Viewing others through the lens of interdependence helps us see that we are not separate from people on the other side of these seeming gaps. We are capable of seeing causal connections that link us to others who appears to be remote from us, even if such links are not visible to the naked eye. For example, we can review the ample evidence and arguments that show that those who have less economic power provide the labor that keeps down the cost of living and fuels the material prosperity of those who have more. This means we can identify ties between our meal and the field workers who harvested our vegetables and factory workers who manufactured our dishes. Yet having this intellectual knowledge of our connection to them does not automatically make us feel personally close to them, especially when the outer conditions of their lives seem so different from our own.
We are in many ways creatures of habit. If we live within certain conditions long enough, they come to seem natural to us. But if we had lived in different conditions, they would seem equally natural. Looking at the cultural, religious, or material conditions that others have become habituated to may make us feel that they must be totally different from us, but we are just mistaking something circumstantial for something essential. It is largely an accident of our birth and our life circumstances that we have come to find certain conditions familiar and others alien or distant. It is not an indication of anything essentially other or different about us.
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:
- Touching the core of our equality
- A Vast and Complex Web of Causality
- Opening up to the view of interconnectedness
- The imagination to see the other as free and happy
- Bringing about real change in the world
- The deeper common ground all living being share
- The power of our senses
- Cultivating a spirit of generosity
- You exist in connection with others
- Thinking about the consequences of our collective actions
- The air we breathe
- The opportunity to love
- Interdependence always works both ways
- Focusing on our inner interdependence
- Our intimate dependence on the natural environment
- Limitless aspirations
- The best way to love oneself
- Webs of interdependence
- The interdependence between us and the world