In researching the avenues humanity has gone down throughout our recorded and reported history (much of which, I think, is open to investigation), I keep seeing the same patterns repeating over and over again. It can be at the micro level, between two individuals or even between a individual's own various aspects; and it can be between family members, community members, coworkers, groups/parties/gangs, and more, on ever larger scales. The pattern simply reiterates.
In science and in "medicine" (is it really medicinal?), there is a pervasive underlying belief that superficial differences are fundamental differences, and that these differences prove superiority and inferiority. There is judgmental comparison. Otherwise, how could one "improve" oneself or a current situation? The comparison must be made, judging that the current situation/self is inferior and can therefore become "better". And, in attempting this goal of betterment, there are certain actors who are judged worthy compared to those who are judged to be expendable. The expendable are inferior, and therefore there is no need to waste consideration or compassion on such creatures. They are here to serve the higher species in its advancement. And the advancements of the higher species will, as a matter of course, benefit the rest of the world.
As individuals, we commit this practice to ourselves, harshly judging parts of ourselves we dislike or deem unacceptable according the societal standards we are indoctrinated with, and trying to suppress those parts. As a few examples, we subject ourselves to crazy dieting programs, self-help programs, punishing physical exercise regimes, going through the school system all the way to college even if it kills us and makes us indebted servants for life, dressing up to be socially acceptable, etc. Women wear makeup that covers their facial pores all day, much of which is made from toxic chemicals. They also wear high heels and pointed shoes that damage their healthy foot structure over time. We often adopt the speaking manners of the most dominant person in a group, and those who see themselves as unworthy will show it in their curved posture and diminished presence in the face of someone they deem to be superior.
This foundational belief of judgmental comparison affects all of the structural systems we have created for ourselves to operate in.
Science is rife with the practice of torture. Scientists conduct torture constantly on other living beings without compunction. It is no great leap to move from torturing an insect, a fish, a salamander, a frog, a mouse, a rat, a cat, a dog, a pig, etc.--to a human being. In fact, human experiments are occurring all of the time, without informed consent because, if you are not of the superior species, you are expendable and your consent is not necessary. How could you possibly know what is good for you? Let the experts handle that complex matter.
In medicine, there is the same attitude. The medical practitioner knows best. The patient is uninformed, an ignorant child by comparison. The doctor's recommendation to take a certain drug, do a procedure, use a device, etc. should be sufficient enough. If you disagree, you could be slapped with a psychiatric diagnosis so that you can be forcibly drugged and/or confined.
This is by no means what occurs 100% of the time, but I think, in our societies, around the world, we have become so enamoured with individuals who exert control over others, that this pattern has become the foundation of our systems.
Why do we admire people who exert control successfully over others?
We don't seem to mind how they exert control. We find it immensely impressive and we reward it. CEOs, managers, political officials, marketing people, military, and on and on. We think, perhaps subconsciously, "How admirable! That man commands the whole room when he enters it. He must be very important. How amazing it must be, to have such influence."
We don't see the other side to this coin. We don't see the intentional use of psychological manipulation. We don't see the intentional use of coercion and intimidation, threats and violence. We don't see the forceful subjugation of others, the use of power to violate the humanity of others so as to maintain a place of power.
(And, most importantly, we don't see how, at the same as we are admiring this individual, we are disempowering ourselves.)
Or, perhaps, we simply refuse to see that. We don't want to look too closely, because we know what goes on in high-power circles. Perhaps what we feel, intimately, is a mixture of admiration (for the ability to use power effectively without fear), disgust (for the abuse of that power), and fear (feeling we are inadequate ourselves to use our power, and therefore we already feel subjugated to another). And then again, some people may have no qualms at all about abusing power because their beliefs/worldview/moral compass/reasoning/conscience are operating within different parameters.
I realize that this topic may seem nebulous or philosophical, and therefore can be dismissed as having no immediate relevance to your day-to-day life right now. This couldn't be further from the truth, because, you see, it is the PATTERN that persists throughout all of our lives, at every level, being mirrored back to all us today, displaying its hideous aspects.
What is this pattern?
It comes down to two basic paths one can take, in every moment, no matter if it simply dealing with your own internal concerns or dealing with another. The choices are these: 1) To attempt to control and 2) To attempt to flow.
One is the desire to master through subjugation. The other is the desire to comprehend, knowing that the best actions will flow with the way things are. True mastery is not subjugation and oppression of what one dislikes. True mastery is seeing how ALL things are essential components; how our perceptions can be expanded from like/dislike to see the bigger picture; how any attempt to control is doomed, in the end, to fail.
