Conversation #9 – When Have I Experienced Working for the Common Good?

So, its taken a bit longer, but I’m going to try to wrap up these 10 conversations…Two left to go.

As I started to think about this question, I thought of a survey that made its way around the internet a few weeks back about iPad owners.  I don’t know how “scientific” the survey is, but it came out with some not-very-good words about iPad owners…

According to Tim Koelkebeck of MyType, which carried out the survey, iPad owners are are six times more likely to be ‘wealthy, well-educated, power-hungry, over-achieving, sophisticated, unkind and non-altruistic 30-50-year-olds’.

They are self-centered workaholics with an overwhelming interest in business and finance who cherish ‘power and achievement’ and will not cross the street to help others, he added.  (source)

Now, I am not sure about the validity of the survey, but I thought about the overall message in there that focuses on the individual and how much of our technology today caters to the individual’s experience.  Smartphones, iPads, iPods, PSPs, etc are all focused on the individual’s experience.  They are generally not about the common, shared experience.  Yes, I am generalizing here, but there is a strong individualistic element within much of what we do today.

So, where does this relate to the question, “When Have I Experienced Working for the Common Good?”  Well, for me it is within a community and not within my own individual experience.  These times of experiencing a working towards the common good have come when I am not working on my own.  I know this sounds a bit like a “duh” kind of comment, but the more we become fractured and individualistic, the harder it is for us to work towards the common.

The key experiences I think of in this are are mission trips – to various places near and far, service projects within churches and organizations, simple acts of people coming together to help people in need, being part of campaigns and grassroots organizations toward a common purpose, and so forth.  These are all times I have experienced this. I have experienced this many times over and could list many different examples.  However, the key point for me is how we need to be cognizant of the others around us in our lives.  It is so easy to be very “me” or “us” focused that those beyond fall off our radar screen.

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