Thursday, 14 August 2014

The Thing About Equality

Equality is a strange concept. The idea of it is that every one is to exist and be treated in the same way. But the very existence of the word suggests that we are not all equal, because equals would treat each other equally by default.

I can't help but find humans to be so bizarre. To be vulgar, we all shove food in the same way, and it all comes out the same way too. Nobody egests little pink, sweet smelling pellets.

Image sourced from here.

And if you cut any two human beings open, you'll find the same things. Sure, some people choose to add a little bit of tar, and others a nice bit of saturated fat. But noone survives without a heart, and blood, and bones and all of the other stuff that GCSE Biology failed to teach me about.

Of course, some humans are obscenely stupid. People assume that intelligence comes with wealth or knowledge, when really, it comes with the ability to learn and accept others. Knowing what you don't know makes you far smarter than someone who knows what they do know.

And yet, the sweet little creatures that we are, we still insist on hierarchies which are founded on the basis of prejudices. These prejudices affect genders, races, religions, sexualities, abilities, social classes, ginger people. And to be honest, if someone is a prize pilchard, then it's hard to be nice to them. But in any other case, we're all just bags of proteins, wondering around being as pointless as everybody else.

Image sourced from here

There's a gorgeous passage in Hamlet which explains equality perfectly:

We fat all creatures else to fat us, and we fat ourselves for maggots. Your fat king and your lean beggar is but variable service—two dishes, but to one table.”

Dear old Shakespeare was rather perceptive for a man of his time. I nearly cried at a television programme recently where a really ignorant woman claimed to be fully accepting and understanding of a particular religion, because she had read a book about it. I may have started this by saying that we're all the same inside, but I'm not sure if she had a brain.

Image sourced from here. 

We know nothing about each other. We know close to nothing about ourselves. So surely, life would be so much easier for us all if we just spent time trying to find things out, and accepting the things that we don't know. I don't care if a stranger is blue with green spots, and believes that Earth is a result of fairy faeces decaying. The fact is, differences make us interesting. And if we can't be bothered to embrace them, either because we're scared, or just plain ignorant, then what's the point in living at all.

A character in Les Miserables summed my point up perfectly:

The thing about equality, everyone is equal when they're dead." 

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