image by Cesar Chavez Institute’s Family Acceptance Project and Cause Collective
You’re an interesting species. An interesting mix. You’re capable of such beautiful dreams, and such horrible nightmares. – Carl Sagan
our diversity is comprehensive
Dr. Sagan spoke of things about us so disparate it’s counter-intuitive that they are displayed by one species. From misogyny, bigotry and theft to equality, inclusion and philanthropy. How we can murder and then sacrifice ourselves for another?
therein lies the paradox
Our worst characteristic is our intolerance of the insignificant differences between us, especially when considering we are orders of magnitude more similar than we are different. Our differences are the definition of who and what we are and the reason we are so successful as a species.
In the early days of humans, the instinct of the “fear of different” played an important role in our survival. Then somewhere along the way intelligence happened, a bizarre mutation outside of “normal” evolution. It happened so quickly that instinct and intelligence haven’t had a chance to fully integrate each other. So far they just seem to keep knocking their heads together. It’s time for fear of different to be tempered by rational analysis.
an internal battle
We live in chronic turmoil of the give-and-take dance between the instincts of our base nature and our rational intelligence. Our natural instincts color our intelligence and how we use it. The opposite is also true as our intelligence colors the expression of our natural instincts. To be sure pure instincts and pure intelligence are not optimal by themselves. Rather there exists a sweet-spot intersection point, we must actively seek.
It’s a constant battle. But once we are aware of the playing field, thinking people have an innate responsibility to consider their instinctual fears and biases through their intellectual lens and work to eliminate their destructive tendencies as we embrace and actively promote our inclusive and productive tendencies.
As we implied, to say that some of our propensities are unproductive and dangerous is a gross understatement. On the larger time scale of humanity, we are close to knowing whether our nature will move us along as a species or will be our demise. Will the Fermi paradox eventually be a moot point because we survived and thrived long term? Or will we be proof that one of the Fermi paradox theories is true? That most or all intelligence in the universe necessarily self-destructs as the psychological and social skills fall short of managing the inevitable exponential march of science and technology.
but if we make it, it’ll be because of attitudes like this –
…it is about understanding each other and moving beyond
simple tolerance to embracing and celebrating the
rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual. – courageous 1999 University of Oregon students
humanNature will uncover the beautiful and the ugly in all of us.