I’m driving towards the sun, waterdrops covering my windshield.
Light from a single source refracts and reflects through water droplets at many different angles.
We need to transcend our expectations around conformity, and create space for diversity, especially in the context of religious understanding, and all the other areas that the small-minded will traditionally bicker over.
It helps to understand that the qualities of the water droplet do far more to influence the nature of its transmission of the qualities of the light than than the angle of occurrence.
Nature is a living testament to both the strength of, and requirement for, diversity.
It is much easier to get hung up on small differences than it is to see the big picture, even though we are all far more alike than we are different.
‘God’, or life, being the source, the light being the truth, the interaction of the light with the water being our varied religious understanding.
Any system that does not properly account for diversity of understanding will be bound to fail – it will spend undue energy repressing the understanding that is not accounted for, until the cost of that repression is greater than the system can bear, at which point it will schism or fail. Unfortunately, schisms can allow for psychological splitting to occur on a societal level, leading to greater conflict between divided groups – the goal tends to no longer aim to provide holistic accounting, but rather becomes ensuring the supremacy of an individual’s faction – thus partisanship, one-upmanship, and other forms of small-minded bickering.
Most of these conversations become an exercise in understanding hermeneutics and projection, as opposed to discussing ‘truths,’ because our ability to comprehend is limited by our ability to perceive, and most of our bottlenecks of understanding occur at the perception level, due to various forms of bias – e.g. we are more likely to extend compassion in our understanding to a friend of family member than to someone who we traditionally don’t get along with, or seek to understand the point of view of our friend better than that of their opponent, or are willing to write-off entire subgroups of people based on a lack of personal experience and prevailing ‘common knowledge.’ We are far more likely to get hung up in some discussion that involves resolving a scope of perspective that is personally limited than we are to run into a problem where we cannot understand the underlying truth. E.g. any stereotypical conversation involving card-carrying racists or other extreme bigots. Underlying truth is that people should be treated fairly and equally – anyone actively acting as a racist or bigot can almost bend their reason over backwards to support their jaded views of inequality and exclusivity. Of course, it is easy to recognize this kind of cultural pollution or personal ignorance in extreme cases, but identifying when it is happening with ourselves and our close friends is a much more difficult and subtle task.
The value of diversity is recognizable by science throughout all of nature. Ecosystems thrive with biodiversity. Portfolios achieve optimal risk management and therefore reliable success through diversification. The strongest economies are ones with wide-ranging diversity, and no reliance on a single industry. Our immune systems benefit by exposure to a diverse range of bacteria. Our minds benefit from access to a diverse range of sources. Our management teams avoid groupthink, hubris and myopia by cultivating a diverse range of views and voices at the leadership table. A field is kept verdant through the rotation of a diverse set of plants and animals. Anyone driving to consensus without first hearing a diverse range of viewpoints is driving to a false consensus – it is hard to think of any field, scientific or otherwise, that does not benefit from diversity.
One of the most prevalent drivers of the behaviour of getting hung up on small differences is a fundamental belief in the competitive nature of existence, even though it is humanity’s cooperation, rather than our competition, that has brought us this far. The story of human progress is the story of humanity learning to shed or transcend the ‘me-first’ attitude that has dominated so much of our collective history.
As a brief tangent, it is interesting to see the push towards collaborative software that helps drive team performance in the corporate world. 2017 is big on collaboration. What I find the most interesting about it are the little sandboxes we put around who we are willing to collaborate with, who we are willing to share our knowledge with. It may be surprising how abundant the world is, once we stop artificially imposing scarcity all throughout it.