Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Life, Humanity, And Everything

The crowd that assembles under the umbrella of the "right-to-life" movement is extremely concerned with potential, soul-bearing life that resides in a woman's womb, to the extent of trying their best to strip a woman of her right to exercise the course of her pregnancy as she sees fit. Once the child is born of woman, feeling the Sun upon its skin, and filling its lung with air, it is no longer of as much consequence to them. That the child is born into poverty, to a mother who must subsist on public assistance and the kindness of strangers, or, worse, who looks at the child as a reminder of youthful indiscretion or brutal violation, does not seem to bother them that much.

In fact, when it comes to the fully-formed human, as child or adult, much is made to try and minimize the glory that is humanity. A human being is reduced from an instrument of God's crafting, master of Earth and its environs, to an inconvenience or nuisance or "one of them." Rather than accept the fact that all humans are of common stock, related in the greatest detail, many seek to categorize and minimize their fellow humans, to salve their sense of inferiority, or to enforce their sense of domination. That so many of us treat our brethren as the sum of their tags and categorizations and attributes, is a sign that we have not evolved far past our primitive ancestors.

One only has to look at the rhetoric flying about, to see it first-hand. The vitriol of some toward illegal immigrants, reducing them to nothing more than common, law-breaking curs. The "righteous" anger of some over abortion, treating the unborn fetus as sacred, while treating the frightened and confused mother as some sort of God-forsaken heathen, bent on the destruction of humanity. The fervent anger and thinly-couched slurs of some "patriots," aimed toward the President, over his attempts to rectify ills and provide security for all Americans. The invective of some brought out by the debate of health care reform, treating those without insurance or with preexisting conditions as if they deserve their fate.

Discourse in this country is a mockery, a shouting match engaged in by all comers, as if tearing each other down can possibly lead to the solution of the serious problems facing this country and the world. It is not simply the ignorant and boorish who are so engaged, but their detractors find it as easy to slap them with degrading and offensive appellations, as if compounding the problem somehow scores intellectual points in the debate. Where great oratory is called for, there is only mud-slinging, name-calling, and obstinacy.

When we look at another person, we cannot afford the luxury of seeing them for their surface attributes, for like an iceberg, who a person is is mainly hidden beneath. Clothing, make-up, jewelry, religious effects... these are all camouflage, a facade to hide behind, a barrier to protect our innermost workings, a wall to prevent others from seeing us as we truly are. We must learn to strip away the surface of those we meet, to delve into the depths, and to avoid the continued trap of judging the book by its cover. Only in this, can we even begin to being about true and universal peace and equality. For inequity exists only as long as we maintain the fiction that people are what they appear to be. There are times, when actions do not even tell us all there is to know, for sometimes people take actions based on forces propelling them from the depths of their soul, in ways we cannot fundamentally imagine.

No amount of age, intellect, breeding, or wealth obviates the fact that each of us, as individuals, has value as a living, breathing being, and that while we are different in many ways, we are the same in more ways than we know. Equality is the base measure of humanity, and our deviation from it is only brought about by our instinct to divide the world, and everything in it, into convenient categories. A survival instinct honed by millions of years of evolution now threatens to destroy our ascendancy; for humanity to survive and flourish, we must force our evolution on an intellectual level, harnessing our mental energies to turning aside instinct, and bringing humanity back to its level, that peace and harmony might reign.

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