April 23, 2017
Extremism in Alternative Spirituality
Part 3 – Equality
Another very popular ideal in alternative spiritualty is equality. Equality in some measure has been stressed by many spiritual teachers and even found in the Declaration of Independence:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Unfortunately, the idea of equality is interpreted differently by various people.
Most reasonable people accept the idea as it applies to opportunity. That is, even though we are all in different circumstances we should all have equal opportunity to use the talents we have to succeed in life.
Many do not expect equality of income but when they read that the eight richest people in the world have as much combined wealth as the poorer half of the entire population of the world they become concerned. This does seem like an undesirable inequality.
People overall want to see each person have a fair shot at life and many things they see happening around them make them feel this may not be happening.
This causes some to take this good ideal and go to the extreme – way beyond merely applying it to opportunity and instead equating equality with sameness.
An example of this extreme emerges from some feminists who claim that for the sexes to be equal we must recognize that, outside of obvious physical differences, they are the same. Some claim that boys act differently than girls because of societal and family influences. In other words, boys would play with dolls and girls with guns in equal amounts if they were raised with the same influences.
I think that most reasonable people will agree that males and females are different enough in nature that it would be detrimental to attempt to force sameness on our children. The logical path is to allow a child to develop though his or her free will and give them as much equal opportunity to succeed according to their desires and talents.
For society to attain maximum equality we must realize what it is and have the desired end presented to us as a people so we can all head the same direction.
Before we can set a goal on equality we must realize that there are differences in everything and this must be a part of the equation. We ought to be happy about this rather than disgusted for the world would be a boring place if we were all the same .
Each person is a unique individual, different from everyone else. Each family is different and yes, each race has different qualities, as well as each city, state and nation.
Fair minded people do not judge the differences in others as being inferior or superior but in general as aspects to be appreciated. Tourists enjoy traveling to different countries because of the differences. They enjoy being exposed to culture and customs different than their own and appreciate them rather than scorn them in most vases.
The fair minded do not want sameness, which can be very detrimental, as is the case of the people of North Korea, but a reasonable equality can be a very good thing.
Here is what we should shoot for.
(1) A fairly equal opportunity to succeed in life. We cannot expect complete equality here as some will always have the advantage of better parents, friends, contacts, available opportunity etc. The main thing desired is that all possible obstacles are removed from all the people so everyone can climb the ladder according to his desire and ability.
(2) Abundance for all. Who cares if Mr. Smith makes more than you if you have enough wealth to enjoy a good life. Studies show that once a person reaches an income where he can live in reasonable comfort that more money does not bring more happiness. Yes the guy with a roof over his head is usually happier than the homeless person, but money can only increase well-being up to a point. After basic needs are taken care of, money does not buy happiness.
Taking the wealth of the few by force and redistributing it never ends well. Instead of seeking such leveling by force let us seek to increase wealth for all working with the free agency of humankind.
When the needs of the many are met then there will be a more natural tendency toward equality and sharing.
(3) The elimination of grievances. A lot of people put so much attention and energy on their grievances because they feel shortchanged in life that they have little focus left over to concentrate on personal success. This chip on the shoulder that many have is picked up from family, friends, the media, politicians and schools. As a society we must focus more on seeing the glass half full than half empty. Unless we do this then no amount of equality will bring satisfaction to the masses. There will always be one more thing needed before illusionary happiness can be obtained.
The mistake then made by many spiritually minded is to go to the extreme, way beyond these three points and seek for sameness rather than true practical equality.
Sameness will never be attained but a fair system where all have a reasonable opportunity of success is a goal that the world will eventually achieve.
Copyright by J J Dewey
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