Many people do not like the concept of "flow", or the concept "chaos" and "not knowing." There is too much fear. They are not yet ready to let go.
In the attempt to control, it may appear to be amoral or even evil. Some scientists like to see themselves as objective, but they have only become blind to their own biases because they are not familiar to the new forms their biases have taken on.
Some see attempts to control as good--actually, this is the majority of people. And yet again, we are seeing people blinded to their own driving intentions because they have dressed up that internal fear in a new guise of "benevolence." Yet, it is quite simple to see what your driving intention is: look at the actions, without trying to justify them. Look at the effects of those actions.
Our justifications, stemming from our judgmental comparisons, permit us to commit actions we might normally consider inhumane, cruel, degrading, torturous, discriminatory, hateful.
Consider, for a moment, the person who says: "I am tolerant but I have no tolerance for intolerance." What a loop of reasoning! How does one judge intolerance in another? Does that statement come from virtue signalling? Why make this statement at all? Who are you trying to impress? What effect does it have in the real world? Are you signalling to others who see/hear this statement that you will now be judging whether or not they qualify as "intolerant" and if they are found guilty, you will no longer associate with them?
Will them start to dehumanize them? Will you begin to divide yourself and remove your love, compassion and respect because they are no longer worthy of it? Will you walk down that path to degrading your fellow co-habitator? And then, the relevant question is: what have you now become?
Every conversation, every action, everything in our lives can go one of two ways: an attempt to control or an attempt to flow. Understand this, and you will begin to see this pattern is reflected in absolutely every aspect of life. You can see it in how you live with yourself, your children, your relatives, your pets; how you live with the environment around you, your possessions, your home, your car, your bike; how you interact with your friends, coworkers, employer, doctor, the person serving your coffee. And then you can extrapolate and see this occurring in large companies, in politics, in NGOs, etc.
In our attempts to control, stemming from this foundation of judgmental comparison, we find ourselves walking down the path of creating justifications for cruel behaviour.
We take a controlling position, and the question then becomes: what will NOW qualify another living being for love, compassion and respect?
What judgments apply?
What games does one have to play to become acceptable?
Will you only love me if I become what you want me to be?
Will you only have compassion for me if I stop being the way I am now?
Will you only have respect for me if I try to mould myself to your standards?
What will it take for those in science, in medicine, in politics, in business, in our communities to drop the pretense that any individual has a right to pass judgment over another; to decide who is worthy of love, compassion and respect and who is not?
What does it mean to you to BE HUMAN?
We often say "human being," without thinking about what that term means for us.
Are we being human when we deny a public service to certain individuals out of our own personal fears?
Are we being human when we decry an individual who opens up their business; who is trying to keep his/her family out of poverty, their employees out of poverty, their community thriving?
Are we being human when we shame another? When we refuse to listen openly to their message? When we categorize them as "crazy" and therefore justify treating them as less important?
Are we being human when we attempt to force everyone to comply with what we want/desire?
I don't know about you, but I think we humans already are magnificent. We have the potential to re-cognize how amazing we are, how amazing this world is and all that it encompasses. We don't need to become better. We simply need to stop oppressing ourselves, stop the judgmental comparisons, stop attempting to control, and start to let go.
Let go of the fear. It is a messenger. Listen to it, respect it, and let it pass on its way.
Do what you want, but don't force another into your story. Let them be. No one is a bit actor in your play. Stop treating others like a means to an end for your desires.
We can love, express compassion, and respect ourselves and others starting right now.
The next time you see someone not wearing a mask, smile and greet them like a human being. And the same goes for seeing a person wearing a mask.
The next time someone enters your store, mask or not, smile and greet them like a human being.
Our lives are short on this planet. We all go through our own difficulties. The least we can do, as we are walking each other home, is to be kind.
And, for all of those people who dedicated their lives to helping others, why not be like Jesus or those amazing physicians who did not let fear keep them away from being near the sick, including those who were deemed to be infectious?
We all know that encouraging peace of mind in a person permits them to heal more quickly; and if they cannot heal, it permits a peaceful death.
We should respect their individual choices, and not try to coerce them. Have some basic regard for the dignity of all living beings, and stop placing your own self above another, no matter how you see that person.
I don't care if you view someone as inferior to you. Simply practice unconditional love, compassion, and respect for them. Never, ever, ever put your personal views/desires/beliefs above another. Never violate them.
This is our potential. Let's start BEING HUMAN.