'I think, therefore I am' - Rene Descartes
This laid the groundwork for how we conceptualize our sense of self as separate from all others; independent, individual, unique.
But what if there was an entirely different way to think about personal identity?
A philosophy that rejects this emphasis on individuality?
There is a word highly regarded in African religious traditions - Ubuntu - that recognizes that we are all bound together in ways that can be invisible to the eye; that there is a oneness to humanity; that we achieve ourselves by sharing ourselves with others, and caring for those around us.
The core of Ubuntu can best be summarized as follows:
'I am, because we are.'
This speaks to the fact that we are all connected and that one can only grow and progress through the growth and progression of others.
This idealism suggests to us that humanity is not embedded in my person solely as an individual; I co-create my humanity with humility, in service to others.
Humanity is a quality we owe to each other. We create each other and need to sustain this otherness creation. And if we belong to each other, we participate in our creations equally..
We are because you are, and since you are, definitely I am.