Hi! We are Louisa, Sarah, Zarina, and Katya – also known as the Humankind team.
We started this journey by looking into the concept of well-being, exploring how the definition of this concept varies from culture to culture, and the effect that this has on the way we lead our lives.
During this initial exploration phase, we quickly discovered that although the definition of well-being is culturally fluid, there exists a somewhat standardized definition of well-being that much of current mainstream culture adheres to. Under this definition, experiencing well-being involves feeling happiness and satisfaction with one’s life, which is often determined by factors associated with personal success (such as good health, employment, educational excellence, financial comfort, and material wealth) and the well-being of our tight social circles.
We asked ourselves...
Does such an understanding of what it means to be well prompt us to live in harmony with one another and the world around us? Or does it pit us against each other in a cycle of perpetual growth and consumption?
Whilst the answers to those are up to each individual, considering the modern epidemics of burnout, loneliness, climate degradation, and polarization, the team hesitates to wholly accept the values that dictate our lives. It seems that through our individualized approaches of securing well-being, that are built on exploitative and egocentric values, we increasingly disconnect not only from those around us, but from ourselves.
At the same time, there are many cultures which take well-being to mean entirely different things. For many indigenous cultures, the status of being well encompasses not only one’s personal health and happiness, but the well-being of their communities and the natural environment. Such a worldview arises from the recognition of the interconnectedness of all living beings. As such, experiencing personal well-being whilst the world around you is suffering is considered inconceivable.
“Most ‘modern’ people find it difficult or impossible to imagine a world where community is more important than possessions, yet this is how about 1 percent of the world’s population still lives, and how all of your and my ancestors lived for 100,000 years.”
- Thom Hartmann (The last hours of ancient sunlight, p. 218)
As such, we felt the urgency to take a critical look at the cultural lens that dictate our values and open our minds up to alternative ways of in which we interact with the world, in the hopes of restoring balance in both our lives, and the world around us.
The way we chose to do so, is by creating a digital toolbox of practices that allows you to explore the topic of reconnection, in a way that recognizes the wisdom of various cultural perspectives. As change on a societal level starts with the individual, the toolbox facilitates positive personal development through practices that aim to reconnect people to themselves. By connecting to oneself (i.e., feeling aligned and connected with one’s mind, body, and heart), people arrive at a place of security and comfort, and are finally ready to divert their attention to the world around them. This attention, that comes from a place of compassion and humanity, contributes to forming strong and supportive social bonds, the benefit of which radiates outwards to society at large.
We hope you will join us in this task, in whatever capacity you prefer. You can do this by exploring our website https://humankindvc.wixsite.com/humankind, checking-out the resources that inspired us, or even trying out our practices.
If you have any further questions or would like to get in touch with us or our network, feel free to reach out to us: Humankind.firstname.lastname@example.org
Sarah Ghasemi: email@example.com
Louisa Edekobi: firstname.lastname@example.org
Zarina Boekhoudt: ZABoekhoudt@gmail.com
Katerina Soland: email@example.com