I’m worth more than you.

18 Apr

Post school shooting, it’s clearly the time (OKCupid links require free OKC account)to ask questions about how much human life is worth, and why some tragedies seem more important than others.

Is one life worth more than another? One Iraqi worth more than one American college student? The other way around? One rich male worth more than a poor one? What if the poor one is homeless and addicted to drugs but the rich one is protecting a rainforest?

I’d like to say that all human life is equal. That’s the answer that seems right. History shows, though, that humans have the ability to label and categorize (not necessarily accurately) groups of individuals to the point where it’s possible to not care about any of them. Nobody cares about a Terrorist, but that’s because a Terrorist is just a label created to categorize a group of individuals (who may or may not even exist) to simplify a reality that’s (apparently) too complex to really deal with. It’s certainly easier to just say I’m part of the vast “us” that is right, and if you’re part of the vast “them” that is wrong I don’t have to care about you than it is to actually see every single of 6-billion+ individuals on this planet as a human who is fundamentally your sibling.

To really imagine, create, and actually live in a world without race, without ethnicity… without any such false boundaries separating the complex individuals that live on this planet into little over-simplified groups, is exceedingly difficult.
In fact, so far it’s been impossible.

Do we actually have a limited ability to care? Or a “caring range” that only lets us care about strangers within a certain radius of us? Are we actually capable of developing past our seeming inability to see everyone on the planet as truly human?

We damn well better be.


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