WHAT IS THIS PROJECT?
Our hypothesis is that actively serving others supports and accelerates our own self-interests -- that each of us does better when we work with others in mind. There are many ways to look at this truth and so many ancient sources that assert its power. We have designed an experiment to test it.
We are commissioning artists to create projects in response to this question: If we care for others in our decision-making, might we actually accelerate the fulfillment of our own dreams? We hope not only the resulting works of art will bear this out, but that also the very process itself will demonstrate the "AND" relationship between service and self-interest, and reveal the false myth of “either/or.”
Our society began as an experiment of hope. It's an inspired idea that invites us to continue to find better ways to live as individuals within a community. So we hope our venture will add to the conversation, and we welcome your comments and questions.
Charles Goforth Director
Charles graduated from New York’s High School for Performing Arts, where he was trained by the students of Group Theater members Sanford Meisner, Harold Clurman, Lee Strasberg, and Stella Adler. It was here Charles began his connection to the finest traditions of American acting training. These early opportunities with Strasberg’s method, Meisner’s technique and Clurman’s brilliance created a real foundation for future decades of learning and practice.
After joining Equity and SAG-AFTRA, Charles earned a B.A. in English from Williams College, and after working as Assistant to the Artistic Director at San Diego Rep, he earned an M.F.A in Directing at Rutgers, where he studied directing with Amy Saltz and Hal Scott, and Meisner technique with William Esper and Maggie Flanigan.
Alexandria Hodgkins is a curator and gallerist based in New York City.
She has a Masters degree in Community Economic Development. With more than a decade of nonprofit experience, Hodgkins hopes to continue Compass Needle's high-quality content and attention to detail.
If we work to serve others but neglect our self-interests, we will fail. To be of service to anyone, we first need our own strength. But if we work solely from self-interest while neglecting others, we are just as much on a path to emptiness, and to failure.
Our society is built almost entirely on the pursuit of self-interest, and we may be fooled into thinking that service to others is an option, a sacrifice we make if and when we choose. Either we're serving ourselves or we're serving others. And the balance depends on our conscience and values.
There are many ways to look at this. First, let us observe that in every effort there lies the potential for self-interest and service. But only if we’re thinking this way!
So let's explore the wisdom of being selfishly dedicated to others, or selflessly devoted to our own personal well-being. And let's ask whether this “either/or” may be a myth. What if our safety, fulfillment, and achievement are not enabled by this either/or, but in fact rely upon "AND?"
Our hypothesis is this: Serving our self-interests and serving others cannot be separated without ruining both, and when operating together at the same time actually reinforce each other to the benefit of all.
To test a hypothesis, we have designed an experiment. We are commissioning artists to respond to our question. We asked, "Could self-interest and serving others actually reinforce each other in the work we do, or the goals we pursue? Does this operate on scales from personal to global? What might it mean that instead of being mutually exclusive, these two directions of action are interdependent? What might it look like to be conscious of, and to wield this power?"
And this very process is a test of the ideas. Simply put, we will keep each other in mind in the steps we take, never treating one another as a means, but consciously serving each other's individual dreams as well as our own. And we will see if our own self-interested dreams are is better realized because we have designed a process that helps others to realize theirs.
We hope the project’s results, and our way of arriving there will help to dispel the myth of “either/or,” and to raise questions about how we may live together, and live better. Our society began as an experiment of hope. It was an inspired idea that perhaps we could find better ways to live, as individuals and as a community. So we hope our venture will add to the conversation.
We commissioned artist Paul Zepeda to create our front page compass.
He was kind enough to discount his well-deserved rate to help us move forward. And we ended up with art so cool and beautiful we were
Thank you, Paul,
for your work and for helping
us to demonstrate the win-win.