Tuesday, May 6, 2014


I wish that people would really think about the concept of equality from time to time. Equality is a really strong word, stronger than almost any word that I know. In fact, I don't know of anything that is really equal outside of elementary particles and maybe some atoms. So let me broach the idea of equality for a second, so that I can establish a different, perhaps more useful, qualification.

Equality means that two things are the same. If A equals B, then A is B, and B is A. Both of those statements have to be true. Now, when we say that all people are created equal, what do we really mean? Because nobody would say that all people are created the same.

I think that the point that people are trying to make when they say this famous line is the following: nobody is created better or worse than anyone else. That's a very different sentiment. See, inequality is what makes life exciting. The fact that people are different in structure, the fact that they operate differently, the fact that they are good at different things, this is what gives life flavor. We celebrate diversity, and that is good. What we need to change is what we mean when we celebrate equality, because that's the part that's been throwing us off.

I think that I understand why people get so hung up on equality. People get locked into a certain way of viewing people. We see certain dimensions of life, and we don't bother changing the light that we observe things in. Pay range. Social status. Physical beauty. If you end up putting everyone on the same scales, if you only look at certain aspects, then guess what? You can only tell if someone is "better or worse" in your eyes.

You can't just say something is better or worse than something else. You absolutely can't make this judgement without specifying: at what? In what respect is A better than B? By assuming that you don't have to add this information into your judgement, you're assuming that any other dimensions that you could take into account are irrelevant, and that is where the prejudice lies. That's the problem.

Racism, sexism, nationalism; those things aren't just a product of assuming that one person is better than another. It's a product of assuming that you don't have to take more than a few sets of judgements about someone into account. If we were all hammers, then it would be alright if we judged each other based only on our ability to drive nails into stuff. We're not, though, because life is complex, and there isn't any one way that we can look at someone.

So equality actually sucks. What we should celebrate isn't equality of people; it's the fact that as human beings, which have the capacity to insanely complex things, are all naturally capable of being badasses when given the right chance.

No comments:

Post a Comment