one win out over the other.


Beyond the mind, you jump out of subject-object relationship into a realm where there is no duality.

But in the everyday realm of the conscious mind we cause and experience so much pain and suffering by our refusal to accept that for things to be good they have to be bad, for things to be well they have to be wrong, to be understood and valued we have to be denigrated and unappreciated.



    In pushing our points of difference to a point of conflict, we suffer by refusing to accept that we are dependent on the opposing perspective to maintain our point of differentiation.


Thus our individual and group identity is entirely dependent on the other perspective.

Not only do we have more in common  - we have everything in common.








A Personal Perspective on More In Common

My view is quite simple:

Why don't we focus on that which we want in a positive way and drop the negativity bias?



    A focus on difference is a focus on negativity and its effect is to divide.

    A focus on common interest is holistic and its effect is to unite.


What you focus on grows.



    A focus on difference magnifies division.

    A focus on common interest magnifies unity.


So my question to all those who are championing any cause or point of view is this: Are you focused on the positives, on what you DO want to happen and thus on unity?

Or, are you focused on the negative, on what you DON'T want to see happen and thus on division?

Wouldn't it be wonderful to see the activist group "Black Lives Matter" focusing on what they do want rather than what they don't want?

So rather than focusing on instances of white police officers behaving badly towards black suspects they focused on what they do want which  is instances where white police officers act with civility and decency to black suspects?

Imagine a video going viral showing a white police officer behaving in a kindly, helpful and supportive way towards a black person?

Wouldn't it be wonderful if the "Me Too" movement celebrated the lives and actions of prominent male producers who have acted with kindness and decency and shown courteous support to actresses?

Wouldn't it be wonderful if the leading protagonists of the various causes espoused by "wokeness" focused on the positive examples of people and organisations who do behave in alignment with the causes they espouse.

In my view the fastest and most effective way to realise that we have more in common is to ensure that:

  1. Your point of focus is positive
  2. Your point of focus is on uniting people.

I want to close this article with an excellent example of this:





Resource: More In Common






‘… if I were to hold just one wish for humanity, it is that we remember our innate capacity to see each other beyond all differences. Such a shift in awareness might resolve many of the towering predicaments of this age and of our own lives...’






Further reading:

Dunbar's Number - More In Common And The Narcissism of Minor Differences

What Is My Life Purpose

Generativity

The Redemptive Self

The Power Of Rituals

Introducing "The Balanced Toolkit" Approach To Life


Return to: The Meaning Of Life

Contact me





English Chinese (Traditional) Russian French German Italian Spanish Vietnamese


LATEST ARTICLES

  1. Situational Communication - Different Strokes For Different Folks

    Situational communication is about taking account of 3 often ignored factors about the other person. You are a situational communicator when you recognise that effective communication is not an event…

    Read More

  2. How To Influence Without Authority - 6 Key Tips

    The secret to how to influence without authority is that you get what you really want by giving other people what they really want. We live in an interconnected world and knowing how to influence with…

    Read More

  3. Change Questions To Change Your Outcomes

    Asking The Right Questions Is Critical For A Successful Change. Every time we initiate a significant change - whether in our personal life or in an organisation - we will most likely over-estimate our…

    Read More

  4. Group Culture - The Invisible Software That Rules Your Life

    Group culture is: "How we do things round here". We like to see ourselves as free agents making our own choices and living authentically but the reality is that The Matrix has many layers and we are u…

    Read More

  5. Why Getting From A to B Is Not Aways A Straight Line

    In circumstances of significant change, the progress from A to B will not be in a straight line. We run our lives largely on auto-pilot. In most circumstances your experience of getting from A to B is…

    Read More

  6. The Art Of Persuasion Planning For Success - Here's How To Do It!

    To be successful in the art of persuasion you must ensure that certain things happen. To be successful in the art of persuasion you must establish a framework of what has to happen to get you to that…

    Read More

  7. The Art Of Persuasion Advanced Communication Skills - Gaining Buyin

    Create The Environment Where They Want To Buyin to Your Proposal In order to build the win-win you have to uncover what it is that the other person really wants or needs, and to do that you have to as…

    Read More

  8. The Art Of Persuasion The One Fundamental Principle - Create A Win-Win

    The art of persuasion is based on the simple idea that you get what you want by enabling the other party to get what they want. Being a nice friendly person with good inter-personal skills may be a go…

    Read More

  9. Communication Persuasion And Change - Key Skills To Survive & Succeed

    It's not the strongest that survive, nor the most intelligent, but those who are most responsive to change, the most persuasive, and the best communicators. We are living in an age of unprecedented ch…

    Read More

  10. The Eisenhower Box - What Is Important Is Seldom Urgent

    What Is Important Is Seldom Urgent And What Is Urgent Is Seldom Important. The Eisenhower Box is a time management and decision-making model devised by President Dwight Eisenhower to help him prioriti…

