Sense of Humanity
‘Love, kindness and social intelligence’ defines sense of humanity.
Social intelligence is defined by Edward Thorndike as “the ability to act wisely in human relations.” This includes our capacity to negotiate and manage complex social change, relationships and environments.
Howard Gardner “recognises that nowadays one can no longer remain within one’s self or on one’s home territory, […] and welcomes differences between human individuals and between human groups, tries to understand these ‘others’ and seeks to work effectively with them. In a world where we are all interlinked, intolerance or disrespect is no longer a viable option”. In this meaning the sense humanity includes a set of strengths and virtues that make others feel welcome and embraced. To develop a sense of humanity, that loving, socially intelligent virtue, we need to learn how to express our feelings of kindness and connection to others. That takes a high level of conscious awareness of our thoughts and feelings. We see this sense of humanity as beyond tolerance, but to accept both ourselves and the others fully.
Scharmer talks of this as looking at the other as an evolving being, valuing the other person without knowing their full story, attending and listening to the other person by using a level of listening that is empathic and with an open heart. He suggest to really try to feel what other people are feeling, using the bodily sensations to connect and understand another person at a level that is not always rational. This means even to accept the other even if you do not understand the other’s behavior.
Through our training, especially the international dimension, having participants from many different countries and backgrounds support experiencing this sense of humanity. Further mindfulness practices supported the sensing what is happening in the here and now inside myself and in others.