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Overcoming the Separateness Myth

We are not separate from the world and experiences surrounding us

"Love and justice are not two. without inner change, there can be no outer change; without collective change, no change matters."—Reverend Angel Kyodo Williams

As a professor at Princeton in 1949, Albert Einstein reflected on the place of human beings in the universe. In correspondence with a rabbi, he wrote that due to our limitations in our ability to experience the universe, our species is prone to a fundamental misunderstanding about our place in it. He wrote that the human "experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us."

Here, Einstein wrote of one of the most persistent and vexing problems of our species: the myth of separateness. Scholar and Director of the Center for Othering & Belonging John A. Powell has taken this further, describing the four great separations of our time: Separation of people from nature, separation of people from one another, separation of mind from body and separation of people from institutions. We can track the expressions of these separations everywhere: authoritarianism, racial injustice, the climate crisis, disease, to name just a few. In the context of leadership, separation manifests as leadership by domination—those with power and those without, and those trying to achieve power over others rather than finding power with others.

Please select this link to read the complete article from SSIR.

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