The more we spend time with people unlike ourselves, doing things together, the more understanding, tolerant, and even friendly we become.
And yet, increasingly, most of us spend less and less time with people who are different - as defined by age, race, or class, earning power or education.
The pandemic may have forced us apart, but it also reminded us of what we share and value. We witnessed the power of community, connection and common cause. And we saw clearly the urgent work that needs to be done to tackle the barriers that stand in the way of full, equal-status participation and flourishing for everyone in society.
Emerging from the crisis, we now have an unprecedented opportunity to bridge our divides and forge a new 'Common Life' - a set of shared practices and institutions - that can strengthen the glue that bonds our societies, in all their diversity.
For the health of our democracy, our society, and our economy, the time to act is now.
Al Mathers, former RSA Director of Research and Learning, explores the importance of introducing reciprocity into the work of social change organisations like the RSA.
Tamsin Hanke Sash Scott
Super-nature was one of 10 commissions to feature in the 2022 global exploration research project, Collective Futures. Learn about the work and its outputs in this field note.
Ancient wisdom offers many learnings as we develop future-proofed leadership. Here, Trevor Hudson suggests it might even be found in unexpected places.