Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Root of Human Suffering: The Five Primary Mechanisms of Differentiation

It’s been discussed on this blog previously, but I’d like to go into some depth on the old problem of “Us Vs. Them”. Apparently we are hard-wired for setting up needless barriers, but that doesn’t mean we can’t recognize what we do and fight against it. I’ve identified five ways in which we cause ourselves endless pain. Perhaps you can think of, and add, others.

Gender, Sexuality, Race, Nationality and Religion.

To truly be able to express love towards all of our fellow Homo sapiens, we have to work constantly at setting aside all prejudices that arise from our dividing into these groups and in thinking that there is some innate superiority of one over another (or all others) in these five categories.

Males and females have to accept that their gender is not “the best”. Heterosexuals, most particularly, must be able to embrace the fact that everyone is different – whether it is genetic or a learned behavior. All races will have to finally conclude that the genetic differences of physical appearance are tiny and that every human is more alike than a zebra and horse, a cheetah and a leopard, a rat and a mouse or a turtle and a tortoise.

The final two mechanisms of differentiation are the hardest to overcome in many ways yet, unlike the first three, are entirely creations of Homo sapiens.

The borders that define our nationalities are ever-changing and brought about by weapons and blood. How is it that we put so much import on a person living 20 feet away across a border between Mexico and the United States, France and Spain, China and India? It’s completely appropriate to have some modest pride in where we are from, and the achievements of those in close proximity. But not at the expense of the dignity of those living elsewhere. If we can see our national boundries as no more important than the difference of two neighboring cities, then we will have achieved much.

As an atheist, I would love for everyone to share my extreme skepticism of the supernatural. Knowing this isn’t possible, is it really too much to hope that people who insist on believing in gods to simply acknowledge that if there is such a thing, that the gods must be much greater than any religion teaches them as being? That they can’t possibly know exactly what their god is or wants and shouldn’t presume to know, not only for themselves but for every other human being? That if the gods are Love, then the gods would most certainly not want humans to cause suffering to other humans?


Grumpy Lion said...

You left out antiLionism. There's a lot of humans suffering claw marks resulting from their prejudice against Lions. You know the old saying - "Step on a Lion, lose a leg." I suppose that's not as bad as what happens to antiSquirrelites. "Kick a squirrel, lose a nut."

[Slow day in Lionland.]

Sarge said...

In the play South Pacific it is observed that one must "be carefully taught" that these things matter.

Lots of personal power and prestige comes from elevating these things to a matter of offense
and making them something about which some action should be taken...or else.

My wife's family was rumored to have "a touch of the tar brush" and had to leave the area they had initially settled because of it. My wife and sons were quite surprised to find out it was true!

It is odd. My father would have enjoyed my daughter-in-law as a person (she is "black") but would have refused to accept her as a memeber of the family.

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grumpylion said...

Evo, you helped this kid cheat on his college work, you evil man you!

That's okay. He's apparently illiterate, English-wise.

John Evo said...

Yeah, I didn't have a particularly positive influence on him, did I Rick?