Same Same, But Different

Lincoln, by Dali.

In our confused drive to believe in ‘equality’ we have confused equality with similarity. In our efforts to treat everyone and everything as equals, we have tried to make things easy by ignoring the differences and focussing on the similarities, to the exclusion of those differences almost completely.

We are not homogenous. we are a mix of several rich and diverse things. Black people, brown people, women, men,  Tamils, Sinhalese, Muslims, Christians, fair people, dark people, rich people, poor people, selfish people, rude people, beggars, executives etc. At times these differences really don’t mean anything, but at times they do.

Secularism is a nice concept. It requires people to focus on commonalities when working together, and requires them to keep their differences to themselves. But people interact on all sorts of levels. And beliefs are not just limited to organized religion. And politics are the manifestation of our worldviews, which are based on our beliefs. Then secularism becomes a very porous border no?

So we’re not all the same. But we’re not all that different either. We’re on that dynamic gray line that shifts between white and black on a constant basis. Individual humans are capable of identifying with this, and acting on it. We have no problem of accepting the fact that everyone we meet needs to be treated subtly differently, and we do so everyday. The problem happens when we get together.

Humans collectively are far less intelligent that humans alone. When we’re together, the instinct is to generalize. Societies make decisions based on generalizations, as opposed to individual humans. This is of course probably because the impacts of these decisions affect society as a whole as opposed to indivuduals. But in doing so, society has created a world that is still too rigid for individualism to survive beyond a set non-criminal boundary.

In making these collective decisions there is far too much left unsaid. The need is to keep things simple. And this is understood. There is no way of conveying, amalgamating and transmitting all the collective nuances of mind a group of people will possess all at the same time. Our skills of communication still restricts a vast portion of our thoughts, perceptions and ideas to the realm of the inexplicable.

So we know that the world is colored grey but we have no choice but to look at it in terms of black and white. We work together and we are forced to alter our perception of reality in order to try to make a system that does the best things possible for the most amount of people it can.

That is a sad consequence of being human. Can technology help? Cos evolution didn’t. We’ve always been the same throughout history; the winners still write it.

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3 comments
  1. magerata said:

    Never thought about it this way before, interesting!

  2. When people get together they tend to… Group Think!

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