Please leave your ego at the door.

I wrote this article for another blog because of how upsetting it is when people can’t get along, but I’m not sure I’ve found the complete answer. Then today I listened to the radio program Contemplating happiness with Matthieu Ricard  who at least made me think I’m on the right track. Below I have put some of the things he says.

I’ve put this one in for my friend Sweta, who has been horrified by how awful some activists can be in private: ‘I met all kinds of wonderful people, but it was puzzling that the particular genius, whether it was mathematics, science, literature, playing chess or music or anything, there was no correlation between an exceptionally good human being. But when I met a great spiritual master, then it’s quite different, you have a complete coherence. The messenger is the message. You can’t say it’s a great spiritual master but it’s a pity that he’s so greedy and jealous and angry all the time. That doesn’t work. That coherence made me taught well. There’s something there. So I was more inspired by the quality of the person than by the particular skill that they developed.’

‘If you have a group of altruistic people, they usually like to work together by nature, they are altruistic, they are cooperative, they love working with each other. So as a group they have a huge advantage of…I won’t say even a group, a collection of selfish people that actually kicks the other leg all the time. So as a community, which is not a real community, it’s a bunch of selfish individuals, if the altruistic get their act together they have a strong advantage’

‘So individuals and groups and culture shape each other like two blades of a knife that’s sharpening each other. Individuals make culture change, the next generation changes even further, and then they change the institution, then the whole thing takes a different picture.’

Panania Free Rangers


Figure 1. CC BY-SA 3.0,

This post is not directly about growing food or other Free Ranging, but I wrote it because getting along with a particular person is sometimes essential to being able to grow food. We can watch Gardening Australia for advice on how to get our plants to grow, but it isn’t as easy to find out how to make relationships flourish, particularly when they have already started to go bad.

Congratulations! You’ve decided to make the world better (or at least make your town, street, school, family, or something else you care about, better) and you’ve worked out how you are going to do it. But you can’t do it all on your own, so you need to tell people about it and see if they will help. If you keep confidence – in yourself as well as in society – you will eventually find…

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