What Makes us Different?
As a species we seem obsessed with difference. In being unique, in being individual, our own person. Yet paradoxically, we unconsciously and actively reject difference around and within us.
As a species we create more and more labels, classes and definitions to segregate, pigeon-hole and organise human beings into groups that fit with OUR idea of the world and what it is to be human. Bonded together by opinion, beliefs, religion, race, gender, interests…we associate with what’s familiar yet strive to be different. It’s a contradiction, blinding us to what actually makes us all equal – being human.
Our inherent tribal mentality is still with us, and is precisely what’s wrong with our species. It’s unfit for purpose in the modern world. Yet we can’t seem to help ourselves. As many humans as there are trying to evolve beyond this state of affairs there seems to be an equal (if not majority) amount of us intent on holding us back and fixating on the status quo that is. Change is not easy but it’s inevitable and often necessary.
A big teaching that Monster’s bestow upon us is reminding us that we’re all human – we’re all actually the same for the most part. We have the same basic make-up. We all begin from generally speaking the same ‘factory default’. Like a computer fresh out-of-the-box. We have the same hardware; a heart, a brain, blood streaming through our veins…we’re living, breathing creatures that think and feel.
The differences between us are a matter of degrees, small, subtle alterations to our software, installed and influenced by who our parents are, who their parents are and so on – our genetic make-up ‘app’. Non-optional extras attached to our factory default purely based on what came before us.
Geography (where we were born) plays a massive role in who we are and who we become too. Another element of chance, of pre-determined pot luck, something that cruelly dictates life and who we can become as ‘individuals’ for many people on earth. Highlighting the fact that what we as privileged ‘first world’ humans concern ourselves with has very little to do with being human. If it did, there would be no poverty.
Already our fate is being defined, and we’ve only just taken our first breath. The degrees that make us different suddenly don’t seem so small and subtle.
Where and with whom we’re born sets the stall out for life. But then we grow into people. Our factory default is added too. Our experiences, our teachings interact with our genetic make-up, how we’re pre-programmed. We form further opinions and ideas about the world, about ourselves and about others. We can become indifferent to ourselves just a much as we can others, associating ‘us’ and ’them’ with labels, what makes us ‘different’ – it’s a strange obsession shrouded in negativity and division.
Which is rooted in our pre-programming, so it’s weird how we have so much invested in that. There isn’t anything unique or individual about that perspective. So how can we rethink ‘difference’?
If we’re lucky enough to be born in a geographically advantageous place we find ourselves with more time on our hands to think and feel. Our lives and experiences within them are vastly different for each and every one of us. We can quickly forget that we’re all human-beings, we all have equal value, we’re all the same underneath it all. That it’s only the software that’s different and where that software was manufactured. Most of which is out of our hands and nothing to do with choice, with us as individuals.
By focusing on ‘difference’ we easily fuck things up. Whether that’s others being different to us, or whether that’s us wanting to feel special and unique. Justified in our existence, our place in the world, in ‘who we are’.
You only really start to live and recognise who you are, why you’re unique, when you realise that actually you’re not unique. You’re not special. You’re actually quit insignificant, a tiny, quite random, fragment of energy – that’s it. When you realise and accept this fact, you realise how little difference actually matters and start to see what actually does matter. You’d think it would be the opposite and quite catastrophic to our tiny little self-centred minds – “What do you mean I’m not special?!”, “What’s the fucking point then?!”, “Why am I here????”.
The point in realising you’re not special is that with it, you realise we’re all equals. You become more open-minded, more inclusive, more accepting, more connected – more HUMAN. In finding your own humanity, you find your place in the world. You see difference differently, see yourself in other people, you see and embrace the beauty of being human, of diversity, in all that connects us and all that makes us uniquely different. You realise in difference there’s strength and potential for more, for greater – together, as one.
Your mind is less concerned about labels, about the things that try and define you. About your fears and insecurities. You’re less about ‘me’ and more about ‘us’. About others, about people in general, not just the divisive lines you’ve been pre-programmed to see and unconsciously live out. In doing so you ironically discover self, your own specialties, what makes you you, you recognise your uniqueness, your value and what you bring to the world, and perhaps how you can change it.
That may not be on a grand scale, we’re not all destined to be on the big stage, on the front cover of human life, but that doesn’t matter or mean we’re not changing the world.
Every day, wherever we go, whoever we meet, we have the opportunity to change the world for someone and for ourselves. By who we as humans choose to be. How we see ourselves and others, how we adapt and evolve – what we add to our own software and give to others so that they may add to theirs – we see the same hardware in each and every human-being on earth. We see what makes us the same, yet appreciate the difference. We see equality.
If we can remember that we’re all ‘human’, realising that that is the only label that truly matters, we can practice more love, more acceptance, inclusion and equality as individuals in our own lives…
…perhaps leading to greater for all of us, as a species.