“How true is the saying ‘we are all equal’?” My friend does not ask much question, let alone philosophize. But her question has called for a deeper soul inquiry not just for her but also for me. It has also reminded me on my mind-boggling questions about the ugliest realities perpetuated by our so-called modern society. What really makes as equal, and what is the truth about equality? Somehow, the notion of equality bears the ideals built upon humankind’s tragic histories. A concept so lofty that we are not bothered to explore except when we feel shortchanged in a grocery store, or envious of our next-door neighbor.
I told my friend that it is best to see equality in different perspectives, because all of us have a different understanding of abstract and encompassing concepts such as this one. Equality may always have its share of notions based on our existing systems of knowledge, but the fact that its much deeper essence has eclipsed by many accepted and conflicting definitions, it needs our true intuitive attention. This is where I want to begin with as I render my understanding.
As far as I remember, I learned equality as a concept often attached to anything political, which means we are equal because we are subjected to the same laws, or we can exercise the same rights, thus we must behave in accordance to them. Equality is always taught as an economic concept, that we are free and privileged to grow our own business, to make money and to buy and own whatever we want. Or equality is to conform to the accepted social norms and traditions or to follow certain beliefs to belong and be recognized as part of the society. They all give us the glimpse of equality as a concept but they remain lacking on the aspect of the soul.
In the outside world, no one is truly and completely equal to each other. But within each of us, we can find equality.
Equality, as we take it, fails as a political measure because most of our laws or policies serve the privileged few and deprive many. It fails as an economic measure if we believe we do not have enough and that we conduct our business because we fail to lose, all at the cost of the weak and powerless. It fails as a social measure if we think that being equal is to get even, or to neglect others in the guise of a belief that we have our own lives to live. These measures drive us more to compete than to cooperate, as we fail to recognize that our differences are not for us to divide but to unite.
In the outside world, no one is truly and completely equal to each other. But within each of us, we can find equality. Our biology tells us so, that even some of us were born without limbs or sight, we are all alive and equal because of the incessant beats of our hearts. We all have the human power to feel, to think, to imagine, to dream. And we all are drawn to the highest values of being human. We are not just capable of creating things, but we can all co-create the spirit of humanity in many incredible ways.
If there is one sacred perspective to understand the meaning of equality, it is to observe its truth in our hands. Look at each finger. They are all different in length, but from the palm they are all connected. They work together in unison: to hold and grab a thing, to touch and carry someone. Their appearance is not equal, but their purpose is. Until we move our perspective of equality from what is seen (the length of the fingers) to what is unseen (the abilities of the hand), we will never achieve equality in its true essence.
My friend had always thought that life is unfair until she shifted her view of equality from the superficial definitions to a much more profound one. To understand beyond the social rules and structures towards the substance of our inner purpose: we all are equal by our ability to give and receive Love. Love is the missing part of our understanding equality and it is time to bring it back. We are human beings, and we are all equal by Love’s realization, and to live out Love for the growth of each other brings equality a new and eternal meaning.