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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

We are all the same

We are all mostly the same. Across the world and across time, we are all mostly the same. This is a basic belief of mine. I came to this belief by my middle teens. I had traveled widely and found everyone mostly the same. As the dependent child of a career military sergeant my travel was paid for by the US tax payer. I had also received a superior education compared to the average American public school attendee, but all that is another story. This is about sitting in a Turkish coffee house in Ankara, or sipping tea in London, or drinking beer in Frankfurt, or watching pedestrians from a Paris street café. I have been a quest in homes in Japan and Singapore, I have walked the Giza plateau with Egyptian friends, I have dived the Caribbean with Mexican friends, in all these places, at all these times, I have found people mostly the same.
Modern scientific research supports my belief. Research of DNA confirms our biological similarity and I have noticed the similarity of our psychology. We all share greed, lust, and envy plus we all share honesty, charity, and kindness. These same attributes were displayed by ancient Egyptian Pharos, Roman Emperors and Persian Kings. Where we differ is in our world view, our frame of reference, our perception of reality. My point is that our basic human character is mostly the same; everywhere I traveled I found friends that would share, and villains that would rob.
Another thing we all share. We ask why? This basic mental activity drives us, we insist that there is cause and effect, asking why has allowed us to discover the making of fire and the growing of crops. We have always asked why, and our mental tools for evaluating the puzzle have changed, we like to think our tools have improved. For example, today we understand the weather as impersonal and confined to physical rules, in the tenth century we understood weather to be supernatural and controlled by gods and demons. We would kill individuals that had worked with devils to bring drought or floods. The person blamed had little ability to defend themselves, and was preferably a stranger. We all knew dragons were real, we had never seen a dragon, but we knew someone who knew someone that had seen a dragon, even the best educated believed in dragons and woodland spirits. Our modern concept of nature did not exist in the tenth century.
We are all mostly the same, but what we do with our sameness is different. I envy your car and then work overtime to buy my own. Another person envies your car and then steals it. I ask, why we are human, and then study evolution. Another will ask, why we are human, and then studies creationism. We both ask the same question, and then arrive at different conclusions. Now with our shared sameness of false pride we decide that each is absolutely correct and the other a fool. Next we must choose a response, temperance or wrath, if temperance wins and we shake hands while tossing back a beer, if wrath dominates and we engage in a knife fight.
We are all the same, we just can’t agree on very much.

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