Monday, November 15, 2010

The Need to Play Your Part

Only when we simultaneously play our respective roles do we collectively become a whole that's more than the sum of its parts.

Play Your Role for It begins with you

As I was reading Andrew Brown's piece titled 'Why life without faith is impossible' on the Guardian's Comment is Free yesterday, I was reminded of just how much we depend on one another for our lives to be complete.

We are highly interdependent, we simply cannot get everything done all by ourselves. Functional societies and communities exist when each member proceeds to his own duty with a trust that the other members will simultaneously do theirs.

Giiving it further thought, I asked myself how then, in spite of the roles others play to enhance our lives, we still fail to achieve common purpose.

How the Minority Defeats the Majority

Ironically, the few usually control the many. All over the world, a small minority controls the bulk of the wealth, a small band of thugs can terrorize an entire neighborhood, and most importantly, a very small number of politicians can run down an entire country.

Even when faced with a common danger, one person is still able to manipulate many others as happened in House of 9.

Imagine a hostage situation. A bus carrying over sixty passengers is hijacked by five thugs, armed with crude weapons.
How are these thugs able to control these passengers who outnumber them by a ratio that's greater than 1:12?
According to Andrew Brown, the passengers are easily defeated thanks to the following:
because the highwaymen [thugs] can count on one another, while each passenger fears that if he makes a movement of resistance, he will be shot before any one else backs him up.

The Magic of Teamwork

Teamwork, we all know, works by dividing the effort and multiplying the effect. In other words, when we each do a little more, we all do a lot more.

That said however, there are reasons why we do not fully exploit the spirit of teamwork:

  1. We are mostly self-seeking. With every person for himself, nobody does that which will benefit others. We are not altruistic.

  2. We refuse to stand in harm's way or take the fall, for the sake of others. Very few are unwilling to take one for the team. Nobody is willing to sacrifice anything for others.

  3. Unlike the thugs in the aforementioned example, we lack the assurance that others will watch our backs. There is no motivation to look out for others as well.

Playing Our Roles

The need to play our roles in life cannot be gainsaid. Whereas it may not be very clear to us, what we do invariably has an effect on others. Sometimes, this effect is both far reaching and long lasting.

The onus is therefore upon us to make sure that we do the needful in life, because only then can altruism and sacrifice have true meaning. Go ahead and play your role, no matter how irrelevant and insignificant it may seem. It all starts with you.


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