    Read More

  11. Zen Enlightenment [Satori] - The Stink Of Zen

    Lost In Our Delusions About Enlightenment. There is something in human nature - a desire to glamorise, sanctify, objectify and idolise – that elevates people who have offered deep insights to the huma…

    Read More

  12. 5 Zen Mindsets For Mastery - In Any Area Of Your Life

    The Wisdom Of A Person Who Masters In Any Art Is Reflected In Their Every Attitude. The state and quality of your mind has a very large bearing on the quality of your performance in any area of life t…

    Read More

  13. Dealing With The Toxicity Of Online Dating - 6 Key Tips From A Clinical Psychologist

    Toxicity Is The Price Tag Of Accessibility. In the early days of online dating, users were vetted and had to go through a registration process and agree to comply with a code of conduct designed to en…

    Read More

  14. Why Understanding Ergodicity Is Critical To Your Long Term Survival

    How Not To Be Fooled By Randomness. Ergodicity is an ugly word from the world of mathematics. It is an umbrella term for two sets of conditions of probability and outcome. These two conditions form th…

    Read More

  15. Dealing With Imposter Syndrome - Ego Is The Enemy

    How You Frame A Situation Has A Profound Impact On How You Respond To It Emotionally. Imposter syndrome is a psycho-emotional experience of a fear of being found out as incompetent despite ongoing evi…

    Read More

  16. The Challenges Of The Road Less Traveled

    Issues You'll Face When Playing The Long Game. The challenges of the road less traveled is loosely based around the phrase popularised by M.Scott Peck with his book "The Road Less Traveled". This arti…

    Read More

  17. How To Benefit From the Unseen Margins - 5 Key Tips For Success

    These Unseen Margins Can Have A Very Dramatic Impact On Your Life. To understand how to benefit from the unseen margins we need to start by understanding what they are and where we find them. In this…

    Read More

  18. The Art Of Thinking Clearly - How To Do More Than Just Survive And Reproduce

    3 Key Tips The art of thinking clearly starts with the sobering realisation that our brains are designed to achieve two things: Survival and Reproduction! 98% of our thinking is unconscious, automatic…

    Read More

  19. Algorithms to Live By - 5 Useful Rules Of Thumb

    5 Useful Heuristics From Algorithms To Live By The thesis of the book "Algorithms to Live By" is that algorithms developed for computers can be used by people in everyday life in a wide range of situa…

    Read More

  20. Finding Signal In The Noise - How To Avoid The Noise Bottleneck

    The Art Of Being Wise Is The Art Of Knowing What To Overlook. We are blessed and cursed to live in the digital age. We have access to more information than we can possibly handle yet we struggle to fi…

    Read More

  21. The Checklist Manifesto - Your Personal Safety Net

    A Checklist Is A Safety Net That Encourages Better Results And Prevents Avoidable Mistakes. The volume and complexity of what we know has exceeded our individual ability to deliver its benefits correc…

    Read More

  22. How Not To Be Stupid - 4 Key Tips

    How To Avoid The 7 Causes Of Everyday Stupidity. We are all capable of everyday stupidity as we undertake routine tasks in our business and working lives and also in our personal lives. This is not ab…

    Read More

  23. Beginners Mind And The Voice Of Experience

    Only The Experts Survived Evolution. "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few." These are the famous words of Shunryu Suzuki in "Zen Mind, Beginner's Min…

    Read More

  24. The Art Of Being Alone Is A Skill

    Let's Make Today A Good Day. You may not have chosen the condition of being alone, and it may have been imposed upon you by circumstances beyond your control, but your response to the situation is wit…

    Read More

  25. Intuition & Anxiety - Are There Angels Or Devils Calling Here?

    How To Tell The Difference Between Intuition and Anxiety. How do you know whether the voice of your intuition is real or just the product of your inner anxiety? We all struggle with these inner voices…

    Read More

  26. Like A Prayer - Life Is A Mystery

    It Isn't The Process Of Prayer That’s The Problem, It’s The Way It’s Framed. Regardless of what we feel about Madonna or her song the topic of prayer often arouses strong reactions. Usually, it is som…

    Read More

  27. Fear Of Missing Out - "I'll Have What She's Having!"

    We Follow The Herd - We Mimic Other People's Choices. Fear of missing out - or FOMO as it is popularly referred to - is the feeling that everyone else in your peer group is having much more fun than y…

    Read More

  28. Free - Self Improvement Resources

    Exercising Balance and Discernment. I have just updated these self improvement resources with a number of additional sources of material that are practical and can help you change your life. Check it…

    Read More

  29. Your Higher Self - Your Hardwired Portal To The Universe

    This Is The You That Is Beyond Your Thinking Mind. This is the big you, the transcendent you, the you that is often referred to as your higher consciousness or higher self. This is the you that acts a…

    Read More

  30. The Power Of Gratitude - It's Good For You!

    Gratitude And Attitude Are Not Challenges, They Are Choices. The power of gratitude quite simply is that it is good for you! Many of us were raised by parents who instilled in us the social niceties o…

    Read More



Get new posts by email:









Zen-Tools.Net





Support This Site