America is going through some tragic times. What happened was wrong, what’s happening is wrong. And it’s time to take a stand and work towards fixing this problem together.
It doesn’t matter whether you live in Germany, Australia, India, Japan or any other country, we are all in this together. What affects one, affects the entire world community.
It’s funny that we’re all 99.99% identical genetically and how only that 0.01% difference in our DNA — the one that makes us unique and different from each other — can create incredible gaps and hostility between us.
We have to rise above our lower nature, the one that discriminates and holds prejudices, and see people for what they are — people.
This is not just an issue about being a Black or White American. If we probe further and dive deeper into this, at its core, it’s a human problem. It’s the problem where the evil within us eclipses the goodness within us. As much as we’d like to put labels and separate the good guys from the bad ones, the truth is that we are all humans driven by our own instincts and impulses.
Now is a good time to zoom out and see this world and humanity as a whole. The Stoics believed in the concept of sympatheia, which essentially translated to the notion of a well-integrated, interconnected cosmos in which everything in the universe is part of a grander whole. In his personal reflections, Marcus Aurelius wrote, “Meditate often on the interconnectedness and mutual interdependence of all things in the universe. For in a sense, all things are mutually woven together and therefore have an affinity for each other—for one thing follows after another according to their tension of movement, their sympathetic stirrings, and the unity of all substance.”
Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, a Sanskrit maxim found in ancient Hindu scriptures, highlights the same notion of oneness. It simply means that “the whole world is one family.” It’s a social philosophy that advocates oneness in diversity and inculcates a spiritual understanding that the whole of humanity is made of one life force and each of us has the Universal Consciousness within us.
In this fast-paced world filled with noises and distractions, it’s easy to forget the notion of sympatheia and Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, and get sidetracked. It’s easy to focus on our problems, our life and just taking care of our loved ones and the people around us. It’s easy to think small, to surround ourselves with people who are like-minded and the people that we care for. It’s easy to care only for our country and its development, not caring about other countries in the world.
But the truth is that when others suffer, we suffer. When the world goes through pain whether it be due to a crisis or an injustice, we go through that pain as well. Marcus Aurelius too referred to this when he wrote that what’s bad for the hive is bad for the bee as well. We are all connected, one way or the other. We have all witnessed this in action and continue to do so with the ongoing pandemic.
We are not alone, we are part of something bigger than ourselves. We are all part of the same mighty living being. Instead of cultivating a narrow-minded perception of life, we need to take a broader perspective. We all have a duty to work for the common good. It’s important that we let go of our selfish concerns and look after each other.
You might think that what’s going on in Minneapolis, Atlanta, or Washington D.C. is not a cause of concern for you nor a threat to your safety because you’re miles away from the turmoil. You might think that these issues and dangers have no connection to you. But they do. What affects one human, what affects one group, what affects one city, what affects one nation, affects the rest of humanity as well.
This is not a problem for Black Americans, this is a problem for all of us, no matter where you live in the world. Martin Luther King, Jr. beautifully conveyed this notion of mutual interdependence and interconnectivity in these words, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
Racism, discrimination based on the color of someone’s skin, and any similar prejudices are nothing but a manifestation of our lower human nature. And this demands attention from all of us.
We cannot run away from this injustice. We cannot close our eyes and ignore the truth. Injustice to one is injustice to all. When people belonging to a certain group are harmed, all of us are harmed, you and me included.
We can’t turn our backs to the problem anymore. We may try to divide ourselves as much as we like, whether it be based on race, color, age, sex, whatever, at the end of the day we are all humans. It’s time to let go of the toxic walls that we have created among ourselves and get together and fight together. It’s time to unite and work towards obliterating our prejudices and ignoble instincts once and for all.
We are the most advanced species on this planet, and if we choose, we can all overcome our lower selves, fight injustice and come up with a potent solution to fix this social issue. It’s time we choose love over hate, unity over diversity, and peace over chaos. It’s time we show up as superior humans, and fight together as true humanitarians. We have to, for the sake of a better future, for the sake of a better world.
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