I am human because I belong

I have just finished reading a book I purchased at Barnes & Noble in Pittsford, New York last night. It is titled, Peace: The Words and Inspiration of Mahatma Gandhi. It is a very good and short book. There is a lovely forward written by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. One of the more meaningful passages in the forward is the following passage.

People with ubuntu are approachable and welcoming, their attitude is kindly and well-disposed, they are not threatened by the goodness in others because their own esteem and self-worth is generated by knowing they belong to a greater whole. To recast the Cartesian proposition, “I think, therefore I am”, ubuntu would phrase it, “I am human because I belong”. Put another way, “a person is a person through other people”. No one comes into the world fully formed. We would not know how to think or walk or speak or behave unless we learned it from our fellow human beings. We need other human beings in order to be human. The solitary, isolated human being is a contradiction in terms…Desmond Tutu