There are many social groups in the Animal Kingdom. Wolves cooperate through complex family units to hunt prey and raise their young, chimpanzees groom each other to share the love, and dolphins take care of their ill and injured pod members, keeping predators away from them and even helping them to the surface to breathe. All of them flourish because of their ability to cooperate and create a codependent social structure.
Of course, hominid species have developed the most complex social systems, from tens of thousands of years ago, when our progenitors shared tool-making culture, to right now, when we humans constantly work to reform our social and governmental systems. Our instinct for codependency, to help others and be helped, is difficult to kill.
Even those who have nothing—our society’s homeless population—do what they can to band together in order to share whatever little resources they have. Tent cities dot the expanse of the United States, and the homeless there learn how to survive in micro-societies, sharing food, setting rules, and sometimes even organizing free meals to help out their fellow homeless in more dire straits.
But our codependency instinct is easy to specialize toward benefiting only certain groups. We act in codependency with those we individually designate as part of our community. In fact, we organize the our world in levels and levels of community, depending on proximity to the individual, and many times, we make the mistake of only caring about those we have immediate contact with. No one is happy that our country’s homelessness rates are at an all-time high, but usually the problem is so distant from our social circles that we do little to help.
If only we could curb this propensity to specialize and find a way to resonate with our greater community’s most marginal members. It has been said many times, but we are only as strong as our weakest link.
Since it is only instinct to open your hands and embrace your fellow, we just have to learn how to make the most of these natural inclinations, and sometimes that is by providing easier options to help.
By purchasing fairly traded, 100% organic cotton or post-consumer recycled products from KNO Clothing, you can make the most of the resources in our greater community. You can buy the clothing you need daily, while making sure someone on the margins is being helped. KNO gives 50% of our profits to support the work of our partners in ending homelessness, reaching out to over 130 different communities across the United States. When you shop at KNO, your purchase also provides brand new articles of clothing to someone without shelter. That purchase will reach out to help someone far away, whom you will never know.
It is highly complex codependency at work, and a more responsible re-channeling of the need to consume. We should care about everyone, not just the people we know, and we should make sure that every action creates maxim benefit. This is what we aim to achieve at KNO Clothing.
About the author: Drisana is the KNO Communications Associate for Summer 2012. She studies Literature at Yale University.