In math, when looking at the interactions between individual numbers, one looks for the common denominators – a way to look at all of the individual numbers involved at the same simple level of understanding. Similarly, in life, when looking at the interactions of individual humans, one also looks for the common denominators – again, a way to look at all of the individual humans at the same detailed level of understanding – and in the case of humans, looking for the highest common denominator can be even more helpful than looking for the lowest common denominator.
The lowest common denominator for humans is what I call “love”. It is indeed a universally applicable way of looking at human relationships.
But, not surprisingly, I believe that when looking at things at a more detailed, intellectual, level, the most useful common denominator that we humans all share is the highest common denominator, which is the set of five inputs – the “negatives” of our empty spaces that we can fill with food, water, air, warmth, and light – and the set of four outputs – the “positives” of the human byproducts of solids, liquids, gases, and energy. (And yes, I know it’s not symmetric, and I’d love to see both sides be 4 or both be 5, but so far I don’t see any value to decreasing the inputs or increasing the outputs, so for now, 4 and 5 are the best options, which reflects the fact that life is never perfectly symmetric!)
So when I look at the world of humans, I see a whole lot of individuals (nearly 7 billion these days, though we only hit 6 billion in the 90’s!) who are seeking the same shared goals in life, of wanting quality food, water, air, warmth, and light, and of wanting to use their extra solids, liquids, gases, and energy to do more useful things for the individuals they care about. And each one has some fraction of the whole – each of us has just a portion of our input and output needs met, but never all of them at once, i.e., nobody’s perfect, while we all keep trying to be. :-)
So looking at our relationships in this logical and simple, yet reasonably detailed, way is helpful in working with each other, as we can see how we all relate to one another. And thinking about this mathematically, it’s easy to see how one could set up a more balanced equation for the world…