Six thousand years ago we were one. We shared the same stories, myths, mysteries and magic. Even peoples and tribes who had never communicated together due to their different physical locations, shared identical concepts, such as the notion of time being circular instead of linear. This universal oneness prevailed until two millennia ago when the “big three” of Greek philosophers, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, gave us new ways of thinking, introducing logic, reason, analysis and mathematical formulas. Aristotle was a strong proponent, for example, of the use of reason in theoretical activity. And so began our journey from oneness to separateness. In the Middle Ages, the pace accelerated as scientists and scholars developed “the Scientific Method”, a way of understanding large issues and subjects by separating and reducing them into their smaller (and therefore more understandable) parts.
Today, our culture is rooted in the concept of separateness. We organize every aspect of our lives into tiny segments of separateness. We have the tools to separate into categories and specialties in religion, politics, beliefs, gender, income, status, generations (X, Y, millennials, etc.), demographics, skin color, ethnic background, countries, medicine, education, income, and more. We deepen this separateness-thinking daily as “big data” takes an increasingly central position in our lives.
What we know, but too seldom practice, is that inclusion leads to inspiration and oneness. Separateness – when we are excluded or made to feel separate – is uninspiring and painful.
Whenever we experience pain or sadness, it is because we have become separated from what, or whom, we love. And whenever we are inspired or joyful, it is because we are one with what, or whom, we love. All human challenges and successes can be explained through this awareness.
And this also explains why some organizations are great and some are mediocre. The ability to understand the power of oneness is the single most important opportunity for the leader. When we separate functions, departments, teams, hierarchies, markets, divisions, we become uninspiring. And when we see these as one, align the organization behind one dream, remove hierarchies and distinctions, and become one team – then we build levels of greatness that are distinctive and remarkable. There is passion, magic and excellence in ONEness.