What we can learn from the African philosophy of Ubuntu

Every week I share five YouTube videos with my team at work. Content ranges from self improvement, health, communication, business, science, philosophy, or anything else that can spark an interesting conversation. On Tuesday, I post my favorite video from the past week in the hope that it will make you stop and think. Let’s all keep learning and growing together.

My favorite video from the last week is What we can learn from the African philosophy of Ubuntu. Ubuntu means “I am because you are; you are because we are.” In the western world, and particularly in the United States, we promote the idea of individuality. In our quest to be and feel different, we can sometimes forget how alike we are. Instead of focusing on being independent, we need to focus on how interdependent we are. We rely on one another on both small and large scales. As the video says, we have a responsibility for those people around us and also for the environment and other living things. Rather than look at how we can help ourselves, we should look at how we can help the things around us. You “…belong to the world and you have a responsibility for that world,” says the video. We have a responsibility to recognize how our differences are interconnected; to protect the separate parts of ourselves that ultimately make the whole. We must recognize that diversity, in both ecosystems and cultures, it something to be valued. Every small detail plays a part.

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