Transactional vs Relational Culture - Which Is Better?

in #naturalmedicine5 months ago

I'm trying to sort out my preference between transactional versus relational ways of organizing a culture. I definitely live in a transactional nation, the USA. That has also affected me in terms of how I relate. I too tend to be transactional.

For example, the idea that someone does something for me so I owe them to do something for them. The idea that I should be able to buy anything I want if I have the money for it. The idea that any relationship should be benefiting me as much as it is benefiting the other person. And so on.

I'd been thinking lately that I didn't want to be transactional anymore, nor live in a place where that is the norm for daily life. It came to me when I was doing a meditation on the Earth supporting us, and realized that the Earth wanted nothing in return. It just gives. It's not a transaction. It just love us.

Just as the sun shines on all of us without our having any ability to give it anything in return, wouldn't it be better if we humans were just as indiscriminately generous with ourselves?

But then another realization came to me...

The Land of Opportunity

The reason there is so much class mobility in the USA relative to many countries that I would describe as more relationally based is due to its transactional framework.

In a relational model, I do for you ONLY because you are a part of a close network or at least identity group that I see doing for me. I only give someone a job because they are connected to me, regardless of whether they could do the job. I only buy from shops of people I identify with. I may even actively work to prevent success among people I don't feel a relational connection to, so as to create more opportunity for those I do feel a relationship with.

This is the old way of the world. With my American upbringing I view this as unjust, primitive, counter-productively, and inefficient. It's a good way to lose any competition with nations not doing this, and also have lots of resentment and strife around you.

The USA is losing this, but it is still relatively a place where all money is green. There is no preference for the identity of who one buys from or sells to. There is a transactional relationship that makes everyone equal when they are being a consumer, and to some extent when being a producer.

This way of relating creates a more fair environment of opportunity for those with humble beginnings. This is good. However, it also means there is less emotional nourishment in our interactions.

When everything is a transaction, nothing is a gift.

But don't we shine the brightest when we are giving or receiving from the heart?

I know I do. I am happiest when relating to life, whether to people, animals, plants, anything. I may be able to enjoy the fruits of certain transactions, but it is more like the promise of fulfillment than fulfillment itself. Love being given and received is the fulfillment itself.

Image source

How Do We Get the Best of Both?

Maybe we can't really choose between transactional versus relational interaction. Perhaps we must have both, and the problem comes from trying to reduce life to only one.

Perhaps we need the open-mindedness of the transactional with the open-heartedness of the relational.

Or perhaps the issue is only that our way of being relational is too often distorted by prejudices and tribalism. We could be purely relational if not for that, so that every interaction would be deeply nourishing to all involved.

What do you think?

Can we thrive as a culture with only one or the other, and if so, which one?

(All text and images (except the AT logo) are by the author, unless otherwise credited. This is original content, created expressly for HIVE.)

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My take on this is that the transactional and the relational approaches are one and the same, the actual issue is the focus of the relationship. If we focus on objects, services and coin, then we're seeing other people merely as conduits to get the stuff we want, because our relationship is with the stuff, not with the human beings behind them. But exchanging knowledge and emotions with people is also a transaction, only on a different level and with a different mindset.

My view is that cryptos are actually offering us enormous potential to shift this focus by dismantling the concept of money, the most powerful and far-reaching narrative we have, and revealing the true value beneath all words and concepts: Faith and Trust. The more people realize that every relationship is based on energy and that every transaction depends on mutual confidence, the more wholehearted our world will become. I feel that process is well underway, and that this year has been a huge accelerator for that shift.

Thanks so much for your perspective. I love the idea and have to reflect on it more in practice.

Cultures define us in a certain way, but we are one consciousness, that's what I've learned, we only use different language to learn the same concept. Laughter is the same, hate is the same. Animal language and thought is universal, for that reason I don't think it's something that defines you because you grew up in the USA.

With respect to the analysis in general I liked it very much, while reading I remembered just this, since in the Wottuja indigenous community, one of the things that does not exist is the word forgiveness, nor thanks, for what it means that they act forgetting the past.

That would be a very valuable practice to sustain ourselves only by giving energy to others.


Thank you for sharing your wisdom. This is such a great HIVE community because of people like you in it.

I have not lived or visited your country, the United States, but I think that even with the observations you make to its system in general, it is a good country. I think that there is no need to discard or dismiss what they already have, but to enrich it with more love, compassion and goodwill, and this can be achieved by educating the new generations and by carrying out independent initiatives, whose core is love, and not any ideology, philosophy or religion. Replicating how Mother Earth loves us without limits and without expecting any retribution, should be the guide for this type of activity. Your post makes us reflect on many things that we usually ignore. A big greeting and blessings to you.

No he vivido ni visitado a tu país, a los Estados Unidos, pero creo que aún con las observaciones que haces a su sistema en general, es un buen país. Pienso que no hay necesidad de desechar o desestimar lo que ya tienen, sino enriquecerlo con más amor, compasión y buena voluntad, y esto puede lograrse mediante la educación a las nuevas generaciones y a la realización de iniciativas independientes, cuyo núcleo sea el amor, y no una ideología, filosofía o religión alguna. El replicar el como la Madre Tierra nos ama sin límites y sin esperar retribución alguna, debería ser la guía para este tipo de actividades. Tu post hace que reflexionemos sobre muchas cosas que por lo general obviamos. Un gran saludo y bendiciones para tí.

That is definitely the challenge. For myself, I'm ready for something different, but for those who are here (or even me from a distance) the challenge really is to keep evolving. We must appreciate what is, but also realize the gap and reach for what we most wish to be.

I think in life sometimes we ourselves set difficult choices for ourselves when in reality this should not be so. Without a doubt I feel humanity itself is exposed to the limitation of label and hence most people often chose to be relational because it's about the sentiment for them, it's about who they know who they want and who would be appreciative of them when they show kindness to them. But then we can be more than this.

Yes, good point. Thanks for stopping by.

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