Monday, September 28, 2009

Paradigm Shift: Relationships vs. Networks (by Nani)

Some dude with many acronyms trailing his name stated profoundly that we, as real life human beings, need to return to the "relationship" rather than the "network". And I thought on it for a while, at first rejecting that notion because we "need" networks to branch out and meet new people that may have something to offer us in our continued search for more, more, more.

And so I thought about the words themselves and what they really mean - as it pertains to people.

network   n.
an association of individuals having a common interest, formed to provide mutual assistance, helpful information, or the like: a network of recent college graduates. 

relationship  n.
1. a connection, association, or involvement.
2. connection between persons by blood or marriage.
3. an emotional or other connection between people.
4. a sexual involvement; affair.

I look at network and I see a cloud of "resources" that I have woven together in my mind that are potentially at my fingertips should I need to solve a problem in my own world. For instance, networking was important to get the next job, or in our case, to be a part of the next cool startup. It also meant finding the right talent from that cloud to build a team for that startup. Some families use this cloud as a strategy to support their lifestyle through carpooling the kids, play dates and the ever-present, "would you mind terribly...?"

The Network
But in most cases, we are just another resource to someone we are acquainted in the outer circle of the Venn diagram of our lives (see, I did learn something in grammar school). This is not everyone we meet because as I think back on my second or third meeting with my (now) very good friend, Mira. She asked me what I did, and I said I was a geek-type person, and I'll never forget the next sentence: "Ahhh, so you're a resource." (speaking of the need for volunteers in the Town). Now - even back then I had mixed emotions of that statement. It was both ego-boosting and yet empty at the same time, but I blew it off and was proud that I could out in some way. Maybe... down the road... if she needed me. I became part of her "network", her resource pool. Maybe she'd call me or refer me to someone who needed some work.
And it was good.

The Relationship
I'll continue with Mira as my example because it demonstrates the difference between a network and relationship perfectly. We became fast friends because we could "relate" to each other in the most bizarre synchronicities of thought. We shared intimacies and feelings that sisters divulge in the late hours before sleep hits. So, we each moved from that outer circle to the inner circle. It became a relationship because feelings were attached. We could look each other in the eye and connect.
And it was better.

So, here I sit... thinking as usual. Finding patterns in my thoughts and making sense of the odd one out. The disruption in the flow. And now I know the answer to the nagging question of which is better: the relationship or the network.

I now believe that we need both in order to survive in this world we created for ourselves today - that is if you still want this world you designed. But it's the new tomorrow that requires us to go back to relationships and build them up or toss them out based on the balance of energy exchange. In other words, if it feels like your connection to someone or something is just a part of a network, and you are being used more than you are benefiting - then that connection is disposable from either end, at any point, if it no longer benefits one or both parties. People and bottled water come and go these days. There is no job security any more if your main contact is the guy who told you there was a job opening and you applied.

But a relationship... well, you can't throw them away. The memories alone stick with you and bear witness to an energy exchange that cannot be taken back. Back in the day, employees were treated as people and employers acted with their hearts not just their balance sheets. They had relationships and things prospered. But these connections take energy and time. Corporations do not have energy or feelings - on purpose; they are designed as a tool to separate the energy to create from the resultant abundance. And they are run like networks of busy bees where you get what you get unless you are the queen and her court. But at least you'll find someone to carpool with and share some superficial banter, and at best, you may be lucky enough to make one or two friends that are "relationship worthy" that you can invite home every once in a while on weekends.

Have you been indoctrinated into believing that everything is disposable?
Then I posit that you live in a network - nothing short of The Matrix - and you, too, are just another resource in the pool.

Do you think the Earth and its "resources" belong to only our species for consumption?
Then you have lost the divine connection to Eden.

If we rethink our connections (feelings) to every little thing we come in contact with, soon we are making responsible decisions that bind us in a beautiful way.
Back to nature. Back to Eden. Back to Heaven on Earth.

No comments:

Post a Comment