Vive La Différence!

While discussing the merits and demerits of being vegetarian versus veganism, my vegan friend Kyle noted that both his and my lifestyles are motivated by the desire to be compassionate towards animals. He reiterated that vegans go one step further than vegetarians in that vegans do not consume any animal-derived products whereas some vegetarians make allowances by sometimes including dairy and eggs into their diets. Kyle stated that he accepts the variations along the spectrum from veganism to vegetarianism–Vive la différence!

I smiled and repeated his exclamation–“Vive la différence!”

The exclamation is one of my favorite idioms because it rolls off the tongue smoothly and it has positive intent. Although the idiom uses French words it is rarely if ever spoken in France. The exclamation is more common among English speaking people. The sentence is usually associated with gender differences in common usage but at its most basic, the idiom relates to cultural differences. Isn’t it interesting that “Vive la différence!” has subtly different meanings and uses?

Although we are all homo sapiens sapiens, differences are part of the human species. None of us are exactly the same. There are even differences between identical twins. The ability to embrace our common humanity along with our subtle differences helps to create a positive, vibrant society. This open-minded attitude makes all the difference in our troubled world. To see every person around us as fellow humans and yet celebrate diversity is what “Vive la différence!” means to me.

“Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them, well, I have others.” Groucho Marx

Although Kyle is vegan and I am vegetarian, we both mindfully selected our dietary preferences because of our love of animal life. Both of us advocate for humane treatment of our fellow creatures, we just have different ways of living our truth. Our shared basic, primary motivation helps to strengthen our friendship bond. The slight differences in our approaches keeps the relationship interesting and thoughtful. Neither one of us is militant about our beliefs nor do we practice people pleasing to appease each other. We both have the same core desire. The difference is how we express it.

One of the other beautiful things about “Vive la différence!” is that while we can appreciate differences and similarities, the differences challenge our assumptions and preferences. The ability to adjust our world-views in this manner is a sure sign of empathy. Taken to another level empathy becomes sympathy.

Have you noticed that you and your friends share a common base, but possess differences? That’s because love includes appreciating similarities as well as differences. If we all loved the same things and believed in the same belief system the same way, life would be bland and dull. Humans are hardwired to seek stimulation and different experiences. This matter of differences among friends reinforces our friendships.

To express pleasure about the similarities along with the many varieties of life is why I love the idiom, “Vive la différence!”

The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes actor and comedian, Aasif Mandvi. “If you don’t acknowledge differences, it’s as bad as stereotyping or reducing someone.” 

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in cultural highlights, Friendship, Meanderings, philosophy and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Vive La Différence!

  1. Great explanation. Thanks for posting!

  2. Alien Resort says:

    Vive la compagnie too.

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