verses of Rigveda

All Human Beings are Equal — Perceptions Create Inequality

individual uniqueness

Behind all the social evils and atrocities that went down in the history of mankind, classification within the human race is the biggest culprit.

Classifications divide us, leading to inequality and discrimination. History is full of accounts where one sect identifying itself different or superior to others has resulted in oppression, chaos, and conflicts in the human world.

Even in the 21st century, we are dealing with religious, racial, ethnic, class, gender, and other kinds of sectarianism.

Individuals in the society identify themselves and assume roles as per prevailing classifications. They learn to act as men or women, as black or white, as rich or poor, as Christian or Muslim, as American or Asian. But, they are remiss in their conduct as human beings. The foremost and perhaps the only identity (class, creed, gender, ethnicity, et al.) one should have is being human.

Hands holding tree

Being one species, having common traits and same purpose, human beings are supposed to live as a collective lot. Their role is to behave humanely and coexist with all other elements in nature. Alas, they are caught up in the classification trap, pitting wits against their own brethren. If at all, segregation of any kind within mankind has only worsened the experience of human life on the planet earth.

The need of the hour is to understand, accept, and appreciate the uniqueness of each and every individual. The age-old beliefs asking us to undermine the attitudes and behavior of those who are different to us should be discarded.

The core Problem

Human beings are the most evolved species having understanding and memory, and a profound imagination. They can form opinions (beliefs) and discover knowledge through investigation and experiments.

When evolving, human beings looked up to their surroundings (nature, existence) to learn, gain knowledge. There was ever-present coexistence, harmony, and abundance in nature which men could have learned and shaped culture and education accordingly. Alas, failing to handle the enormous power of imagination, human beings formed false beliefs that were contrary to nature.

For instance — men saw animal kingdom which was self-regulatory with carnivorous animals removing the weak, the old, and the diseased. From there, men learned that powerful can dominate the weak. From the natural, self-regulated process of animal species, men inferred that there can be classifications within the same species.

Man Woman Gender Equality

The most basic and the very first classification among human beings came as the gender divide. Gender is easily perceptible feature of a person’s identity. It is the first thing anybody notices about someone. The purpose of two distinct genders is procreation. However, instead of understanding the purpose of gender and embracing it, human beings tried to establish the dominance of one gender over another, leading to the problem of sexism.

Likewise, the second classification was color. Then followed religious beliefs. With each and every classification, humanity got more and more divided. Other man-made constructs like competition, ownership, individualism, materialism, the concept of money, etc. are the result of the same.

The Curious Case of False Identifications

We all exist with the baggage of false identifications. Given the social conditioning, we identify ourselves depending on our color, gender, ethnicity, etc. When we come across someone upholding an identity similar to ours, we tend to connect with them better, faster.

Commonalities of beliefs, background, or upbringing transform the relations between two individuals. Having understood this reality, human beings (as general behavior) are more loyal and committed to their identities.

The above argument is supported by studies discussed in this podcast from NPR’s Hidden Brain. It is an interesting podcast that concludes that shared identity leads to understanding and trust, that connections and relations can be better if two individuals can have a similar identity. https://www.npr.org/2019/06/03/729275139/people-like-us-how-our-identities-shape-health-and-educational-success

To eliminate all the classification and segregation from society, human beings need to see themselves as one lot, like the ants, whose greatest strength is coexistence. If culture, education, and beliefs had ensured that each individual identifies himself as a human being first, utopia would have been a reality by now.

To Conclude

The physical bodies and biological functioning of the two genders can be different. Color, height, facial structures, etc. of individuals can be different depending on race and lineage. Beliefs of people can be different depending on culture and education. But, the soul that energizes and runs through each individual body is the same. Their consciousness that experiences is one.

The qualitative needs like self-respect, trust, love, honesty, joy, etc. need to be fulfilled in the society. That will create a utopia and universal bliss. Everybody will be treated equally with dignity regardless of their gender, color, ethnicity, etc.

This hypothesis can be evaluated and validated to help bring equality in society.