Not my problem. Or is it?

by Simon Goland, January 31, 2010

Today’s Reflection is about the Vancouver Olympics, the recent Toyota recall, and our interconnected world.

The recent Toyota recall is all over the news, because of a faulty gas pedal. Kind of a reminder to us all that no technology is perfect, despite what we desperately want to believe and not think about. Yet, this is not the key thing that bothers me in this event, though perhaps if I owned a Toyota, it might have been different. There was a moment on the CBC news of a person from the CTS Corp (the company making the accelerators for Toyota) saying that “we made them according to the Toyota specifications.”

Great. Translation: “This is not our problem. It is Toyota. We are fine.” This is what bothers me.

“The rain does not fall only on one roof.” – Cameroon proverb
Perhaps on a somewhat related theme, we have a very warm winter here in Vancouver, which is not the most conducive to the upcoming Winter Olympic games of 2010. And this, of course, is nobody’s problem. Or is it? After all, many of the new sciences (such as chaos and complexity theories, quantum physics, or living systems) are finally catching up to what the ancient sages and cultures have known way before any of our grandparents were born. We live in a world where everything is connected, related, depends on, and impacts everything else. Cause and effect. Action and reaction. I drive, I make an impact. I don’t, I make an impact too, though a different one. I buy local, there is an impact. Buying imported has a whole different consequence. Duthie Books in Vancouver is closing partially because I have been buying my books on Amazon and eBay, though I am not flattering myself that it was the only reason. There is no way to not participate in the world around us. Each and every one of our actions sends ripple effects that make a difference around us. Global warming is real, despite many of the so-called-scientist who are paid by oil and other companies to tell us otherwise, and we have all contributed to it in many of our actions, big and small. This has happened, and the real question is about what we are going to do about it now, that the consequences are staring us in the face.

“Well, science creates the stories that we live by, and science has told us a very bleak story for the past hundred, four hundred years. It’s told us that we are some sort of genetic mistake. That we have genes that just use us, basically, to move on to the next generation, and that we randomly mutate. It’s said that we are outside of our universe; that we are alone, that we are separate. And that we are sort of this lonely mistake, on a lonely planet, in a lonely universe. And that informs our view of the world. It forms our view of ourselves, and we are now realizing that this view, this view of separateness, is one of the most destructive things. It’s the thing that creates everything: all the problems in the world, the wars, the view of I need more than you, the aggressiveness in everything from business to the classroom. And we’re now realizing that paradigm is wrong. That we aren’t separate, that we aren’t all alone. We are all together. That at the very nethermost element of our being, we are one; we are connected. And so we are trying to understand and absorb what are the implications of that.” – Lynne McTaggart
Now, to complete the Toyota story, and the thought about whose problem it is. See, if I was a Toyota supply chain big honcho boss, I would rather work with someone who would instead say, “WE have been working with Toyota for a long time, and we trust them. WE want to work together to make sure this recall is solved fast, because WE value Toyota as a business partner and this is OUR mutual problem.” But I am not.

A sunny week to you all, inside and out.