Ubuntu instead of King of the Mountain


An inspiring TEDxVienna Talk and my five cents on it

Know the Problem

TEDxViennaWe live in a first world society dealing with first world problems. World spanning supply chains and global networks imply that it is not scarcity of resources which fuels our daily struggles but a race for more. More stuff, more money, more power.

By competing in this race of liberal western societies we oversee that in our fight to become “king of the mountain” and deprive others of the resources we want and claim for our own we make ourselves victims of a societal prisoner`s dilemma. We trade off the best possible outcome of our time and effort for both, us and the people around us because of our short sighted greed and the false assumption that to be happy we need to win more than the others.

TEDxVienna talk

In her cross discipline TEDxVienna talk film maker Leyla Tavernaro-Haidarian makes clear what in other societies such as South Africa is quite clear but has been lost along the way of liberalism in Western societies: meaning and contentment does not come from pushing others from the top of the hill for one’s own sake. That’s a short sighted approach that has only brought us into trouble up to now: Wasting of resources, environmental problems, financial crisis, detachment of societies and depression and social segregation.

For me this makes a great TEDx talk: It combines different disciplines (media, sociology, psychology, African philosophy,…) to create a new point of view. It deals with relevant problems of society. It even comes as a well crafted story? Bingo!

What Leyla Tavernaro-Haidarian calls for is an ubuntu solution to our media`s and societies` problems. Ubuntu is an African Philosophy focusing on people’s allegiances and relations with each other. It means mutualism, altruism, charity. Caring for each other in the best possible sense.
Being part of something is one of the basic driving forces and motivations of people both, recognized in management theories as well as in psychology (Maslow`s hierarchy of needs). Altruism has proved to make people happy, so care for each other.

Make the world awesome

Although this has been covered up by our western liberal competition paradigm for decades and centuries it is a notion immediately understandable for most of us. As the Kid President would put it: to make the world more awesome we should contribute to the creation of a World we all want to live in.

Its not more stuff, more money, more power that makes our lives better. Its more time, more love, more mindfulness.

It is not healthy to live in the past and we won’t find our luck and happiness in the future. We have to learn to expand and enjoy our present. After all that is the only time we`ll ever be in. We have to understand that we are sympathetic beings. We win, if others do.

Take Mitchell Marcus`s case and learn:

Is this story a little cheesy and wrapped up in a pathetic all-American dream story? Yes, I admit. But that`s how we are build to work. We are happy if we can make others happy. In this respect Jean Paul Satre was not right. Hell is not the others. Hell is we alone in a fight against them.

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