observing yourself uncovering a truth feels spiritual because it feels like the universe whispered it to you. you experience both an individual and collective achievement. cultural achievement, therefore, should be defined as such: that which is an individual and collective achievement. individual and collective experiences should lead to you observing yourself uncovering a truth. a non rivalrous culture may *have* to be a spiritual culture. spirituality in this culture may be defined as that which connects individual and collective experiences. one of the many understandings i have received by listening to daniel schmachtenberger is that rivalrous cultures are predisposed to down regulating empathy when needed.
i suppose we first have to be weak and vulnerable with ourselves because the rivalry is internalized---it's our architecture. we have to allow ourselves to be ridiculed by our own minds in order to change our architecture. a mind trained in a culture of scarcity learns to devalue empathy and abundance when it is dragging down the economy. we then have to learn how to feel empathy and abundance *every* time we make a choice, without distracting ourselves from the informative emotions (emotions can be thought of as information sent to the brain from its body to help make a decision, or address or take into consideration some existing memory triggered by the context of the situation) we have to process them, let our body experience and release that energy instead of refusing to allow it safe passage. there is valuable information in that emotional information and you can only get to it after you process the emotions. personal development (the journey to self-discovery and the process of healing from trauma toward fully feeling emotions) becomes collective development (the journey to supported self-discovery and a process of redesigning to reduce the likelihood of trauma and increase the understanding of emotions). it's not hard to imagine how quickly humans would adapt to a drastic paradigm shift, if we are immersed into a healthy emotional experience within a family and society that exhibited and promoted non-rivalrous thinking from birth. i'm not talking about a fantasy escapist utopia, but about real intimacy which is not void of disrepair, but thrives when it is followed by repair.
that rotten pang of disgust you feel in your gut when you sharpen your awareness on your contributions to harming others in a rivalrous culture is guidance. let us at least be honest about the wave of nihilism washing over us when we focus on how unhealthy our culture is and how important the collective is that our culture is exponentially destroying. i can't be separated from you because everyone needs everyone else in order to exist in a civilization.
sacrificing for another or taking advantage of another are two of the many unhealthy relational dynamics we learn in a rivalrous society. in a culture of spirituality (which would have to be a culture of empathy) these dynamics would be quickly corrected not by force but by the profound understanding that externalizing harm is a self-terminating game. the rules require that game to be won by a single player. yet, you cannot play a game if there are not enough players to satisfy the rules. we need to flip that equation. our collective rules should require that the game be never won. individual achievement would then be coupled with collective achievement. we are then in a game where the players have to stop and change the rules of play. ironically, this is sacrilegious in the world of modern sports. if any team or player were to suggest that they change the game because they are losing or deem it "unfair", they would be ridiculed. in order to give birth to a non-rivalrous civilization, we have to first stop being cynical about it and allow ourselves to be seen as weak and vulnerable. what keeps us going is knowing that it's worth figuring out how to change the game.