Testing Our Hypothesis: What is this Project?
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 wellbeing. 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.