The spirit of Ubuntu evolved

A beautiful term or word, originating from Africa was popularised in terms of a “philosophy” or “world view” (as opposed to a quality attributed to an individual) beginning in the 1950s, notably in the writings of Jordan Kush Ngubane published in the African Drum magazine. From the 1970s, the ubuntu began to be described as a specific kind of “African humanism.” At it’s core, this is what “Prospernomics” is. It has been around since the dawn of man, just has never been given an official name, until now. At its core, everything we have done and achieved as a species fell under the umbrella of “Prospernomics”. Ubuntu: “I am what I am because of who we all are.” (From a definition offered by Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee.) The term ubuntu appears in South African sources from as early as the mid-19th century. Reported translations covered the semantic field of “human nature, humanness, humanity; virtue, goodness, kindness.”

ArchbishopDesmond Tutu offered a definition in a 1999 book: A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, based from a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed. Nelson Mandela explained Ubuntu as follows: A traveller through a country would stop at a village and he didn’t have to ask for food or for water. Once he stops, the people give him food and attend him. That is one aspect of Ubuntu, but it will have various aspects.

Ubuntu does not mean that people should not address themselves. The question therefore is: Are you going to do so in order to enable the community around you to be able to improve? Tim Jackson refers to Ubuntu as a philosophy that supports the changes he says are necessary to create a future that is economically and environmentally sustainable. At Nelson Mandela‘s memorial, United States President Barack Obama spoke about Ubuntu, saying, “There is a word in South Africa – Ubuntu – a word that captures Mandela’s greatest gift: his recognition that we are all bound together in ways that are invisible to the eye; that there is a oneness to humanity; that we achieve ourselves by sharing ourselves with others, and caring for those around us.”

So this then raises a simple question – how the hell did we end up here ? in a world and society that could not be more representative of the exact opposite philosophy that has at its root, been the underlying foundation that has allowed us to survive and be relevant for the last 200,000 years. How and when, but more importantly, WHY did it change and to put it bluntly and in very clear language – “How the hell did it get so f!#@five up”. In other words, the greatest points of evolution in humanity have arguably and notably only been in the last 5000 year (in the last 0.02% of our modern existence). The more relevant fact, that our current modern society and economies represent a combined global society which came about only in the last 0,002% of our modern human existence.

At our current rate, it is estimated that at best, humanity as we know will be extinct within the next 15 generations. In other words, we are at 99.998% of our capacity and evolution cycle as a species. The irony is, that even those that view and see themselves as the pinnacle of humanity, or rather, societies current prevailing of what it is to be successful, power, wealth, success and achievement, will be the ones that will avoidably experience a quicker rate of extinction and harder fall. You all know the saying “The bigger they are, the harder they fall”, and when we say “Big”, it is applicable to individuals, groups, institutions, business’s, governments, etc.

If we look back at our history, whether over one millennia or five millennia, the default condition of humanity has been one of abject poverty. 90% of people on this planet have lived on less than $1 a day for most of recorded history. It only started to change about 250 years ago as a result of things like the industrial revolution which started in England in the late 1700’s, which was then studied and encapsulated into some logical rationalization of prosperity by looking into the wealth of nations and shortly thereafter, the birth of capitalism which set in motion an unprecedented advancement in humanity over the last two and a half century’s than in all of our recorded history.

Today, the average person is 1000 times better off than the average person was in the 1800’s. Our population has grown from 1 billion in the early 1800’s to over 7.7 billion today which was enabled by many things, 2 of which have been technology and capitalism. Our life expectancies have risen from about 30 years old to 65 and some estimate to 72 years old on a global basis which in turn has dramatically reduced the number of people living on $1 a day from around 85% in the 1800’s to around 17% at present.

Raj Sisodia, founder of Conscious Capitalism argues that business and capitalism is fundamentally good because it is based on value creation and fair exchange of value. It is fundamentally ethical, because it is based on fair exchange of value. That it is noble because it can elevate our existence beyond a subsistence level of living and it allows us to achieve the extraordinary level of potential that is in ll of us. This is our journey. But when we are just trying to survive, these opportunities become distant unattainable dreams and goals.

Finally, he states that Business is “Heroic” because it lifts people out of abject poverty, as is the case with countries such as India and China, who over just the last 50 years have lifted over 2 billion people out of abject poverty. Business did this, not governments, not NGO’s, not religious organisations between, but Businesses, Entrepreneurs and partnership between, individuals and bussiness, public and private. So then why does society hold onto the narrative that Business is inherently bad, selfish, repressive and only serves the interest and lines the pockets of the few? Why is trust and faith and trust in Business at an all time low.

This type of cynicism is destructive and is having a massive negative impact on us. If people hold these views about Business, how can they be creative, innovative. Over 80% of people are disengaged and despise the companies they work for and the work they do. How is it even possible to find value, be of value, derive value, grow, prosper in these type of conditions while holding these mindsets and perceptions. And this is representative of the main stream, all those have have had every opportunity to find fulfilment, growth, value, happiness, success, prosperity. And these only represent less than 5% of humanity today. So how then does it become even possible for those who are not only less fortunate, the other 95%, who face greater challenges, barriers and who have or have had less than 5% of the opportunities the elite 2-3% of the planets population has had.

We have evolved exponentially and we are at a place in our history and existence when never in our history have we achieved so much and have unlimited resources (please note, I intentional made sure the word “natural” was left out. Our natural resources are extremely limited and its time we stop pillaging these resources and started becoming more “resourceful”) but this time, the ability to be resourceful and been given the “Why”s, “How”s, “What”s to achieve a point in time where leveraging current revolutions, such as the 4th industrial revolution, quantum computing reveolution2.0, economics revolutions like freakanomics, evonomics, globalisation, technology, complexities sciences, humanity 2.0, redefining concepts like human resources to be human capital, and the connectivity of platforms like the internet, the desire and will off leaders of industry, companies, organizations, truly global citizens and evangelists of movements, initiatives all striving to redefine what it is to be human and a desire to evolve from just “survive” to “thrive”, not for a selective few, but for all.

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