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Human Beings – First Principles

We assume all people are born equal. At birth a person doesn’t belong to a country, or have a language, culture, religion, tribe, or even a family. The last may be controversial, as there are obvious similarities among family members.

Nevertheless, our starting point is that we are, at birth, more or less blank slates, clean sheets, ready for life’s experiences. The surroundings, the impressions made by friends, family, the environment, nutrition, ambience, noise, literature, nature, culture, light, and language are all causal factors in human development and growth. Some may not appreciate the comparison, but we are like computers without software. We’re born unique DNA, still we all have a hard-wiring for food, care, curiosity, connectivity and reproduction.

The advantage of this malleability is that we can all adapt and be shaped. One disadvantage in today’s world is the lack of recognition that, in fact, we’re rather similar. In particular, leaders may embrace differences, polarization, and group belonging. Their very existence as leaders is based on recognition, and a part of their toolset is skill in alienating others. Leaders can’t help it: they were shaped in a divided world where groups, cultures, or countries, were competing. It is hard to change your mind after 60 years of reinforced attitudes that presuppose the inevitability of group conflict. This is just one reason why we advocate the inclusion of younger people in governance. Their minds are simply more open to alternative views, a useful character when evaluating leadership.

Imagine a world where:

With roughly eight billion people divided into about 4,000 cultures, there is a level of complexity that exceeds what any one of us individually can grasp. Yet, we have to work on the fundamental principles of our common denominators. A high dose of tolerance is good at the outset.


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