Human Beings...Living Together

      We are not all of one mind...and that is good. Because we are different, with varying views of the world, we add to our capability for growth, development, the very success of our species. Were we the same, with fewer new ideas a d less imagining of possibilities, we would stagnate. Success for human beings is both to survive and to improve.

They are all the same...

No matter their language, religion, customs, race, or environment, all human beings have the exact same feelings. Happiness/sadness; hope/despair; trust/wariness; pride/shame: these feelings are common to all of them. The causes for these feelings may differ, but the feelings themselves are identical.

Just as the senses process information the same way for all humans and the body carries out the same physical processes, the brain initiates their thoughts and emotions the same way.

Human beings, then, all have the same basic parts, processes, and emotions. Variations do occur (for example, a human born with six fingers on one hand; another may be extremely smart; another may have no compassion), but more than anything else, these variations confirm the fundamental characteristics common to all humans.

...Yet they are all different.

Because each individual is different, each has a different view of the world, a different perspective. They each live in the same world, using the same basic senses with the same basic feelings. This can help them to mutual understanding. But seeing t is same world in different ways can lead to mutual misunderstanding.

      It is important to note our similarities, but perhaps more important to note our differences. These are what we most often kill each other over.

From birth, every human gathers a great variety of information about the world. And this information will be different from that gathered by every other human because two individuals can see, hear, smell, taste, touch the same thing and yet describe it differently.

Even if two people experience the same thing at the same time, the experience will still be somewhat different for each of them because it is touched by all the other experiences they have had. The differences may seem so slight as to not appear noticeable, but the differences are there. Each experience is added to all their other experiences. What came before adds shades of meaning to everything that comes after.

      You stand on the bank of a river and watch the current. Another person stands beside you. You are both looking at the same river at the same time. Yet both of you will experience the scene slightly differently, not just because o the differences in the angles from which you watch the river, but because of what has gone on in your life before this moment. You are reminded of another river, a river that brought happiness to your life. Even if the other person has happy memories of a river, they will be different from yours. Each experience is your own, no one else's. And it will be recorded in your memory, along with all the other memories that are only yours.

As their experiences add up -- and they begin adding up from birth -- every human becomes more and more a distinct individual. Situations may come along in which an individual will try not to appear different from others, but no human experiences the exact same things in the exact same way that any other human does.

      We can learn to describe things in the same way, especially as youngsters. We can be taught a view of the world, and then try to fit all things into that view. But each of us will always have a unique view.

The earth spins and moves through space and all its occupants live out their lives in their own ways. All human beings see this same world, but each sees it differently. The world, then, is defined by how each person views it. And this view comes from individual experience, which creates unique perspectives for every human: what they have done before, what they have been told, what they feel, how they feel, what they are familiar with. Because they must survive first as individuals, it is their own senses, their own individual memories that they must depend on. The world, then, is different for each of them.

Besides their outward differences,

      My eyes are this shape; yours aren't.

      My skin is this color; yours isn't.

      I am of this sex; you aren't.

And the differences in what they are taught,

      We eat this; you don't.

      We say it this way; you don't.

      We believe in this; you don't.

      We do it this way; you don't.

They also differ within themselves.

      One sister likes the taste of cheese; the other does not. One brother detests pickles; the other can't get enough of them.

      This person feels chilly. That person, standing nearby, feels warm. Same age, same build, same culture, same race.

      That one is ticklish, this one is not.

Taste buds, temperature, skin sensitivity...all can vary within each one of them.

People react to their own senses, their own basic needs. And such reactions are immediate, distinct, and undeniable because each person must respond to those inner commands -- they are part of the survival instinct. The senses, then, may work basically the same for all humans, yet respond at slightly varying levels.

For example, feeling too cool or too warm is a signal from the body's respiratory system that corrective action might be needed. And individuals have varying "temperature settings."

The person who feels chilly reacts immediately to answer the body's signal to change the condition that set off the alarm: they turn up the heat. Another person, sharing the same environment, however, does not feel chilly, but is in fact comfortable. Turning up the heat can actually cause the second person's body to send a signal of its own: it's too warm. Both individuals are reacting to their body's signals. They are both "right."

They are the same, but they're different. When they acknowledge their similarities, they understand each other's needs more clearly, and thus get along together better. When they acknowledge their differences, they have a better chance of understanding that sometimes there isn't just one right way.

      What we consider to be "natural" are those things we do not have to think about before doing them. While these things can be traits found among all human beings (like breathing, walking, sleeping), they can also be something an individual has been taught to do and that they've done for so long that they do not have a conscious awareness that it was learned. Thus, what one person might consider natural for a human to do may not be for another.

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