There’s a beautiful Hindu legend about the god Indra, who commissions an artisan to craft a vast net across the universe.
When the net is complete, at each junction Indra places a shining jewel – the facets of which reflect every other jewel in this cosmic network.
Each jewel represents a single atom, cell or life form in the Universe and all are intimately connected with one another. Any change in one jewel produces a change, however small, in all the others.
The legend also reminds me of a passage from Sinuhe the Egyptian, written by Mika Walthari in 1949:
For I, Sinuhe, am a human being. I have lived in everyone who existed before me and shall live in all who come after me. I shall live in human tears and laughter, in human sorrow and fear, in human goodness and wickedness, in justice and injustice, in weakness and strength. As a human being I shall live eternally in all mankind.
Both of these stories – a 3rd century metaphor and a post-WWII novel – resonate for me in relation to our modern, networked world.
As human beings we are all interconnected. Even a small change in one of us can ripple out through those connections to make changes in others.
Or, as Peter Block said more recently, we can “change the world, one conversation at a time”.
My thanks to Doug Benner for his kind permission to use the beautiful photograph above.