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Title: The Bond
Author: Lynne McTaggart
Genre: Mind, Body, Spirit
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Free Press
We are strong when we unite – we are weak when we compete.
If you are among the millions who are saying right now ‘There has to be a better way’.
The Bond provides a message of hope, inspiration – and a practical way to change, starting with your home, then your neighbourhood, your community, your town.
The Bond is setting the agenda for that change. It demonstrates that we have been living in a way that is against our own nature, against every cell in our body.
For centuries, Western science and many Western cultures have taught us to think of ourselves as individuals.
But today, a revolutionary new understanding is emerging from the laboratories of the most cutting-edge physicists, biologists, and psychologists:
What matters is not the isolated entity, but the space between things, the relationship of things.
The Bond: Connecting Through the Space Between Us
One chilly Saturday morning, I was standing in a drafty auditorium watching one of my daughters in the midst of a dress rehearsal for her drama class’s annual production. A talented actress, she had been chosen for the lead part during the auditions, but a few weeks before the dress rehearsal had been shunted to a more minor role. I had never been able to discover the reason for the change—and my daughter refused to talk about it—until one of her friends let slip that, when a new director took over, another thirteen-year-old girl had lied about her acting experience in order to persuade him that she should be given the part that had been assigned to my daughter—her best friend.
When I tried to raise this tactfully with her mother, another spectator that day, she cut me off and shrugged. “Well, that’s life,” she replied airily, “isn’t it?”
I was taken aback, but I had to admit she had a point. Certainly that’s the life we grown-ups have designed for ourselves. Competition makes up the very warp and woof of the societies of most modern developed countries. It is the engine of our economy, and it is assumed to be the basis of most of our relationships—in business, in our neighborhoods, even with our closest friends. Being first, no matter how, has permeated our lexicon as a given: All’s fair in love and war. Survival of the fittest. Winner take all. He who dies with the most toys wins.
It is hardly surprising that highly competitive tactics have crept into the social relations of our children, leading to transgressions, large and small.
I began to think about the social exchange in my own neighborhood, and about how much of what psychologists call “relativity awareness” has played a part. How many children do you have? What kind of car do you drive? How many vacations are you off on this year? Which college has your kid gotten into? What’s his or her grade point average? Where, in other words, do you fit on the social ladder?
Our current paradigm, as provided us by traditional science, maintains a view of the universe as a place of scarcity populated by separate things that must turn against each other in order to survive. We’ve all simply assumed that’s life.
I began to ask myself a basic question: Does it have to be like this? Were we meant to be so competitive with one another? Is it inherent in animal and human biology? How did it get like this? And if we’re not this, what are we supposed to be?
Since that dress rehearsal, I’ve been thinking that, at some point, we’d torn up the social contract and forgotten how to come together. Somewhere along the line, we’d forgotten how to be.
It doesn’t have to be like this. As I began researching and studying the latest discoveries in a vast array of disciplines—general biology, physics, zoology, psychology, botany, anthropology, astronomy, chronobiology, and cultural history—the more it became clear to me that the lives we’ve chosen to lead are not consistent with who we really are.
A new understanding is emerging from the laboratories of the most cutting-edge physicists, biologists, and psychologist that challenges the very way we conceive of ourselves. Frontier biologists, psychologists, and sociologists have all found evidence that individuals are far less individual than we thought they were.
Between the smallest particles of our being, between our body and our environment, between ourselves and all of the people with whom we are in contact, between every member of every societal cluster, there is a Bond—a connection so integral and profound that there is no longer a clear demarcation between the end of one thing and the beginning of another. The world essentially operates, not through the activity of individual things, but in the connection between them—in a sense, in the space between things.
These new discoveries in physics and biology demonstrate that all living things succeed and prosper only when they see themselves as part of a greater whole. Rather than a will to compete and dominate, the essential impulse of all of life is a will to connect.
I discovered other societies that live very differently from us, with a world view more in keeping with the findings of the new science. These cultures conceive of the universe as an indivisible whole, and this central belief has bred an extraordinarily different way of seeing and interacting with the world.
They believe that they are in relationship with all of life—even with the earth itself. We see the thing; they see the glue between the things—the thing that holds them together. The essential thing for these societies is not the individual, but the relationship between individuals, which they view as a thing in itself.
They’ve understood the essential nature of humanity as a coming together—a communion—and as a consequence, they live happier lives with lower divorce statistics, fewer troubled children, less crime and violence, and a stronger community.
They have chosen a better way to live, a more authentic way to be—the way, I believe, that you and I were meant to live. And they do so because they’ve bought into another narrative—another world view of who we are and why we’re here.
The crises we have faced on every front have occurred precisely because we are operating according to an outdated set of rules. The scientific story of who we are has drastically changed, and that we must change with it in order to survive. The competitive impulse that is now a major part of our self-definition and that forms the undercurrent of all our lives is the same mindset that has created every one of the large global crises now threatening to destroy us. If we can recover wholeness in our relationships, in my view, we will begin to heal our world.
We can recapture our sense of the connection between things, but it requires a very different set of rules from the ones we currently live by.
We need to perceive the world differently, relate to others differently, organize ourselves — our friendships and neighborhoods, our towns and cities — differently. If we’re not to be separate, but always attached and engaged, we need to change our fundamental purpose on earth as something more than one based on struggle and domination. We must look at our lives from an entirely different perspective, a larger vantage point, to notice the connections that tie us all together.
It doesn’t have to be like this. Not for one more day.