I am The Other. And so are you.
These are scary and painful times. Enemy culture abounds. Gaza vs. Israel, Russian separatists vs. Ukraine, Democrats vs Republicans, divorcing parents, competing companies, development vs. environment. We can all add to the list of conflict and aggression.
Lots of Other-ing…
The paradigm of us vs. them gets us nowhere but backwards. For proof, just consider what’s happening in our communities at home and around the world, or look at our Congress and current political system.
As long as we keep separating ourselves from one another by sticking with the good guy-bad guy, over-simplified story line, we do not see the total picture. We can't see that we are all a part of a sick and decaying society that also can and does produce growth, play, peace and innovation. As the saying goes, united we stand and divided we fall. Separating ourselves from our fellow humans will ensure our fall. We do not want to face that we are, in fact, all doing life together. We don’t see that there really aren’t us vs. them.
Not enough we are in this together: it’s all us…
Given that we do have different views, we have hurt, killed, and betrayed each other, what do we do? We take some sort of comfort in demonizing and dehumanizing others with whom we do not agree, or have hurt us, as well as those whom we have hurt. How do we heal, change, and move forward? How do we take a shot at something other than extinction?
What if we spoke to one another as a “we”, an “us” instead of the more common me-you / us-them?What if we discuss and take action on issues we face today from the vantage point that we are all The Other? I am someone's Other and so are you. We are all Others. Given that, we can think and act differently. We are all humans in this life together. With this perspective, the debated issues albeit still important, take the passenger seat, or even the back seat. What is now driving the car is the very existence of us, the we.
So try saying "we" and "us," and not "you" and "them" for a while, and see if it can take us to a new place together. Hopefully, a place filled with love, peace, compassion and justice. This can only happen when we see that, in fact, we are all in this together.