Let’s first consider some baseline questions relating to otherness:
Do you ever find yourself thinking about “others”? Are there certain features that differentiate them from you and those similar to your self? How many types of “others” are there for you? and how do you keep count? Can somebody who you once considered an “other” become “like” you?
What is it about our obsession with the “others”? Why must we always cultivate clear cutting lines between who we are in contrast to those who are different from us?
Identity and Otherness
Identity is a fragile thing, and the more one seeks to identify with concrete values, unchangeability and a limited outlook towards life, the more distinct one feels. Then one aims to find people who have similar distinctions in hopes of belonging to a bigger group. This is natural as we are social creatures, what is unnatural however is our need to profess hierarchy and change in value based on differences.
Humanity has existed on the edge of its own demise for centuries. Communities grow and become self aware, yet they develop a sense of superiority for certain reasons, or inferiority complexes for other reasons. Said community then chooses between isolation or expansion, simply due to the understanding that the others are unlike us, and we must either stay away from them or convert them.
However this is not about communities as a whole this is about you and me. Surely, we can identify ourselves, you know who you are as clearly as I know who I am. Can you know who I am however without feeding into that with some of your opinions, judgements and perceptions? Can you determine my value as a whole as a human being, can I determine yours? The only way we get to do so is by naming ourselves better judges; we choose that due to the power vested in us by authority “x”, we can label the other as something else or something similar.
Do you see the craziness and extreme bias in that?
That is where spirituality comes in.
That is where we get to take a step back from every bit of conditioning and try to see someone for all they are, regardless how we feel about them. That is looking through the eye of love, through the eye of equality and nothingness. Zooming out of your body, out of your house, out of your city, out of your country and continent, zoom away from the vast oceans and the open waters, rise above the clouds and over the outermost layers of the stratosphere and through the mesosphere, leave earth and look at the planets; who are you then?
We all work out intricate images for ourselves, ones that sustain us and help us integrate in communities that accept us, we try to make amends with the traits in us we dislike and the fears and biases; and we come out looking quite similar to everyone else. We emerge looking as human as possible, our equalizers get shuffled differently, and that becomes all we can see.
Happiness becomes difficult, and our sense of value seems like an opinion that can shift at any moment with the shifting weather and the moods of those surrounding us. Do you see the grief in that?
Realize your value not in contrast to others but in its own existence; there is nothing to prove, and a choice always presents itself in the bleakest moments; as you are being asked are you one of them or one of us?
You hover over the desolate question and you smile because you are one, that is all you need to know.