Ubuntu is an African philosophy which speaks of humanity and the oneness of all.
It is best illustrated in the story of a challenge given to a group of children. There was a basket of fruit placed at a distance and the one who got there first would be rewarded with the fruit basket. As the race began, the children joined hands to run together. When they all arrived to the basket at the same time, they shared the fruit. When asked why they did this when one could have had ALL the fruit, they replied with “Ubuntu, I am because we are.”
Ubuntu calls for accountability of the results of greed. This concept gives a new perspective on the word “win”. We become purposed to question the world we live in here and now. Are we winning collectively?
Win is defined as achieving victory. Sometimes victory is defined as a gain for one and a loss for another even if, ultimately, it means a loss for all. For some, this is an acceptable consequence. Who cares if the loser suffers?
Ultimately, we should all care.
We live in a world where cause and effect is real – pollution affects the ozone layer, poverty and homelessness affects health, lack of love affects the spirit. The imbalance of our living impacts our lives and the lives of others.
In the natural state of the world, recycling is the essence of existence. Planted seed become trees which produce fruit for food and leaves which provide oxygen. In death, these leaves and trees provide nutrients to the soil creating an environment for the cycle to begin again. Water is evaporated, rain flows back to the earth and it replenishes and gives life. Nature is self-sustaining through its regeneration.
All win in the flow of nature because it follows the balance of give and receive. This happens through the process of sharing. We, as natural beings, support the existence of one another by sharing. It is through this philosophy that we have been able to achieve depth in our human experience. It is not limited by political affiliation, cultural orientation, financial status or any myriad of things that attempt to divide the human race.
Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to join hands (literally or figuratively) with someone to run together to achieve a common goal and share the fruit for the good of ALL. Take it a step further and reach out to someone who is different from you, someone new, and do the same thing.
The ubuntu spirit can be found alive and well all around you. As you go through your day, notice how many “little” things like holding the door for someone to enter, picking up something someone dropped or even sharing a smile with a stranger make you feel. These small acts of kindness have a ripple effect in uplifting yourself and others. You both “win” without having to count neither act of giving nor receiving as a loss.
This column attempts to function in that spirit. The goal is to help us move past old wounds, misunderstandings, unfamiliarity, and fear. We need each other. Despite all of the things that make us different, let us remember the things that are the same. Shelter, food, water, safety and most of all, love are things we all need.
In your everyday, how will you exhibit the oneness of all?