THOUGHTS ON DIVERSITY AND THE GOLDEN RULE

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Democrats of Hemet-San Jacinto

The natural, physical world around us truly amazes me! As I observe the plants, animals and natural elements, I am struck by the diversity I see. I have yet to think of something that there is only ONE of. While some species of plants and animals have the same internal structures or organs, their outer characteristics vary dramatically. Think of the many colors and shapes of flowers, trees, cats, dogs, insects, horses, birds, fish, dolphins etc. Even water is hydrogen and oxygen and can be found in 3 different states (liquid, solid, gas). A look even further into the atom shows us 3 smaller particles–neutrons, protons and electrons–working together and coordinating their different functions.

Wow!

What does all this variety mean? To me, all nature’s variety means that diversity is the fundamental way of our world.

It’s as natural as day and night (again an example of diversity), or breathing in and out (more diversity!).

But the world’s diversity is not just the “way it is.” Diversity also seems to play an important role in the health of our living world. Studies have shown that the close familial relationships in the marriages of the European royal families is a primary cause of specific diseases, such as hemophilia.

Also, the discovery of a pride of lions that was geographically isolated from other lion prides, gave birth to very weak cubs that were not surviving at the usual rate for healthy lion prides.

But when this pride was found, people took steps to re-introduce contact with lions from other, different prides, and healthy cubs were again surviving at the usual rate.

As human beings, we are also included within the natural world’s diversity. We can see that while people throughout the world have the same internal structures and organs, there is great variety in our external appearance, size, talents and thoughts. Even the uniqueness of human fingerprints and DNA are perfect examples of how people everywhere are part of the world’s diversity.

Diversity then is part of the world that provides all of us with benefits of beauty, stimulating variety and physical health. Rather than fearing and avoiding diversity, I believe we are better off appreciating it and learning to live peacefully within the diversity around us. The question then for all humankind is, how do we live peacefully within our diverse world? For me, it begins with the understanding that people everywhere are part of the same world, and all of us have something to offer each other.

In every culture around our amazing world, I see families wanting to protect their children, as well as providing a home with food for all their loved ones. I also see people everywhere protecting nature, creating art and solving problems. So as a human race, our needs and desires seem to be very similar, yet our ways of meeting those needs and desires may vary.

Another similarity I see around me is the comfort people receive from human companionship as well as from spiritual beliefs. Throughout human history, people have felt the need to connect together in some way with a higher power. Ideas of how this connection is made differ greatly, as seen by the different religions throughout the world. Yet, a closer look at the major religions in the world reveals some wonderful similarities in the guidance and teachings they provide to their followers. For example, 13 of the major religions have their own specific wording for what I’ve grown up to know as “The Golden Rule.” The wording may be different, but the belief is the same. Here are the different ways The Golden Rule is worded in major religions around the world, as shown on The Golden Rule Poster by the Scarboro Mission:

• Baha’I Faith: Lay not on any soul a load that you would not wish to be laid upon you, and desire not for anyone the things you would not desire for yourself. (Baha’su’llah, Gleanings)

• Buddhism: Treat not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful. (The Buddha, Idama-Varga 5:18)

• Christianity: In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you, for this is the law and the prophets. (Jesus, (Matthew 7:12)

• Confucianism: One word which sums up the basis of all good conduct..loving-kindness. Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself. (Confucius, Analects 15:23)

• Hinduism: This is the sum of duty: do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you. (Mahabharata 5:1517)

• Islam: Not one of you truly believes until you wish for others what you wish for yourself. (The Prophet Muhammad, Hadith)

• Jainism: One should treat all creatures in the world as one would like to be treated. (Mahavina, Sutrakritanga)

• Judaism: What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbour. This is the whole Torah; all the rest is commentary. (Hillel, Talmud, Shabbat 31a)

• Native Spirituality: We are as much alive as we keep the earth alive. (Chief Dan George)

• Sikhism: I am a stranger to no one; and no one is a stranger to me. Indeed, I am a friend to all. (Guru Granth Sahib, page 1299)

• Taoism: Regard your neighbour’s gain as your own gain

• Unitarianism: We affirm and promote respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part. (Unitarian principle)

• Zoroastrianism: Do not do unto others whatever is injurious to yourself. (Shayast-na-Shayast 13.29)

For me, then, the answer to the question of how diverse people can live together peacefully, involves all of us remembering and living by The Golden Rule–whatever way you choose to word it. Then we can realize more clearly that people everywhere are more alike than we are different and our diversity offers us a variety of experiences to learn about and to enjoy.

By Mitzi Carver, Secretary

Democrats of Hemet-San Jacinto

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