Interconnectedness--Vapid Jargon?

"If we want to move the needle, we need to push the envelope of connectivity by leveraging the low hanging fruit, which at the end of the day will synergize the next great thing."  You are right if you think the preceding sentence is vapid jargon.  I usually count "interconnectedness" among similar empty verbiage because the term frequently travels without the company of any meaning.  The concept of interconnectedness, however, is full of deep meaning.  It is a foundational precept our our spiritual tradition - the lens through which Jesus viewed our existence.

Interconnectedness at first glance appears un-American. It means we cannot take credit for everything - that we really didn't do it ourselves.  Somewhere on the trajectory of American cultural development, individuality became decoupled from interconnectedness.  As a culture, we exalt rugged individualism and discount interconnectedness. 
 
That was not always so.  The value of interconnectedness historically reminded Europeans (and their progeny) of their higher selves.  John Donne, the Jacobean poet, articulated  interconnectedness meaningfully and spiritually in the familiar (and therefore neglected) Meditation XVII, Devotions upon Emergent Occasions (1623):
 
No man is an island entire of itself;
every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less,
as well as if a promontory were,
as well as any manner of thy friends or of thine own were;
any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
it tolls for thee.

 
Donne describes interconnectedness with micro and macro metaphors:  the largest concept then known, continents, and the small and mundane, death.  Islands separated from continents remain a part of the continent.  We live on a planet with other humans, animals and plants.  Our individual and collective actions affect the rest of the planet.  Because we are spiritual beings, the transition of a spirit from this existence to another affects me, whether or not I am aware.  We are affected by others' experiences no matter how remote to us.  That is the point underlying Dr. King's memorable admonition that "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."  We may feel or pretend to be isolated and separate, but we are not.  Our commitment to environmental responsibility and social justice emanate from our true interconnectedness.
 
Interconnectedness is the purpose of Jesus' prayer "that they all may be one" --that we recognize our interconnectedness and develop empathy for each other and all of creation.  Jesus is interconnectedness and empathy incarnate.  He fed, healed, prayed and cried for us.  Jesus prayed that we would yearn to be the same.
 
A great insight of the UCC is our recognition that actualizing interconnectedness must be voluntary.  Interconnectedness is the basis of our voluntary covenantal relationships.  We live in covenant relationship with other members of our congregations.  Our congregations live in covenant relationship with each other and our conference and the denominational national setting.   Our covenantal relationships do not sacrifice individual autonomy; rather, interconnectedness and individuality rest in equipoise. Sometimes we are good at it, sometimes not, but we always try.
 
Far from being vapid jargon, interconnectedness is the very basis of our UCC spiritual tradition, both in deeds and in relationships.  I pray we may all be one.