Relationships 7 min read

The Surprising New Form Of Intelligence That Will Get Us Through This Crisis

by Vishen Lakhiani April 7, 2020
Never before has a civilization faced such a unilaterally shared problem. And yet, for the first time, we have the global connectivity and communication to deal with it together.

Amidst the panic, the anxiety and uncertainty that COVID-19 has brought with it, has it also brought an unexpected benefit?

Every cloud has a silver lining, doesn’t it?

It’s not too dramatic to say that throughout history on Earth as we know it, this is truly an unprecedented ‘Black Swan’ event, so let’s take a step back and really put things in perspective. Ready? Here’s what I believe…

While you may be spending this strange time in a silo (and feeling somewhat alone), we are truly all experiencing this together, aren’t we?

No matter where you are on the planet, possibly for the first time ever, this is truly a global experience. We are all… In. This. Together.

Unity: The Human Colossus

In essence, the ‘Human Colossus’ is the concept of  humanity functioning as a collective singular entity as a result of connection technologies like telecommunications, the internet, e-mail and (more recently) social media. This term was coined by Tim Urban, author of the incredible website Wait But Why.

The better we could communicate on a mass scale, the more our species began to function like a single organism, with humanity’s collective knowledge tower as its brain and each individual human brain like a nerve or a muscle fiber in its body.

Tim Urban

With the era of mass communication upon us, the collective human organism—the Human Colossus—rose into existence.”

Mindvalley Live
Mindvalley Live, Los Angeles, 2020

What this means is that today we don’t operate as singular individual human beings. We operate as a unified force of humanity.

And if there’s one thing this virus has done, it’s that it has shown us just how collective and connected we are as a species. We think we’re divided by nations, clans, and religions. But we’re really just cells in one unified human colossus. We get sick together. And we heal together. 

We think we’re divided by nations, clans, and religions. But we’re really just cells in one unified human colossus. We get sick together. And we heal together. 

We should awaken to that fact and embrace belonging to a part of a larger whole. It would change our entire perception of everything.

Instead of looking at things in a self-centric view, we might start to consider the bigger picture. 

Awareness of being part of this larger collective could be enough to make you look at your life from a different angle. And perceiving things from a different angle is power.

For the first time, we have the global communicative ability to know that we’re a part of the collective.

And what the Coronavirus has done is to highlight how individual actions are significant, but, unique and individual as we are, we are still just a cog in the colossal human machine.

For someone like me, who’s spent his entire adult life as an activist for unity, aspiring to build a community of people capable of realizing (that is making real) a borderless, nationless and unified species – it’s a fascinating time.

Concerning, yes.

Stressful, perhaps.

But fascinating.

Because what we’re seeing is the rise of a new form of social intelligence, one that has been threatening to emerge from humanity’s melting pot for some time, and that ‘new’ intelligence is…

Empathy

Empathy
Mindvalley Live, Los Angeles, 2020

Right now, you’re practicing social distancing and imposing self-isolation not only to protect yourself, but to protect others. You’re acting out of empathy.

The vast majority of people around the globe are willingly sacrificing an element of their ‘freedom’ for the greater good. It’s evidence of empathy.

Every time I head out to buy groceries every few days in a government-mandated lockdown in Malaysia, what I notice is that people in the store are so much nicer to each other. People seem to understand one another more readily.  All as a result of – you guessed it – empathy.

It seems that, despite being purposefully and physically distant, as a species, we’ve never been closer.

Because the outbreak has reminded us all what it’s like to feel the pain of somebody else and take the time to understand where they are coming from.

It’s reminding us that each and every member of a community has a responsibility and a connection to the next.

But empathy can be so much more still…

It can be a transformational learning tool that alters the way we see and approach the world.

Bursting The Bubble of Opinion

So many of us today live inside our own bubble of opinion. And advertisers and social media algorithms are invested in keeping it that way.

What that does is limit our understanding of how the world around us operates. 

It blinds us from the nuances that make up the greatest problems we’re facing as a society.

Empathy is what bursts our bubble of understanding wide open.

The realisation that the things we share outweigh the things that separate us is transformational.

It allows us to be willing to put down our biases and listen to each other. 

When we listen to the needs of groups who are in conflict, when we listen to the philosophies of people we disagree with, we have no choice but to begin expanding our awareness. 

Mindvalley Live LA 2020
Mindvalley Live, Los Angeles, 2020

Look, it’s easy to make a good impression on people who already believe what you’re saying.

It’s easy to rally up crowds who are already passionate.

What’s difficult is getting down to the heart of a complex issue.

What’s difficult is getting two opposing groups of people to understand where the other’s coming from.

What’s difficult is expanding your own point of view past what you want to believe and into the territory of what’s real for other people.

Empathy is our best hope at finding that middle ground.

Empathy is what roots through glaring conflicts and finds hope.

Empathy is what we ought to be searching for in our thought leaders, our world leaders, and in ourselves.

Our ‘Enemies’ Are Our Educators

It’s not until we start looking at our ‘enemies’ as educators that the world will truly begin to change. And, right now, the entire fucking world has a unifying common enemy – it’s called the Coronavirus.

For the very first time, we have a universal educator.

For the very first time, we can very literally look at our species as a single entity.

For the very first time, we have a truly global empathy. Which means we’ve got the foundation for an upgrade to humanity.

In this new model of humanity, your merit is measured against the needs of other people.

Egocentrism no longer serves.

Because you understand that your existence is inextricably intertwined with everybody else’s.

And from that position you naturally care for the wellbeing of others.

So, in other words… don’t be an asshole. Seriously stop it.

Look out for each other.

Because we’re all the same thing.


If you want to stay right up to date with all my latest projects, the best place to get the latest announcements and content is to follow me on Instagram – @Vishen.

You can also reach me through commenting on my posts.

Let’s use this era of enforced empathy, and when the storm clears, together let something beautiful unfold. ⠀

What do you think? Is this pandemic a catalyst for awakening? Comment below

 

 

by Vishen Lakhiani
Vishen Lakhiani is the Founder and CEO of Mindvalley; the transformational education company which brings the world's best teachers and authors together to revolutionize education worldwide. He leads a team of 250 people from 49 countries building personal growth programs with cutting-edge learning technology and real-world events across the globe. Vishen is an entrepreneur, speaker, philanthropist, and a former board member of the XPrize Foundation. He is also the author of the New York Times bestseller and #1 book on Amazon, The Code of the Extraordinary Mind.

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