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The Desperate Need for Differences

When I travel, I enjoy the immersion in the different places and sites and people who are strange, new, and beautiful. To me, travel means a further comprehension of differences in cultures and being in awe of the world’s diversity and our personal uniqueness’s. The world mirrors the differences between me and you. And we represent the world. I am an idealist but there is a different perspective that much of humanity shares.

Unfortunately, humanity has a bad case of  ‘us and them’ and it may be our undoing. The world is brimming with people who do not celebrate the differences between themselves and their neighbor. They are so entwined in strong feelings of not being like the other, this “anti” anger becomes their identity. As people everywhere substantiate their need to feel greater, better than, and more righteous than others, they lose their compassion and recognition of our basic similarities and lose touch with their humanity.

If we so strongly identify with our role, there’s a risk we can not accommodate for differences. In fact, these differences feel like a personal affront on our very body and soul. Our egos are crying out for vengeance and a good solid meal of hate. As we focus on these intense feelings of anger and difference, these perpetuate and fortify our glorious purpose and substantiate our existence. It’s madness at its clever best.

However, intensely focusing on our differences cum hates, homo-sapiens become nothing more than animals. In the name of righteousness and superiority, we make excuses for genocide, ethnic cleansing, the Crusades, Jihad, and countless crimes against humanity. On a smaller scale, these hateful ‘me vs. you’ thoughts cause tensions between races, working and non-working mothers, and British football match brawls. When we have accepted our beliefs as roles and self-definition, we’ve become mobs and perpetrated excusable crimes. I have a hard time believing anyone’s God finds this acceptable.

However, were we to spend as much effort asking questions of others to truly comprehend their perspective, I believe miracles could happen. As long as we pinch and judge and hate, there are only walls. What if we moved beyond our fear of “other” and we poured out compassion and watched it foster a new a wonderful space between us called trust. What if I set aside my assumptions and bravely asked you how it is to be you instead? Or I made an extra effort to support you in your goals for happiness and success or shelter, food, and water. Somehow I think we’d all find ourselves a new role as humanitarians doing this.

I’m saying; whatever you stand for, stand for it with all your might. Be proud of it. And if where you are standing makes you feel hurt and crazed and unwelcome, move. The world is waiting to applaud the efforts of courage and integrity that mankind is capable of. The greatest Prophets of our time knew this would be humanity’s greatest challenge, to see beyond our thoughts of us to think of them instead. I remain hopeful that my children will be a part of a rise in global consciousness that will save us from ourselves. A girl can hope.

(photo courtesy of  Dani Simmonds)

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2 Responses to “The Desperate Need for Differences”

  1. Nina says:

    Beautifully spoken and relevant to what I feel.
    The first part on being “someone special” and celebrating only one’s own self/lifestyle is the attitude of my parents that I’m trying to resolve and enact differently in my own life.
    But one question comes up when I think of how short our lives are and how little I have done to really change things….
    How can I live and do nothing, when so many people out there are homeless and have no chance. I read an article about homeless people today. They tend to get more and younger in the last decade. Makes me think, why do I do nothing about it?
    What about the environmental issues? What do I do to change these?
    But being a good mother is that “it”? Am I delegating being good and truly compassionate to the next generation?
    Just saying.

    • Shalagh says:

      “Just saying” takes away what you just said. Do one thing and you will change the tide. And it may spur someone else to do something. We belong to the type of spiritual community that is committed to community outreach and service. They host the homeless for a week in Jan. along with all the churches in out town. Doing something is the answer.
      Love,
      Shalagh

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