Are We Really “All Connected”?

| | Personal Leadership

We are all connected.  We seem to be hearing that more and more these days.

Yet do we really act like we believe it?

We have been trained to think in a paradigm that has us focus on what separates us.  Today’s world, for the most part, has been framed in a mechanistic model based on Newton’s laws of the physical universe.  Of course this model continues to be both valid and useful.  In fact, this model of thought gave rise to the tremendous breakthroughs in the industrial age.

Yet could it be this mechanistic model is now getting in the way of our ability to actually work together?

Some of the things we have been taught to believe as truths are that for every effect there is a clear and specific cause and that the whole is equal to the sum of it’s parts.

Just look at a typical organization chart with its lines and boxes.  We put a lot of time and energy into defining them. We define the “boxes” by focusing on what separates us assuming that if you do your part and and I do mine then things will all work out.  Sometimes that works, yet often it doesn’t.

And then what?

Unfortunately we continue to try our best to simplify a complex world into constructs that are far too simplistic to make sense of them, at least enough to chart a new path to manifest the future we want rather than end up with more of the same.

Is it any wonder we find ourselves challenged when it comes to collaborating both within and across organizational boundaries?

Sonia Di Maulo’s recently released a little book with a big and powerful message, The Apple in the Orchard.  It is a simple yet poignant reminder that not only are we truly all connected to each other and to every living thing, but that ultimately that is the source of our power as individuals and as leaders.

“The task for us in the emerging era is to participate consciously in the full pattern of life.  In expanding our view beyond the role of the individual we can recognize the vast opportunities to connect and collaborate.  We can open our perception to the will and wisdom of the whole.  And most of all, we can craft the necessary conditions to engage the human spirit with all of its creative power.”

Michelle Holiday, Foreword to The Apple in the Orchard

Sonia’s story holds power for all generations.  It is a message we must both learn and embrace for ourselves and teach our children so we can once and for all dispel the damaging myth of our separateness and reconnect with each other for the sake of our future.

This isn’t just a nice, altruistic notion. It is a scientifically grounded imperative.  We have noth a lot of learning and unlearning to do!

What do you think we can do to shift the paradigm of separateness in our own thinking as well as in the culture and practices of our organizations?

Sonia, thank you for sharing your wonderful book with me.  I am honored by our connection and am enriched by the opportunity to continue to learn with and from you.  Susan


Enter A Comment

Sharon Gilmour-Glover   |   04 December 2012   |   Reply

Hi Susan,

I absolutely LOVED this post! You summed up what lies at the heart of my work so simply and eloquently.

Thanks for suggesting the The Apple Orchard. I’m not familiar with that book but will certainly add it to my library.

Are you familiar with Danah Zohar and Margaret Wheatley? They also write about our connectedness and the needed shift in thinking from just Newtonian to one grounded in complexity.

I’ve very glad I found your blog and thanks for the great post!