Here’s a great list of gifts. Math, languages, music, sports, just a few of the abilities that separate us from everyone else. Some of us make professional careers out of these; most everyone else just takes them for granted – never encouraged to pursue these to possibly a more satisfying career path or lifestyle.
Fundamentally, there is more to this though than just having a good golf swing or remembering the names of actors in movies from the late ‘60’s. Our gifts are “the fundamental” of survival. Our gifts were what provided our ancestors with the ability to hunt for game, to forage for food and, later, to raise herds and grow crops, to create, to build, to provide a surplus which was employed to provide for their other needs. This is the basis for an economy. Our surplus employed to provide for the needs of others; their surplus to provide for our own.
The first fundamental unit of civilization, the tribe, incorporated this fundamental into a team activity. Tribes exist to this day in most civilizations. Surplus resulted in prosperity, peace, community. It was only when man recognized his ability to take what did not belong to him that things went awry. Raiding parties evolved to warlords. Tribes had a certain amount of natural affinity, but despotism was the inevitable consequence of the power of brute force.
Our search for ease of living, safety, creature comfort and promises of quick wealth makes us ready prey for easy manipulation. There is always someone there looking for ways to take away our surplus.
We see this in governments and corporations. We sacrifice our freedom of expression, our trading power of the commodity of our skills, our gifts – our natural surplus for the security of having someone else worry about it for us. IBM’s famous “cradle to the grave” offered human comfort in exchange for a commit to service.
This is fine if, when we think about it, we recognize what’s going on and are satisfied with this. But most of us don’t think about it. We just accept it. And, this is a problem. This is a problem because they take us for granted. Like nice barnyard critters, we go about our day, taking from the system and giving back, with no aspirations to be the farmer, isolated from the knowledge that there is another, better world out there.
There is a systematic indoctrination element of this which cannot be ignored. There is a loss of identity. We must reclaim our individuality and help others to break free of this trap. Social services are to serve man; not the other way around. We must identify our gifts and create independence through well-honed skills, unless we are satisfied with much less than we should be willing to accept from life.