Is our way the only way? Is our world the best world? What else is out there??
There are days during which you realise that what you are doing seems pointless in the grand scheme of life. There are days where I think my contribution to the world, to our society is pointless. I think about that when I take a hard look on what I am doing:
I am a sales person and I earn a good living, I am good enough that I make my quota, that I keep my clients happy, and when my clients are happy, it means I (or my company) has been able to help them… I, basically, provide access to a team of ex-practitioners turned ‘coach’, smart people who have done their job well, and have decided to help other people do it even better. This knowledge is focused on Marketing, Sales, Product. It is a typical american style way of ‘evangelising’ and ‘spreading the Good’ across the globe. As we know it, the US are more advanced, and the rest of the world is catching up…
But more and more, when I stare at myself in the mirror, I ask myself: what exactly do I contribute to?? I help people do their job better with less money, and proving that their job actually contributes to something. But to what?! Ultmately: enabling companies to make more money. Is more money the only definition of success? I have come to realise that in the ‘Westernised’ way, it is Success.
Am I making this world better? As far as I am aware, not really… Am I helping people feeling better? Mmmh, maybe on the day I help them solve a problem and they go home with one wrinkle less… Am I making something useful? Umm umm… yes of course, it’s all in the value! Am I contributing to the evolution of our world? Mmmmh now my answers may become more fluffy!
Quite frankly, I don’t know how to answer the questions in the title, beside a No, it can’t be the only way forward. My feeling of being useless tells me that Western-style way of life can’t be the only way forward… or if it is, well, let’s brace ourselves now in the hope that someone will prove this to be wrong before long!
What is clear though, is that our current way of life, our works etc… (and by our, I mean us in the Western World), is not the best one. If you are not convinced, look at the numbers of depressive people, look at the numbers of lonely people, look at the growing number of homeless people… Is this really progress? Is this really how we build our future?
I am not even touching on the impact our way of life is having on the Environment, and the traditional societies such as the Native Tribes in US and Canada that face the environmental disaster of the Tar Sands (like my friend Clement Guerra is looking at), or the loss of entire cultures and traditional knowledge linked to ‘Integration’…
One can argue that when economies will rise again, it will solve our problems. But this questioning goes deeper. I don’t believe capitalism is the way forward, I don’t believe that what I am doing is useful (besides paying my bills). I am on the look for better ways. What about you?!
What do you think? This is open for debates!
Here is some food for thought:
– The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures – Anne Fadiman – this book looks at the dramatic story of Lia, and chronicles the struggles of a Hmong refugee family from Houaysouy, Laos] the Lees, and their interactions with the health care system in Merced, California
– Schooling the World (full movie)- this movie questions whether Western-style education the best for everyone, by showing the impact of Western-style education on the Ladakh community in Northern India – See the trailer here
– Revolution – Russell Brand’s reflexion on our society (I don’t agree with everything, nor is it a masterpiece of literature, but it gives materials for additional thinking)
– The Western way isn’t always the best way – Amit Singh is a graduate of the London School of Economics who works on the World Views of Nature Project, examining how local philosophies should have more sway in creating international policy.
– The Invasion of America – Between 1776 and 1887, the United States seized over 1.5 billion acres from America’s indigenous people by treaty and executive order.
– The White Man’s Burden – Poem by Rudyard Kipling
– American Progress & the Manifest Destiny– Painting by John Gast & the early American settlers beliefs that they were destined to expand throughout the continent. A belief that still exists…
– Africa for Norway – a reversed outlook on Aid and Charity work
There are many more sources you can have a look at, and feel free to share your comments, opinion and argument in the comment section