Embracing difference


How come we are all so different?  Almost from birth it seems we are each unique.  I find that more amazing every time I spend time with a small baby.  Each of our own children were very different from each other.  And now each grandchild is different from any other.   How does that work?

We are all the same species – homo-sapiens.  All human beings – all growing into a world full of human beings.  A world increasingly creaking under the weight of our needy lifestyles.  Lifestyles of want and waste. But I digress …

How can “humans” be so different from each other?  The way we each smile or frown … how we look up or down … how we touch or recoil … how we think or do … race or walk … stay or go … chatter or reflect … follow or not.  We may all look slightly different in hair colour and style, height and girth, symmetrical features or not … But those are more similarities than differences.  The “differences” are within.  The “differences” are not the physical.  The “differences” are the spiritual.  The spirit of curiosity or acceptance … of choice or victim … of spontaneity or detailed planning … of living in the moment or anywhere but that.  What benefit is it – this different spirituality – this difference in spirit?

Because “difference”must have value – or else it would have disappeared from our species.  And why do we resist uniformity – but demand everyone else be like me?  Why do we assume “me” is the best this species can be?  Why do we fear differences when, as a species, “nature” knows best?  Nature that refines and defines over millenia.  A refining and defining of us as a species.

Difference is necessary.  Difference is desirable.  Difference is our strength.  We are a  species of difference.  And as a species we seek community.  But community of sameness.  Sameness with subtle difference.  Community that accepts difference so long as we all know the rules and abide by the rules.  Rules that allow this difference, but disallow that difference.  Rules that frown on exceptions to the rule.  Rules that make those living by them “safe”.  Because community is not community unless community is safe.  And differences undermine that sense of security.

I am curious.

If we become friends through this blog and then meet … I am confident I would like you.  I am confident your looks, your likes, your dislikes, your desires and your spirit would fit well with mine.  I am that confident I would consider travelling to meet you.  I would invest time and money.

Why is that?  How does that happen?

I think it is because when we meet here, we connect with that which is inside.  We connect with the spirit.  Normally we see a face and expression.  We see dressing choices and personal care standards.  Normally we connect with that which is outside.  We connect with the visible.  And forever more filter the spiritual through that physical.

I have met those here I would never have connected with locally.  And I have learned that the outside is irrelevant.  The inside is the real – the outside is the fantasy.  I think that our differences in fantasy are what drive us apart.  My fantasy of your differences and who you are based on my fantasy of who I am and my differences.  My fantasy of whether you enhance my living locally or not.  Whether your circle is a circle that will make me feel safe or not.  Whether you make me feel safe.

Yet here I have no fantasies.  You are what you are and I am what I am.  Your differences do not threaten mine.  Your differences are of the spirit.  And I have found the spirit to be my better side – more generous, more forgiving, more optimistic, more pragmatic – more accepting of differences.

I think that is our hope.  I think that is who we are as a species.  And I think we are forgetting that.

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