Individualism or interdependence ~ 17th Karmapa

Put simply, we can see ourselves as independent individuals or we can acknowledge our interdependence on one another and on the planet. A great deal is at stake in which of these two views — individualism or interdependence — we choose to adopt. We experience our lives differently, we relate to others differently, and the very society we create differs based on whether we believe ourselves to be fundamentally separable and independent, or fundamentally connected and interdependent.

It is not that one of these two paradigms is absolutely bad and the other good. However, I feel that greater opportunities derive from seeing ourselves as interdependent, or interconnected. In the end, the individualistic view places more limits on us than interdependence. When we experience ourselves as interconnected in infinite ways to others, we have many options as to how we can relate. By contrast, adopting individualism as our path in life leads us to compare our personal situation to that of other individuals, as if we were separate entities. In such comparisons, one or the other always come up short. We then end up striving to make sure we are not on the losing end of the comparison.”

17th Karmapa

from the book Interconnected: Embracing Life in Our Global Society

Read a random quote or see all quotes by the 17th Karmapa.

Further quotes from the book Interconnected: