Redefining Social Relations

On a daily basis we see ourselves competing with one another, we see ourselves fighting for the biggest piece of the pie, we see ourselves not building on each others’ efforts but rather starting from scratch here and there. This is due to many factors, some of which are in the human nature others are in the system itself.

But human nature is bigger than just competition, greed, jealousy, and fear of failing… It’s more about compassion, sympathy, love, ethics, morality, motivation, pleasure and happiness.

We have the ability to change the way we interact, the way we view each other, the way we go through our day…but not everyone is yet willing to change. But what many don’t realize is that together we’ll grow bigger, better and faster. They don’t realize that if we cooperate rather than compete, if we work together rather than against one another we’d both become happier. They don’t realize that money, power and resources are not what it’s all about…but rather are tools to get what we ultimately want…happiness.

Yes we can simplify it to that extent…happiness…one word that sums it all. But what a lot of people miss out on is that every day they compete, everyday they wage war, every day the make a fight with someone, every day that they hold a grudge, they are pulling us all back.

Consider your surrounding from coworkers, friends, family, loved one…etc. and think for minute about how the happiness of those around you affects you. Think of a time when one of those was depressed, stressed out, afraid, exhausted…and think how did that reflect on you? Think for a minute how could you have felt if that person was in fact happy, relaxed, feeling safe, and refreshed? Well…you can do that…you can be that change in others’ lives… you can be that inspiration, that savior, that cushion that softens the fall.

I ask you to consider all your competitors and enemies, and think for a minute on how you could redefine your relation with them. Think of how you can promote more partnerships, more allies, more supporters rather than growing competitors and enemies. Think of win-win situations that you and others can all benefit from.

The world’s resources, if managed properly, are more than enough to satisfy everyone’s needs. In fact with the technology, tools and knowledge we have, we can actually create enough resources to last us for centuries ahead, while at the same time securing that the environment can sustain us without draining it, corrupting it, or exploiting any of its resources.

Think of it on the micro and macro levels…think of it for a minute and start redefining the relations you have with others…it all starts in the mind…but mustn’t end there but rather should perpetuate to reach out not only to you and your community but rather the world at large.

So start redefining your relation with others…

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  1. Rahja
    April 18, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    This is a vicious circle that human being acknowledge generally quite late.
    GREAT thinking, HARD applying
    Good Luck

  2. Riwa
    April 18, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    competition and cooperation are two faces for one coin, like all the contradictions the human nature is built on! but its up to the person to choose which face he wants to put on; the faces u put on are the faces that determine ur life path…

  3. Nicolas
    April 18, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Great article Afif! However, unfortunately I am not convinced that your assertion: “But human nature is bigger than just competition, greed, jealousy, and fear of failing… It’s more about compassion, sympathy, love, ethics, morality, motivation, pleasure and happiness” is entirely correct. Human nature is more than the egoistic characteristics you outline in the beginning but history seems to affirm that human nature sadly is MORE about these characteristics

  4. April 18, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    I think this is actually easy to apply! IMHO, its only a matter of attitude and perspective: Change ur outlook and the world will change around u 😉 I realize of course, that this sounds too flowery, but I know for a fact that when I changed the way I react to my family, for example, all our lives became easier

    Afif, u have some spelling mistakes, but the point comes through clearly

    Thx,
    Abdallah Chamas

  5. April 18, 2010 at 11:40 pm

    Rahja, applying them is up to us…if we find them hard then they will be …if we make sure to consider them feasible then they will be easily implemented 😉 …

    Riwa, exactly!

    Abdallah, I figured there would be some typos…I fixed them now …anyway I’m glad u share this point of view with me 😉 oh and I’m glad things are going well at home 🙂

    Nicolas, well you and me and most of the people who are working in the field of community service, volunteerism and youth empowerment are a live example of how “compassion, love,ethics, morality…” are the values that can and should prevail rather than greed and wars and genocides! 🙂 don’t you think?…

  6. Nicolas
    April 19, 2010 at 12:28 am

    Yes, I do agree with you and human beings are capable of changing their points of view and attitude – our work wouldn’t make much sense if that wasn’t the case…. But history teaches us that we have an immense challenge in front of us – but it is all worth it 🙂

  7. akram
    April 19, 2010 at 8:28 am

    WEll it is very nice to read such a conflict between one person and his own attitude, it is nothing to do with others. every one is seeking for happiness of himself and how he can find it….
    yet i know one thing that man kind are not human? it is confusing!!! every one is dealing with others in two attitudes supporting and taking everything positive or pushing away by taking everything negative….
    Try to make relation by you (as a soul) and your body (Akram) as me in the community and work on making Akram happy… try it I have been doing it since 5 months and it worked with me alot… always laughing nothing confusing my decision making my relations are getting better and better with others… do not blame human nature or others and do not blame your self try to zoom out from the problem by solitting your self and make the debate inside you…
    Thank you Afif for inviting me to this converstaion i hope that I added as much as i took from your debates…
    keep on going bro.

