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Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Equality is something each one of us grasps as we mature and get to the point we realise we are not the center of the universe. In that moment we understand subconsciously that we are all equal, we are all the same at some basic level. Unfortunately this realisation is often overshadowed by later conditioning and prejudice.

Equality between people is pretty much accepted as a concept these days at least in the West. It is one of our core beliefs and one of the fundamental principles that western society is built on. Democracy IS equality. But how many people truly uphold the concept of equality in every day life? Is this deep core belief really followed through?

We have parents, bosses, teachers, police. We grow up with hierarchies so we get used to them and assume this is the way things should be done. So even though we think we believe in democracy we also deeply believe in hierarchy. But it doesn't always need to be this way. Sometimes I wonder why we uphold democracy so strongly but have never found a way to use it at any but the highest level of our society. Why can't we have more equal interactions with people on a day to day basis? Why can't some organisations, institutions and companies be run democratically by all the people that are a part of them?

This is what happened in my High School. One of the schools I went to was a very alternative one, it ran as a democracy such that each person, students and teachers had equal say in how the school and classes were run. It worked well and was a awesome learning experience. It also made us feel deeply apart of the school itself as well as learning to be more responsible and how to negotiate with others. So it is certainly possible not to follow the traditional hierarchies and I think being a part of a smaller democratic system is an excellent learning experience as well as an excellent way to become more involved in an organisation or community! All these things lead to people becoming happier!

So the current systems have the opposite effect, this kind of non-equality in society has lead to people being less involved in every day events and less connected to what is happening around them. This leads to a kind of apathy and feeling of powerlessness, a lack of meaning in life and contributes to a lack of community and ultimately unhappiness.

That's why we created UnBaa to help bring people together on an equal footing and make it really easy to make fair decisions together!

Hierarchies are only one way that equality is circumvented in our society there are also two other areas equality suffers. The first and most personal is in pride ego and self confidence. Here I am talking about the wrong kinds, the kind that makes people think they are better or worse than others.

But we need to realise we all have the same potential, and we all want to be happy. So some people are born into worse situations, or make mistakes in life. But that doesn't make them lesser people. There is always someone better at whatever you think you are so special for and there are a million that are better at other things. We all have special talents and we all have immense potential to do great things if we set our minds to them.

I like the quote in the Tarver Quindon which goes something like, don't trouble yourself with jealousy because - "The race is long and in the end it's only with yourself." This beautifully highlights the futility of living to be better than others or thinking badly of yourself compared to others.

I used to think I was better than other people, more spiritual, smarter at the same time I thought I was worse than others as far as social skills and an ability to fit in. These kind of thoughts are poison, they push you away from people and people away from you. Basically when you think badly of yourself try to remember your own potential and forgive yourself for the past. One powerful way to let go of guilt is to remember we are all looking for happiness, we all try our best, our mistakes aren't intentional!

Likewise when you think poorly of someone else, when you judge them try to remember their potential, and forgive them and see how they are also trying their best to find happiness.

Thirdly we have prejudice and an attachment to an identity. Part of our identity is being part of various groups, and a common delusion amongst groups is that to belong to "Group A" somehow makes you a better person than those that belong to "Group B". It doesn't. This is natural to feel a strong affinity to your group and it is also natural to reject other groups, this is part of our genetic code. But even thinking in terms of groups isn't helpful. We are all individuals, there is no way to generalise what we are, and if you think about it deeply you can see this. Even religious groups don't hold the exact same beliefs, each person interprets their beliefs differently. So belonging to a group doesn't even mean the same thing for different people.

So it is better to avoid defining yourself and others in terms of groups but instead try and see that everyone is different and individual. Each trying to live as best they can, each trying to find happiness.

This blog took me a long time to write, a number of drafts and rewrites as it is a fundamental but tricky topic. But if we truly try to understand equality it can be the key to unlocking many false beliefs and prejudices. It can be a very powerful step towards happiness!

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