What does it mean to be ‘equal’? Equal how? Equal to what? When the statement was made that all men are created equal, which equality was being referenced? Was it the more ethereal ‘energy’ we share as human beings, that equality, or was it the notion that each embryo is created with as much future potential as any other? Or was the statement itself a demonstration of inequality because it references men, only? Perhaps all men are created equal. All women are not. That is clear at the outset. Equality is a tricky word. It holds too much promise for too many people who will never get to be ‘equal’ in today’s world. Sadly there are those people.
Equality is about fairness. Balance. Wherever there is an imbalance, there will be discord. The system does not handle discord well. Nor does it create equals. The very system discourages equality, equals. The system is about working your way to the top, surpassing others. It would seem that in the greedy world of capitalists, being equal is never enough. There is the compulsion to be better, to earn more, to have more. To outshine your peers. It becomes an obsession for many people. Perhaps those at the top of the capitalist ladder do have ‘equals’. Perhaps they consider themselves ‘equal’ to people who earn the same as they do. That is perhaps their measure in life.
It is worth fostering equality as an ideal. I think it is an ideal. It is something to strive towards, like peace. Equality is a work in progress. Should it become the norm rather than the exception in the long run, that can be considered an ideal outcome. The child who cannot read or write is not equal, in 2014, to the child who can. The child with access to technology is not equal to the child that does not. This is how it is in our world. Despite the ever-present inequalities, though, and the concerns that these inequalities raise, it is not to say that the ‘unequal’ cannot reach the heights that the ‘equal’ tend to reach. They must just apply themselves to working with what they have and trust that it is enough.
Would you expect peace in Utopia? Would you assume it to be a wholly peaceful place? I think it is better never to assume anything, no matter how well you may have convinced yourself that you know what is best in a particular situation. There is always someone who knows better than you do. I have learnt that lesson in life and I trust its consistency. The trick is to find that person. Does Utopia – or Elysium, Heaven, a harem of 1000 virgins, Paradise, etc – exist for you? Even just in your dreams? Does it mean to you perfect, or does it mean ideal? You need to define these things for yourself before you can set about finding yours. That yours is the same as mine – or the next person’s – is a possibility, but this is doubtful in a world this self sufficient. We each have a private ideal, a personal state of perfection that we (ought) to be striving towards. It depends on how you view perfection as to how your Utopian odyssey will unfold. Your journey is ongoing, you will find yourself there, in time. It just takes time.
The way to peace is to educate. Ask Malala Yousafzai, support her cause with $10 a month if you do not yet do anything for your world. What is $10 worth in your world? Encourage your children to support a worthy cause – let them learn the value of compassion. Teach them that it is important to give something back when you have more than others do and teach them this through your example. It is more and more apparent in these everydays that our children are very capable of understanding the meaning behind an action, a behaviour – i.e. a motivation. Do not take from them this facility. Nourish it, them. Let them learn empathy, through affection. It will get them far in life.
In pursuit of peace (and quiet) it is your responsibility as an adult to demonstrate your true nature in front of children. They see straight through an act and besides, they learn assertion. Let them read your truth because this is how you show a child respect for their time. Their assessment. Letting them know your weaknesses as well as your strengths is not a failure, it is a clued-up move. Apologise when you shout, curse. Explain if you cry. If you curse under your breath, that counts. Saying sorry says hey – it is human to make mistakes. Life is dramatic – there is no getting away from that reality. If you think it is not then you need to open your eyes and notice for once (in a very long while) its colour. Colour brings pain, mind you. Moderate that pain. It is vital for children to realise through your demonstration the real of this world we live in. It is an exercise in strengthening, stretching their emotional intelligence. Please recognise a child’s emotional intelligence when you spot it. The more equipped children are to handle themselves (in any situation that presents itself), the more stable their end life-view is going to be. Children do not think in infinities. They need an end view that is stable – whatever that stability entails. Theirs’ can be surprisingly flexible, their stability – it depends what keeps them happy. Children have extraordinary capacity and they will instinctively stretch themselves. Let them. What is necessary to know is that it is essential that a child develops a life-view that perpetually fires up new synapses with excitement. Children should laugh a lot and they should be shown a great deal in their lives, as well as a good example. If you cannot show them a good example – you will need to trust that your child will role-model on the dominant adult in the vicinity who sets best that example. An example. If you cannot trust that your child will know right from wrong, then you have a problem.
And if you do not know who Malala Yousafzai is, perhaps you should. She deserves a Nobel Peace Prize one day.
What is the point of sitting in your armchair thinking about the changes you would like to see in the world? There is no point to that. You have to do something constructive in order that your thoughts have any sway at all, otherwise you might as well not bother having them. Thoughts without an active thinker are not helpful. As I have said before, act rather than don’t in this world because your voice – however you choose to speak – might be the one that makes the difference. The good news is that there are a great many situations in our world that need improving. This world is as yet far from perfect and that means there is a lot to work on. We are a lot. The odds are in our favour should we put our minds to making a change; we can make a statement and simultaneously tidy up some residual untidyness.
Should you dislike circus animals, for instance, then find out how the Netherlands set about banning performing animals from their country and get busy making that statement in your own arena. How about this time being the person who stands up and does something instead of being the disillusionist sitting on the sidelines griping? Do you know how tiring a whining voice? It precludes itself from being heard.
Boycott oriental arts across the board because the Asians refuse to honour life on earth, refuse on principle to visit zoos and circuses because your money is what keeps these sideshows in business. Do not forget that there are a lot of animals currently trapped in circuses and housed in zoos. What will happen to those helpless creatures once the circuses shut down and the zoos lose their patronage – because I do believe that they eventually all will. Perhaps there are private reserves that could house these wild orphans. Perhaps. One would hope that when they are freed from their particular brand of slavery they will find their way to a place they could call home. It will not be the wild as it once was in their blood, but it could be a safe haven free from prying eyes and ringmaster’s whips. I believe there is place in Africa for every one of these exploited animals. Africa is like that with her big heart.
I marvel at man’s audacity. He attempts to tame the wild and uses his mastery to bring misery to living creatures. I am sure this was never our purpose.