After finishing this post, I realized I have a bit more to say on the importance of standing out, and the importance of creating and maintaing diversity in our daily lives. I believe I have made my position clear on the value of accentuating your individuality, but I am not sure if I made clear how important diversity is to an effective Living Revolution.
Using the natural world as an example, we see that diversity provides animals, plants, and other organisms the most possible options for success. We also see that because of diversity, a variety of different species can coexist symbiotically in a fairly small area as each fills a specific niche within a given ecosystem. Healthy, vibrant ecosystems function most effectively when diversity is maintained through the processes of natural selection, evolution, and adaptation.
On the other end of the spectrum, we have monoculture. Here, the environment has been simplified and reduced to the lowest common denominator. Often, agribusinesses are based on the monoculture model which require massive amounts of fertilizers, insecticides, pesticides, and herbicides to maintain uniformity of the crop. This is not a natural environment and cannot exist without constant human intervention.
These images symbolize only a fraction of the destructive reality of monoculture, and it is easy to recognize that the process of creating a monoculture is not the most effective may to interact with the world around us. While a monoculture may yield an amazing amount of wheat or soybeans in the short term, the process is not sustainable in any sense of the word, and eventually the land base will be reduced to a desert wasteland.
Agribusiness offers a terrible example of what a monoculture can produce, but this is not the most important example. This process is often applied to societies by governments, in an effort to make people easier to control. Fear of, and hate for, “the other” are often used to establish a foundation in favor of reducing diversity, and once differences (however arbitrary), are established, the majority is easily led to believe a false reality. It has happened many times, all over the world, with disastrous results.
It must be so confusing to be a racist and bigot. All around us are examples of how diversity, individuality, and heterogeneity make the world a healthier, more vibrant, more interesting place to live. Especially in America, the mixing pot of the world’s races, ethnicities, and nationalities, it seems almost impossible to be convinced that one kind of person is better than another, or that one small, special group of people would fare better if everyone else were not around. Racism, and prejudice in general, are belief systems that exist despite millions of years worth of evidence to the contrary. These beliefs go against logic, they go against reason, they go against science. As a species, we thrive on difference. As individuals, we need difference to define ourselves and recognize what makes us unique.
You might be wondering what all this has to do with the Living Revolution. So, I will tell you.
If we are going to achieve any lasting change, if the Living Revolution is going to be effective, we need to recognize the barriers that have been erected in our hearts and minds, as well as the physical barriers we have built in so many different places, and we need to begin working to dismantle those barriers. In the activist community, and in the world at large, we waste so much time evaluating our differences and determining how these differences prevent us from forming symbiotic relationships. We focus on the negative aspects of our differences and convince ourselves there are distinct groups with labels like “us” and “them”. From this mindset, there is a bigger picture that we are missing. If we all want change, and we are all willing to work toward positive change, then why does it matter if you want to get rid of car culture and I want lower taxes for the middle class? If we both aren’t satisfied with how things are now, and we want to create a different world, what does it matter if you want universal health care and I want to get rid of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations? The reality is all these things are connected, so why wouldn’t we all work together to achieve change? An united community all striving for change together is the only scenario that makes sense. For that to happen, we need to recognize our similarities and begin to focus on what brings us all together. Sweet Diversity!!
Until next time…