  8. Zeina
    April 23, 2010 at 1:13 am

    It’s easier for me to write in french, sorry for that.

    Lire ces lignes me reconcilie avec la jeunesse de mon pays.
    Continue à partager tes réflexions, elles sont saines, positives et constructives. Tu trouveras beaucoup de détracteurs sur ton chemin, ne te laisse pas déstabiliser, accroches toi à tes convictions et dis toi bien tous les jours: Je suis sur le droit chemin, celui de l’empathie.

    l’empathie traduit la capacité à ressentir chez les autres, la peur, l’angoisse, la déprime, et aussi le bonheur ou la joie.

    “Elle n’est ni de droite ni de gauche, elle est naturelle. C’est le fait de l’oublier qui relève de la politique…L’origine de l’empathie, c’est le lien maternel, qui est valable pour tous les mammifères, donc pour les singes et pour les hommes. L’attachement est essentiel pour notre espèce. C’est aussi notre plus grande source de bonheur. Plus que l’argent, la réussite ou la renommée, c’est le temps passé avec des amis et en famille qui nous réussit le mieux…Sans empathie, il n’y a pas de coopération. Et sans coopération, il n’y a pas d’évolution des espèces, il n’y a pas de vie….Tout cycle de vie humaine comporte des stades pendant lesquels nous dépendons d’autrui et d’autres ou autrui dépend de nous. Nous comptons les uns sur les autres pour notre survie.
    (Frans de Waal)

    • April 24, 2010 at 1:24 pm

      Well its easier for me to reply back in English, but I’ll give my weak French a try..so excuse my grammar and spelling 🙂

      Je suis content que vous trouvez mes idées, des pensées et des soucis en valeur la lecture et «sur la bonne voie” … Je suis honoré.

      J’aime la façon dont vous vous êtes connecté empathie avec la nature des êtres vivants, les obligations de la mère et le bonheur.

      Last but not least, je fait d’accord sur le cycle de «vie humaine», où nous dépendons tous les uns des autres, à un moment ou un autre …

      J’espère que vous restez posté avec mes notes à venir … je vous assure que je continuerai à penser, de travailler, l’écriture et l’empathie ..

  9. Jack
    July 1, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    To Afif and to those who are sharing their thoughts via the comments.

    First, I’m an AUB class 1986 graduate, and could be some 20+ years older than most of you; hence, I would like to express my deep sense of joy over the fact that many youth (you included) are now concerned with deep issues and have value for more than just pop stars, money, power, fashion, brands, appearance, show off, pleasure, lust, cars, jewelry, possessions, etc. Bless you!

    Second, having read about your discussion over happiness, the intrinsic human values, and your previous article of 1…2…3…, I felt compelled to draw your attention to two important elements that probably slipped the discussion:

    1. you see, the pursuit of happiness is also linked to sustaining that happiness for as long as possible… well, till end of life. So, that’s why people do not just get satisfied by being happy at the moment… they want to sustain it. That’s why the concern over tomorrow that drives for greed, selfishiness, etc. But wait, tomorrow will someday end… at death! Ahah! It is really death that terrifies people, because if man doesn’t die, then there would be much less worry over tomorrow, and much more sense of contentment and hence happiness. So, here’s the first point that needs to be factored in: DEATH

    2. Following point 1 above, and diving deep into man’s heart and desires, there is a continuous longing for eternal existence. And that is proven among all cultures, civilizations, eras, tribes, etc… it’s across mankind. Although many believe in cyclic lives, yet deep inside, they still long for an ETERNAL straight-shot existence. But reaching this goal is somehow deeply rooted in a set of trio-notions: PUNISHMENT/REWARD, SHAME/HONOR, and GUILT/INNOCENCE… In summary, these in turn are linked to one word: SIN… that moral sense of not just doing what should not be done, but also not doing what should be done, and even more… NOT BEING what should we BE. We are called “human beings” not “human doings”. So, first BE then DO.

    So, SIN and DEATH are pretty much the underlying motives behind most of our conflicting behaviorial patterns: love/hate, give/take, we/me, peace/war, happy/worry, etc. These two powerful factors underpin mankind’s inability to make any radical life improvement over history. Yes, all mankind yearn for peace, equality, happiness, abundance, comfort, etc, but failed to acheive it over the many thousands of years! Till today, we still struggle with the same disturbing issues as did our ancestors… just because we die.

    A small parable: if someone gets one hand dirty, say by touching something, and strives to get them back clean. He tries rubbing it against the other hand. Does that cleanse it? No! it just spreads the dirt to the other hand. Tried rubbing both against his legs… no success. So then what? Well, need external cleansing agent: soap and water!

    Back to above points: any hope? I leave it to you to figure out! Till next time… much love! Jack.

  1. July 1, 2013 at 1:33 pm
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