Perceptions: Drawing battlelines requires two types of people
Maury Robertson is a writer who lives in Yuba City. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are only two types of people: male and female, tall and short, literate and illiterate, liberal and conservative, Americans and foreigners, rich and poor, old and young, attractive and unattractive, pious and profane ...
Obviously, the idea that there are only two types of people is nonsense. The fact that we can be divided along an infinite number of lines proves there are as many types of people as there are people.
The stupidest two groups into which we separate people is them and us. We think like this. But they think like that. We do this. But they do that. We eat this. But they eat that.
The line between them and us always reduces them to something less than us. The next time you hear someone talking about them, listen carefully. You will hear the Pharisee "thanking God that he is not like other people." Every line between them and us is a battle line.
The fact that we have so many differences does negate all we have in common. I am looking out the window at five yellow finches hanging from the bird feeder. I can barely tell them apart. On closer inspection, though, I see that no two are alike. One is bigger than another. One is brighter. One has a mark by its left ear that is slightly different.
In the same way, most human distinctions are trivial and cosmetic. We try like mad to distinguish ourselves from each another but a visitor from another planet would have a hard time telling us apart. Everyone loves and hates, laughs and cries, dreams and despairs. If you prick us, do we not bleed?
There is no them and us. There is only us. If we could somehow keep this in mind, we would be able to work together to make a better world and stop wasting so much energy drawing battle lines.