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Finding the Similarity

It would help us greatly if we decided to look at others for our similarities instead of for our differences. It is very natural to see someone of different color, or ideas, and focus only on the differences. In this show I discuss some examples of how we focus on the differences, and how things might be different if we were to realize how alike we all really are.

When we come from a place of looking first at differences, we tend to assume that everything about the person is different. If we can realize that we are basically similar, and that the differences are in the details and perspectives, then we would have much less conflict in our lives.

The ways in which we are all similar:

  • emotions
  • physical traits
  • needs
  • behaviors
  • we all want to prosper
  • etc.

Focusing on differences is very natural. Similarities seem boring. Of course we all breathe. Of course we all feel fear. Not very exciting stuff. But coming into a situation with that literally on our mind helps us to see things in a cooperative way instead of a conflicting way.

What if nations focused on similarities? What if religions did? How might that change our world?

Show Music: A Lesson In Crime by Tokyo Police Club

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Nationalism and Levels of Identification

Consciousness expands from being an infant through different identifications with social groups. The highest level on average is the national level. We identify with our family, our neighborhood, our state, our nation. Why not our world and beyond?

When survival of the team or family depends on loyalty, it is important that we are able to identify with that level. Our survival at this point is becoming more and more dependent on a world view. There are views beyond the world view, but the world view would be the next meaningful level of identification.

At the base of this identification is the ego clinging to an idea about itself. The problem starts when we let that identification get so deep that we make choices that are against our values. Nations that go to war would be potentially the greatest example of this. How does taking human life become so easily justified during war? It does because it falls under the umbrella of protecting a nation. Protecting the idea of “us”. But there is only “us” in a world view. There is no “them”.

Nations often fight because they are lost in value systems that are out of sync. If we were able to widen our level of identification to a world view, we would grow past many, if not all, of our conflicts.

Do we gain anything, or lose anything by identifying with different levels of social structure? Is it better to identify with a neighborhood by being in a gang, or a city by being proud to be from that place, or a nation, or the world? There are less people to fight, less outsiders as we widen our identification.

The next view beyond world view would be a universal view, or a unified view. I only mention this to say that we are not done once we’re at the world view.

We use these levels of identification to grow. We expand as we move from one view of our group to the next wider view. That said, what would change if we, as individuals, started to identify with a world view, instead of a national view?

Show Music: At Home And Unaffected by Decomposure

Referenced: Bill Hicks, Ken Wilber