In Underestimating Us the philosopher Jane Heal argues that if we thought of “us” instead of “I” it could change our values and even what counts as excellent. It’s a pretty big change, actually.
Western culture has been dominated by an individual perspective, so the collective point of view is new for most.
But what exactly does it mean to think from the plural perspective?
There are a lot of potential “we’s” out there--from the people we know best like our family and friends--to those we’ve never met but still share things in common--like people who live in the same city or share a profession. Collectives can also be temporary, like when we’re stuck in a traffic jam or enjoying a concert.
In all these cases, it’s not just what I do that counts, and thinking about what we all should do rather than what I personally should do might make a difference.
The new year is often characterized by new habits and resolve. These can be habits of mind, and this year we might resolve to make we the new me. We can even extend that idea from thinking about other people to thinking about the entire natural world.
Petroglyphs on the Smoke Trail remind us of Red Rock State Park's original inhabitants.