The way that cultures deal with this paradox has profound implications.
For several centuries now, Western societies have emphasized Separation at the expense of Wholeness and connection; we have a long history of valuing “rugged individualism” and the heroic journey of “going it alone.” By comparison, Eastern philosophy and indigenous traditions tend to see everything as part of a greater whole; these traditions value relationship and interconnectedness.
Unfortunately, our world has become entrenched in Separation, over-valuing it to the point of forgetting Wholeness altogether. It has become “every man for himself” which, coupled with the Power Over philosophy of “might makes right,” is tearing our planet apart. We have forgotten that we are not just individuals, but also a single humanity, and indeed, a single world. We have forgotten our inherent interconnectedness.