Thursday, September 30, 2010

Can You Swim? by Jan-Derick Nel

We are afloat in a virtual ocean of relationships every day.  We have to be able to swim to truly live in this world.

Some float by in their life jackets. Others use boats to ride by without getting wet. Both miss experiencing the ocean - the danger, the excitement and the joy of real relationships.

Good relationships are key to a successful society.  Here I not only refer to good business relationships or stable political relationships, but in fact the intimate relationships that have been disappearing steadily - relationships between man and wife, brothers and sisters, and friends.  Our value systems have become corrupted by the subjective post-modern era we live in – we are now all rebels without a cause!

We don't want to waste time swimming through relationships that might keep us from realizing our own potential.  We would rather start the engine on our power boat and cut across the surface, i.e., use people to get where we want to go.  This has become the pragmatic approach to relationships.

On the other hand there are those who realize that even such things as the economy are based upon relationships.  In spite of people setting their own goals and using other people only when they need them to fulfill these goals, there are those who recognize the need for authentic people to know one another and work together.  No longer can we afford to simply interact as if self-interest is the only driving factor, but we must see that the lack of intimate relationships is partially responsible for the current economic crisis.

Perhaps it is difficult for you to make this connection, but think about it...  It was people who made the transactions that fueled the sub-prime mortgage crisis.  Money in itself is simply a symbol of agreement.  When I walk into a shop and offer to buy an item, both the shop owner and I have to agree that my money holds a certain value.  If we cannot agree on this, there will be no transaction.

The same applies to buying a house.  The question is what went wrong in the relationship that allowed so many people to get into so much debt.  Perhaps, if the transaction had been based on relationship, one of the people would have said, “No.”

If we are truly concerned about the effect of our actions on a global scale, never mind on our next-door neighbors, we should consider how we relate to the other swimmers in this ocean and how our actions will affect their reality – what the relationship is between our actions and them.

It is time we get out of our boats and get wet so we can face how relational interaction affects who we are and how we should live together.  Perhaps we would discover that relationships can become a very real, but different, form of transportation that could carry us through the stormy seas ahead.

Principle Based Evaluation: Meaningful relationships require investment. Relationships are not a means to an end but an end in themselves.  Furthermore, policy makers should recognize that the economy serves relationships, not the other way around.

For more information on the author, Jan-Derick Nel, go to:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please click Follow above to follow blog

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.