A True and Equal Part
You are far less significant than you believe and far more significant than you could possibly realize. You hold in common with all others that you are unlike anyone else. As a living being, you are granted a gift you deserve as much as any other living being. As a human being, you share as much as anyone else in human rights. You are not so important that you take precedence over all others at all times, nor are you so important (yes, important, not unimportant) that all others must take precedence over you at all times.
One moment is yours in which to seem favored. Another is for someone or something else. But all moments are woven together in a fabric of which we see only a short distance along a few threads. We may not maintain ourselves by destroying all that is not us, nor may we destroy all in service to us. This is forbidden by the simple fact that humanity, with all the many individuals comprising it, is a true and equal part of nature. An egotistical attitude will not change this. And it is because each individual is a true and equal part of humanity that we are forbidden to oppress each other. We are required, instead, to come to each other's aid and to attend to each other's happiness and fulfillment whenever we are able. Likewise must we do in nature as a whole. We ignore this rule at our own peril.
Much to the woe and despair of the world have so many come to proclaim, "I am greater than another!" How often do we each look to be more special, more deserving, more significant in comparison to our fellows! See how a people will stand on the backs of others! To destroy is not always to kill, and many a spirit too broken to resist has lain trampled upon as erroneous proof of the superiority of those wielding clubs and stamping their boots. Look also about you at the tattered remnants of species and lands after the greedy and careless have had their way.
As you cast your eye upon such devastation and havoc, remember that the earth knew life long before any of us set a single toe to her body, that generations were born and died long before you personally drew breath, that the lives of other people will go on after your life comes to its end, that all of humanity can be outlived as easily as the dinosaurs.
But contemplate also this: We are able to know and consider such things. We are able to choose what we will do. We have a greater thing to which to aspire than petty conquering and reveling in false power. Only those who participate in freedom, love, and mutual respect all about them can know the glories their concert can create. Those who would seek a tighter and tighter hold on the throats of others must preserve themselves in ever smaller, darker confines, even as the reach of their apparent rule expands. How else to protect what they have stolen from being stolen by others or reclaimed by those to whom it rightfully belongs? How else to defend themselves against the vengeance they inspire? But those who live and let live open out from within, enjoying a larger life, in harmony with others. They are not immune to any and all suffering, but neither do they live within prisons they have constructed for themselves. It is the existence of free, loving people that contributes the most and best to the beauty and prosperity of the whole. What a grand fulfillment of the potential of our being! We do, indeed, matter!
Countless injustices have been visited upon those refusing to bow down to pretended superiority. This is perhaps the greatest of our flaws: that we insist that others either live to show us to be their betters or die for refusing to participate in the comparison; that we not only wish to be important but that we demand that we have the greatest or even the only importance; that we believe only we are favored by God; that we think we (and only we) are exempt from the laws of nature; that we salivate so over the idea that only we are worthy of attention and reward, while others deserve only punishment or to be blotted out of existence entirely... because we are the humans; because we are this group or that of them; because we are the most possessed of one quality or another; because we believe more rightly or more truly; because it just is and no explanation need be given. How pitiful and weak this makes us. We drive ourselves to irrelevance this way.
But there is hope for us if we break free of the limits of such sorry bars and chains. Bounty, peace, and life may be found in acknowledging and living out both our diversity and our equality. In being unalike as well as alike, we are truly ourselves. What greater freedom can be found? And in that freedom is life's greatest adventure: the journey of self-discovery and growing mutual understanding - an opportunity open more and more to each of us the more it is open to all.
Articles Set 5
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