In every teamwork there is the awareness that “everyone is needed, no one is necessary”.
It applies to a team of doctors in a hospital, to football players on the pitch, to scientists in a laboratory, to managers in a company.
The self-evidence of such a statement is however hiding one side that we should become aware of: the side we should not ignore is that that obvious statement is almost used to deny the significance of an individual within the team.
The message is: your presence is not fully necessary, we can manage anyway whether you are on board or not.
There is maybe a reason to say that sentence to a presumptuous football player who believes that the team will collapse without his golden kicks but -even in such a circumstance- the expression contains a sharp fence for it is to exclude one or more individuals from a group, Or to deny the need of his or her presence. Or to push him or her out of bounds.
Whether the ‘community’ is a family or a team or a company or an institution, we should never forget that the presence of a human being is unique to the social life of a group, that every existence carries a colour, a sound, talents, qualities that affect the identity of the whole community when missing. We should know that the community changes her face and soul when one individual comes in or goes out for any reasons.
In a family this process is especially clear when there is a new joyful birth as well as when a member of the family passes sadly away, leading all the others through a deep process of metamorphosis.
Even in a team of any kind the change subsequent to the arrival of a new colleague or to the exit of an old expertise makes a huge difference to the way the team works as well as to the targets achieved.
In a wider community it is less evident that the individuality has an impact on the identity of the whole group, but it happens even if not everyone is aware of it. Within institutions it is actually the space where “everyone is needed, no one is necessary” is more often applied because the individual is nothing compare to the power of many.
Every individual counts, every existence is priceless: there is no community without individuals, no individual can survive without a community.
The initial, old statement “everyone is needed, no one is necessary” should be turned inside out and replaced by a new expression stating that everyone is not only needed, but necessary.
The acceptance and practice of this principle would be the foundation of social dynamics based on respect for one other. Or may I say: based on love for one other if love is meant to be the faculty that enables an individual to see the light of other human beings. This is what happens when we are in love: we see the light of the other person.
“The way to the heart is through the head. Love is not exception. Whenever it is not merely the expression of bare sexual instinct, it depends on the thoughts we form of the loved one. And the more we idealise the loved one in our thoughts, the more blessed is our love. Here, too, thought is the father of feeling. It is said that love makes us blind to the failings of the loved one. But the opposite view can be taken, namely that it is precisely for the good points that love opens the eyes. Many pass by these good points without notice. One, however, perceives them, and just because he (or she) does, love awakens in his (or her) soul.” (Philosophy of Freedom, Rudolf Steiner)
This love that gives us the perception of the “good points” of the other person, can be applied not only to the love between partners but to the love amid human beings. If we see that light that shines in every member of a community -from the top leader to the most insignificant marginal person- we will make the whole community bright, peaceful and healthy.
My wish is that the old, harsh mentality expressed by “Everyone is useful, no one is necessary” may be transformed in “Not one less”!
Comments and feedback are warmly welcome!