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Posts tagged ‘inspiration’

Ubuntu: I Am Who I Am Because Of Who We All Are

“One of the sayings in our country is Ubuntu – the essence of being human. Ubuntu speaks particularly about the fact that you can’t exist as a human being in isolation. It speaks about our interconnectedness. You can’t be human all by yourself, and when you have this quality – Ubuntu – you are known for your generosity. We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole World. When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity.
– Desmond Tutu

“A traveler through a country would stop at a village and he didn’t have to ask for food or for water. Once he stops, the people give him food, entertain him. That is one aspect of Ubuntu, but it will have various aspects. Ubuntu does not mean that people should not enrich themselves. The question therefore is: Are you going to do so in order to enable the community around you to be able to improve?”
Nelson Mandela

ubuntu community children circle africa

Community is the fundamental part of our human identity. We learn who we are because of the way our families, neighborhoods, schools, and friends have shaped us. Many cultures have tried to define this sense of togetherness and connection to others using words like empathy, or collectivism. Perhaps the best way to describe it is a simple South African word with roots reaching as deep as humanity itself: Ubuntu, which means “I am who I am because of who we all are.” It is the ultimate statement of community, to share success and failure, joy and pain, help and suffering with one’s fellow man. Ubuntu is the human spirit at its highest, emphasizing the virtues society holds dear and seeking to share those virtues with one another in a community of friendliness and collaboration.

The philosophy that encompasses three deeply held traditional maxims in African culture: to affirm one’s own humanity by recognizing the humanity in others and in turn establish respectful, generous, and humane relationships with those others; to always value the preservation of human life over wealth and greed; and for leaders to always remember their status and power comes from the will of the people below them.

The concept of Ubuntu is known by many names throughout Africa: Botho in Botswana, utu in Kenya, unhu in Zimbabwe, obuntu in Uganda. It has spread towards all cultures, influencing everyone from Theodore Roosevelt, to Bill Clinton, to Madonna, to the Boston Celtics. The Sanskrit phrase Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam prevalent in traditional Hindu means “the world is one single family”. Mahatma Ghandi wrote of Sarvodaya, the progress for all or “universal uplift” that was the cornerstone of his philosophy. Cicero famously wrote non nobis, sed omnibus – “not for us, but for everyone” as part of his belief that all men have a natural kinship and should interchange acts of kindness. The name Ubuntu survives today in its namesake computer operating system, notable for being completely free so that users can experience its flexibility and open-source customization.

OurPangea’s ideals are the same as all of these. We believe the world is connected and seek to bring humanity together to share in our hope for the future. Together we can provide for Nelson Mandela’s traveler – we can enrich each other to promote a sense of good in our hearts, in our homes, and in our world.

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Hail to Big Ass Canvas!

This past Sunday marked the culmination of all the Big Ass Canvas crew’s hard work: an aptly named Big Ass Party. In addition to libations and artsy creation, partygoers got the chance to express their creativity on one last canvas. After that the pieces were auctioned off to the highest bidders.

All in all, BAC raised a lot of money (total amount TBA) for Explore Austin and UMC Brakenridge, which are both great causes if you ask us. To learn a little more about Big Ass Canvas and everything they’ve been doing to bring the Austin community together, just take a look at their Facebook page or check out the article we put up a few weeks ago to help promote the beginning of the Big Ass Canvas movement!

Hail to Big Ass Canvas!

party canvas creation community collaboration

party canvas creation community collaboration

Image Source: Drew DeGennero

An Introduction to OurPangea Part 4 of 4

How Can OurPangea Impact Your Life?

city globe villa vista hike panorama

More than machinery, we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness…do not despair… you the people have the power to create happiness, to make this life a wonderful adventure.  Let us use that power to unite.  Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give youth a future and age a security.

The Great Dictator, 1940

While OurPangea might have begun for all of us as blind ambition and a desire to make the way we use the Internet better, it has changed into something more significant for myself, Noah, Rick, and our entire team.

In an environment where the idea of a Facebook collapse sounds more than hypothetical and we seem to be closing in on the next great iteration of online change, this might sound counter-intuitive:  OurPangea is not about Facebook.  It is not about Google+, Pinterest or online advertising.  OurPangea is not even only about online networking.  It’s about using the tools we have to improve the world.

OurPangea is about bringing everyone together in one place where we can comfortably and easily share our unique opinions, perspectives and ideas and see how that influences our communities.  It’s about facilitating introductions for powerful collaboration.

I can understand if everything we’ve written sounds naïve and deluded. But this is something I have come to personally believe in strongly and if you’ve met me I hope you agree.   From a more personal perspective, moving around so often isn’t easy.  It’s hard to establish an identify in a new place and even harder when you’re couch-surfing without a home base. There are many times I thought to myself how much easier it would all be if I had a place like OurPangea to understand the people and environment around me without having to literally walk around the city.  It would have made meeting people, finding activities to get involved in, and staying connected to my friends back home quick and painless.

One of the most inspiring speeches I have ever heard was delivered in The Great Dictator.  It inspired me to realize that our dream of unity is not a new one. 70 years ago there were people who believed it.  We are still striving to realize it, and now we have the Internet to focus that dream.  We finally have this great and powerful machine that we can build OurPangea on to create an environment where we can all collaborate and discover why we are important to each other, we finally have the power to realize this dream.

For us it’s no longer a company mission constrained to a company, it is a personal mission.  And we believe in all of us together.

The Power of Collaboration

Sometimes it’s hard to visualize how collaboration and teamwork actually impact the things we do.  When we bring up ‘collaboration’ what probably comes to mind for most of us are our experiences on sports teams or working with groups on school projects.  Those are all good examples of positive group-think, but that’s not exactly the essence of our message when talk about the power of collaboration.  To us, collaborating doesn’t just mean working together.  It means working towards something more, something that is unattainable by ourselves.  We want everyone to realize they have the potential to create change.   Through collaboration we can bring our greatest ideas to life and make things better.

Some years ago there was a study on the effects of teamwork on IQ testing. The experiment had teams of four people take IQ tests and analyzed their scores as a group versus their individual results. In every case the teams scored at genius-level, which was higher than any of the participants could rank individually. These results hint that when we have access to collective knowledge and experience we do better than when we’re by ourselves.  It implies that we are better when we work together.

We live in a world today where anything seems possible.  New space-age gadgets and technology are announced everyday.  Our access to the world around us is expanding exponentially. We’ve created an unimaginably powerful tool to spread ideas and perpetuate innovation: the Internet.

four young people working together

Pictured: World Changers

And in truth, anything is possible today.  With so many resources at our disposal, four people can do more than score high on an IQ test.  Four people in one room can change the world. 

At its core, OurPangea is about providing a more painless way to collaborate.  The network itself is simply a framework to make finding the people and groups you can work together with easier. There are no limits and restrictions to how we can interact with it.

OurPangea can be used however you want, but our hope is that it will lead us all to collaborate because it makes it easier. We’d like to see OurPangea used as a window to a world of collaboration that you didn’t have before because it was too hard to find.

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