Discover more from America 2.0 (by Gary Sheng)
The Case for Embracing A "Choose Your Own Adventure" Philosophy
Humanity may finally know peace if we more broadly accept that there are many different ways for individuals and groups to live and self-organize in harmony with the planet.
As I sit in a park on a radiant, sun-soaked day, I find myself absorbed in observation. Some people are solitary, engrossed in a book or their own thoughts, while others ride bikes or wander around in small or large, quiet or boisterous groups.
As I appreciate the diverse ways of enjoying time at the park, my mind is humming with thoughts, particularly about the importance of…
"Choosing your own adventure."
It strikes me that, in general, there are two types of people:
There are those who insist on imposing their way of life onto others, and
Those who believe that everyone should be free to choose their own path.
As a staunch supporter of the latter, I'm writing this to share my vision of a world where the "choose your own adventure" philosophy reigns supreme.
Most of the people in the first group, those who want to enforce their lifestyle upon others, likely aren't doing this out of malice. I suspect it stems from an unexamined belief that life is meant to be lived in a certain way and that it's their duty to guide others onto this "right" path. I've been guilty of this myself at times. But as I've grown and gathered more experiences, I've come to understand that people generally know what they need to be well. They understand what's blocking their path to flourishing. What they often lack is the knowledge or conviction that they can surmount these obstacles.
In my view, leaders—whether of cities, villages, families, or organizations—should facilitate environments where individuals feel comfortable sharing what stands in the way of their flourishing. And they should make it as easy as possible for people to choose their own adventures. And when I say "choose your own adventure," I'm not suggesting an anarchic society where everyone can do as they please with no regard for others. The adventures we choose should respect human life, the adventures of others, and our shared capacity to continue embarking on these journeys. Adventures that focus on preserving life and regenerating the planet are, in my opinion, some of the most honorable ones we can select.
Embracing a "choose your own adventure" philosophy is a pathway to a world where we acknowledge and appreciate our differences.
It leads to a world where those in power understand that their role is to support others in charting their own paths, not to dictate the course of their lives. The beauty of this philosophy is that when people are allowed to choose their own adventures, they self-organize, not everything needs to be centrally planned or prescribed.
Letting people choose their destinies, even when we sometimes disagree with their decisions, affirms their right to learn from their own mistakes and to change their path when they're ready. This philosophy respects the consciousness of every individual, the idea of free will, and the sanctity of life. It is a philosophy that trusts in the ability of consciousness to sustain and enhance life.
I've seen the magic of the "choose your own adventure" philosophy in action at Zuzalu, a community whose first co-living experiment in Montenegro I recently left. Zuzalu was an experiment in diverse cohabitation, where residents and visitors alike were free to choose their own adventures. We hosted our own events, took road trips, sought solitude when necessary, and proved that a diverse array of neurotypes could coexist peacefully with a shared vision for the future and respect for each other's boundaries.
Just imagine how much more peaceful our world could be if we empowered people to self-select into groups and pursue their own adventures together, without infringing on the rights of others to do the same. Too often, conflict arises when groups try to expand at the expense of others' freedom to chart their own paths.
This is the next frontier in fostering a more peaceful and flourishing future: embracing diversity and encouraging each other in our distinct adventures. The path forward, then, is not in imposing a singular vision of life, but in celebrating the many ways we choose to live it.
In a world of diverse people, the "choose your own adventure" philosophy can help us forge a more peaceful, flourishing future. So, here's to choosing your adventure, and here's to a future where we all can do the same.