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How Different Are We? A Follow Up Reflection
Laying the Groundwork
Last week I enlisted the help of my fellow authors from HubPages. I asked them to answer a very simple question: What is the most important thing in your life?
Since I know authors from all fifty states plus probably 100 countries, I wanted to get a sampling of answers from around the world. I was not disappointed. The United States weighed in on this topic, but I also heard from Europe, Asia, Australia, Canada and the Middle East. I am satisfied with the sampling I received so now we will turn to the purpose of the question.
I am happy to report that the answers were what I was expecting. They are as follows:
- Peace of mind
- And last but not least, a cheeseburger. J
Is that a beautiful list or what?
The First of Two Parts
- How Different Are We? A Group Participation Exercise Regarding Our Social Differences and Similariti
Join me in an experiment. All you have to do is answer a question in the comment section and I'll do the rest of the work. Thank you!
What Is Not on That List
Nowhere in the answers did I find greed. Nowhere did I find selfishness, hate or anger. I was pleasantly surprised that I did not find love of country in the responses and I was also happy that I did not find a particular religious affiliation.
There was no mention of rudeness and there was no mention of gathering a stockpile of weapons or possessions.
In fact, the answers reflect the most basic of needs; nothing more and nothing less.
Take a Closer Look at That List
My first impression of that list of responses is that there is nothing on it that would cause disagreement or anger. We cherish family! Yes, I think it is safe to say that most of us do. We cherish love and happiness and most have a strong faith in God. Not one person said it was important to be a Catholic of a Jew, a Baptist or a Lutheran. They simply said they embraced their faith in God.
Not one person said that their way of life is better and not one person claimed that their family was more important than any other family. They simply said that they loved their family and they greatly appreciated contentment and peace of mind.
If all of that is true, and I have no reason to believe any of my followers lied to me, then we really are all the same in our basic needs. It would appear that we all seek the same things in life.
And if that is true, and I believe it is, then why is there so much hatred, greed, selfishness and unhappiness in the world? If we all want the same things, then why do we live in a world that reflects the exact opposite?
Conclusions I Have Settled Upon
I also have no doubt that if I were to ask the same question to the world’s leaders and to corporate CEO’s, I would receive the same answers. If I were to ask my question to military leaders and scientists, I would receive the same answers. If I were to poll the bankers, bakers, soldiers, housewives and the homeless, the same answers would be given. Do you doubt it?
So what is the only conclusion that I can draw from all this? Simply that many people do not walk their talk.
We do not live our words. We do not externalize that which we internalize.
In a very simplified form, here is what happens.
I am an average citizen in an average country. I love my family and I work hard to provide for them and to protect them. I am confused by the world around me because it seems there are unseen threats, and those threats concern me and yes, frighten me. I become distrustful of others because my fear is based on ignorance and a lack of knowledge.
My distrust and my fear lead me to take actions to make sure that my family and my way of life are protected. I surround myself with others who believe as I do, and the first steps of exclusion have been taken. Now it’s you and me against those who do not act as we do, and the chance of understanding and peace is diminishing.
An Important Message
What’s Your Point Bill?
Well I’m glad you asked, but really, I think you already know.
The point is that we are all the same. When we take a close look at our desires and needs, there is very little difference between the army sergeant in South Korea and the baker in Ontario. This writer in Olympia has more commonalities than differences with the monk in Nepal. If it were possible to airlift a shepherd from Portugal and drop him down in Cleveland, and allow him to sit and have coffee with a car mechanic there, they would find common ground almost instantly.
Take away the fear, which has been caused by ignorance, and it is entirely possible for two people of any nationality to come together in peace.
“If you smile at me I will understand, cuz that is something, everybody everywhere does in the same language.” CSN “Wooden Ships.”
What Can We Do?
Do I believe that world peace is possible? Honestly, no! It is a lovely thought, and I’ll sit around the campfire with you and sing peace songs till the cows come home, but I don’t believe it is possible.
Do I believe that we can lessen distrust and increase peace on Earth? Most definitely!
And H.O.W. do we do that?
It begins with me. It is my responsibility to fear less and trust more. It is my responsibility to walk my talk, even if my political leaders have forgotten how to do so. It is my responsibility to be a living example of my priorities. If I believe in love then I need to be the poster boy for love. If I believe in compassion and empathy then by God I need to exhibit those traits.
If I reach out my hand to help, there will always be someone who grasps my hand, but we will never taste the sweet nectar of brotherhood if I keep my hand in my pocket and my heart in a secluded, gated community of distrust and greed.
It begins with me!
2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)