(Friday Filosophy 10/14/22)
Welcome back to another edition of “Friday Filosophy” – where each week I share a question, topic, or idea you may want to think about. Today that topic is Namaste.
I interpret Namaste as “the divinity in me recognizes the divinity in you.” You certainly don’t have to be Hindu to appreciate what a beautiful and harmonious philosophy this can be to live by. But we don’t seem to be doing a very good job of that in today’s world. The hate, demonization, and fear mongering we’re experiencing now just keeps getting ratcheted up to higher and higher degrees. This is demonstrated in glaring fashion on social media. The anonymity of not having to look someone in the face causes people to say and act in ways they never would in person. If people decided tomorrow to behave in real life the same way they do on social media, it would be an extinction level event. But social media is not the cause, it’s merely a symptom. And the next step in the de-evolution of society, as we separate further from our humanity and divine nature.
The reason the haters on social media can attack others is because they dehumanize them. They view them as enemies, and as such, simply avatars for the “other side,” not as human beings.
When Donald Trump categorized asylum seekers and refugees as murderers and rapists, it could only resonate with his cult-like followers if they dehumanized that group of people. Had they actually met let’s say a mother from El Salvador seeking refuge for her and her child, they would not have been able to dial into the hate Trump was trying to create. Likewise, when Governor Ron DeSantis literally sends planes to import asylum seekers from Texas to Florida, so he can then fly them to Martha’s Vineyard for publicity and fund raising – it reduces those humans to campaign props, robbing them of their dignity. It’s disgraceful, immoral, and despicable behavior. When Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren demonize billionaires and question their right to exist, they can only do so by seeing them as though they are aliens from another world, or somehow beneath the dignity of other humans. When they act this way, they’re demonstrating the same vile behavior the Republicans are.
By the way, you can argue that our immigration laws are fucked up, the border is being overrun, the Biden Admin policies are making the situation worse, and all those things are true. You can argue that there is great injustice in income equality, and many wealthy individuals exploit those less fortunate than them, and all those things are true. But if you use either argument as validation for dehumanizing other people and denying their self-worth – you’ve allowed your heart to harden, as your own humanity leaks from your body. Personally, I feel the behavior against the refugees is more appalling because they’re much more vulnerable. But neither argument should be acceptable to anyone with compassion and respect for the dignity of others.
I’m certainly not immune to these forces. I have to work to stay centered every day, to fight the computer algorithms, polarization, and visceral hate. It’s always good to remind ourselves to be less judgmental, and more kind.
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