Blog Column: 

The greatest illusion in life is separation. Everything is connected and we know it.

One of the problems with being human is that our instincts and our reason are always conflicting. Our instincts tell us that medicine should be avoided because it tastes repulsive. Our reason tells us to suck it up and take the medicine if we want to get over an ailment.

Our instincts also tell us that the world is divided. Physically, it is divided by oceans, mountains, and any number of other obstructions. Between people, it is divided by religion, race, ideology, and a myriad of other tribal distinctions we ascribe to each other.

Our reason tells us, however, that the world is united. The oceans are connected, the mountains are a part of the earth itself, and what are obstructions to us are simply different expressions of the same world. Race, religion, and everything else like them are likewise different expressions of humanity.

Knowing that we are all the same at our core, doesn’t it seem a little ridiculous to segregate ourselves? Yes, some ideologies conflict with others, so some amount of separation is inevitable.

What isn’t inevitable is rage and violence.

Just because these are common results of such apparent differences does not mean that they are inherent in our dealings with each other. We see people overcoming these “divisions” every day. Republicans and Democrats can talk on the bus without attacking each other. Christians and Muslims can break bread without bringing weapons to the table. White and black people can laugh together or share a classroom or anything else! This school is evidence of that.

I’m not saying that we should abolish religion (though it’d be kind of cool to see what would happen) or to stop subscribing to one social group or another. That would be unrealistic. There are always going to be divisions in ideology, interests, and the like. All I’m asking for is that we recognize everyone we deal with as a human being who should be treated with respect, no matter how outlandish their ideas might seem.

Besides, new ideas are how we innovate. We cannot adapt to a changing world if we do not listen to foreign ideas. This diversity is thus also the source of our greatest growth and strength as a race, so long as we do not treat these differences the way we would a plague: By avoiding or destroying them.

At the end of the day, once the bickering is done, we all are a part of the same world. We could be thousands of miles apart, yet we are still on the same earth and look up at the same sky. Perhaps it might be worth making a greater effort to live with each other and be patient.

Now I’m going to ruin the moment for you by saying that a lot of this was inspired by a cartoon called “Avatar: The Last Airbender.” Ha! And people make fun of cartoons…

Song of the Week: “Get It Together” by Seal is a pretty straight forward expression of a similar sentiment. Just saying, there’s no way I was about to post a video of “Kum Ba Yah.” I’m a sap, but not that much of a sap.

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