Like millions of others, I yearn for the day when society can resume some semblance of peacefulness. The protracted struggles between various political and religious factions do nothing constructive for humanity and the world. One would hope that since we’re living in the 21st century that we would have learned to use compassion and reason to settle our differences. However, there are still individuals who stir up fear and hatred as tools in persuit of power and wealth.
We innately understand on some level that while people are individuals with some variations and traits, we are all equal due to the fact that we’re all Homo sapiens sapiens. Variation is one of the beauties of our species. However, we all share the same solar system on the same planet; are held down to earth with the same gravitational field; and we breath air from the same atmosphere. Despite superficial differences, our fellow humans are not different from ourselves. We are more similar to each other than some propagandists would have us believe.
Some of my acquaintances accuse me of being just an old peacenik from the 1970s–as if that is a bad thing. I don’t need to affiliate myself with any sort of politico/religious group to realize that peace and brotherhood/sisterhood are positive, good concepts. I feel the value of peace in my bones.
I want to explore the idealistic notion of brotherhood/sisterhood from a slightly different perspective than we are taught to view it. When we grammatically reduce the words to being about brothers and sisters we understand them as being about siblings. If you grew up with at least one sibling, you probably remember sibling rivalry, getting into quarrels, pilfering of belongings, and occasional resentments. But when it came to the basics, we siblings knew we were members of the same family, even among step-siblings. Even during disputes, we were still family.
When we zoom out, we remember that we are all members of the same human family. This should give us a helpful perspective. Although we will probably always have quibbles and disagreements, we ultimately depend upon each other to survive and to thrive.
It is up to each one of us to remember that nobody has the real power to turn us into mental, ideological slaves unless we choose to submit to them. Nobody can force us to believe hearsay, libel, and slander unless we passively allow our minds to do so. We were never created to be sheep nor wolves. We are siblings who live as social creatures in interdependent ways. We have various occupations that hopefully serve the needs and wishes of others. We have brains that have the capacity to discern love from hate. We have the internal freedom to choose constructive actions over destructive chaos.
In the end, we are all siblings within the family of humanity. At least this is how I personally understand brotherhood/sisterhood.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes author, John Gwynne. “We are the Bloodsworn, closer than kin. A brotherhood, a sisterhood: we live and die together.”
I feel the same (and love your sibling insight!)… I am getting more and more bleeding heart the older I get… feeling now that we owe animals, plants, nature, the planet the same type of respect and reverence. I question why humanity has placed itself on a pillar above all other life on the planet (because we assume we are the only one with thinking? the only one that thinks exactly this way? the only one with weird uber-adaptability?)… it feels dis-harmonious and also I wonder how much the church’s “biblical interpretations” have seeped into our understanding of our “place” atop some sort of pyramid of importance. Squaring these revelations with my own daily actions is something I will be working through over the coming years. (Vegetarianism? Conscious-meat-eater? I already try to live softly, but I know there are many places where my consumption/waste is problematic.)
It’s better to be a “bleeding heart” than it is to be a “hardened heart”. You’ve touched upon a few of the reasons why I have a skeptic’s attitude towards life. New discoveries and changing knowledge about old concepts come into our world each day. Why cling onto the past simply out of tradition?