ESSENTIAL ELEMENT: Connection
Critical Concept: Get connected, accepted and respected.
We are social animals. We are drawn to others, groups and gatherings like moths to a street lamp. We have an innate need to connect, to share and to be accepted. Coiled deep within our genome lives the predilection to commune with like others. We want to give, take and share. We are driven to socialize – as if our lives depended on it – because, in fact, it once did.
All human wants and behaviors can be reduced down to two fundamental lowest common denominators: Survival and Reproduction. Every natural drive that we have today reflects a trait that somehow conferred either a reproductive or survival advantage to our ancestors. Our need to belong to a Tribe is certainly one of these.
The Tribe provided support, protection and relations. The free exchange of resources was the impetus for the birth of the village and the glue that held it together. The union of skills, strengths and abilities had a multiplicative quality that defies inductive calculation. The whole is much more than the sum of the parts. Each being brought their essence to the group and breathed an immeasurable spirit into the collective. Individuals shaped groups, and groups shaped individuals.
In times past, the spoken word was the lubricant of socialization. The ability to recount facts, share vital information and to learn from others was the foundation of the tribal connection. Story telling was one of the most critical survival elements. Sharing stories multiplied everyone’s experience. By simply listening to the tribal elders, hunters or warriors one could benefit from their predecessors’ adventures, successes and failures. Back in the day, you’d get a lot of mileage out of sound advice like: “Fish over there”, “Don’t eat those berries” or “Stay away from that bear cave”.
Today the ability to communicate may still convey a reproductive advantage, but historically, it meant life and death.
We’ve moved into the cities and suburbs and out of the villages. We feel crowded, yet alone. Technology has allowed us to become “connected” – at the price of being disconnected. Our needs are subordinate to our schedules and structure. We are busier and busier each day, and make choices based on scarcity, not priority. We are left with deficiencies in all lifestyle domains – especially this one.
Deficiencies create stress. Stress creates adaptation, then fatigue, and then failure.
We must seek opportunities to fulfill our innate needs and deliberately fill them. In our unnatural, modern and mechanized lives we have become dangerously independent. Yes, we can now outsource nearly everything and survive – but thrive? At the expense of sufficiency, we now seek efficiency. This leads to deficits that must be reconciled.
Healthy people spend time with other Well People. A Bonfire best practice is to seek out like-minded, supportive people. Schedule time for friends, date night, mystery rides with the kids, and coffee breaks with your spouse. Put these times in your weekly schedule and make them part of your culture. Work, chores and other responsibilities will consume your day and fill every opening in your schedule if you’re not careful. Just as with your money, there is a fragile Economy of Time that you must master before it masters you.
In the interest of happiness, health and well-being, we must choose to supplement our disconnected lifestyles. As much as a multi-vitamin fills in the nutritional blanks in our diet-style, or the treadmill supplements a sedentary existence – our social lives must provide the essential elements missing from life outside the village.
So by all means get connected. You’ll be amazed by how much you’ll get when you give, love and share.