Origin of inequality.

Inequality is conceived in the mind. I’m not a psychologist nor a student of psychology. But, the question of where inequality originates is a recurring one. In trying to find an answer to this recurring question, it dawned on me that inequality stems from the mind, a perception of others as inferior, undeserving, and of lower status than one’s self.

There is only one equal relationship that exists – the peer relationship ie. adult to adult, child to child and so on. If one sees others as having something in common or being within a group of equal peers.

However, other unequal relationships are often at play in our interaction with others. Parent – child, teacher-student, master – servant or master-slave…

Some of these unequal relationships may change and become more equal but others, like master-servant/ slave, employer – employee persist. It may be for always. There’s a set mentality, bordering on the caste system. A slave is forever a slave even if free on paper. Discrimination sets in. Borders are established on various grounds down to skin tone.

We know this apartheid to be wrong in principle but justify our warped emotions with negative generalisations, often more untrue. At the very heart of this inclination to discriminate, dehumanise and demonise is FEAR. Fear of the other whom we don’t know nor understand. Thus, slaves are slaves forever.

It is this ideology of inequality and inculcation of ‘unequalness’ that has driven the maintenance of an unequal status quo between conqueror and conquered, victor and loser, colonisers and colonised, master and slave.

Thus, the existence of systemic discrimination, institutionalization of apartheid, racism and xenophobia. This ideology of inequality justifies the denial of the humanity of those perceived to be of lower status and intelligence.

Systemic racism and the institutionalization of discrimination whether negative or positive has become normalized in our lives. The caste system becomes cast in iron in all its forms and variations. Thus, we live with inequality inculcated into our perceptions of the world and all living in it. We become the very instrument of what we know we should oppose based on emotion, the need for self-glorification and assurance of our acceptability in society, our ego boosters. We think of this as self-love. Who doesn’t need this?

It avoids the larger picture, the reality, the truth of our existence, that we live in an unequal world community that seldom wants to admit its unequal nature but lends much lip-service to the virtues of justice and peace.

Do unto others…karma

At home and in my travels to other countries as a visitor, I do run up against unpleasant locals or permanently resident migrants who in their great ignorance practice discrimination. I believe that this is an experience shared by quite a number of foreigners who go to various places for various purposes. Racism and xenophobia are common in almost every country in the world. Most of the time we brush off these unpleasant incidences not to spoil our enjoyment of the wonders found in interesting places, or not to offend those who show genuine welcome to their native lands and pride in their customary hospitality.

The ignorant who choose to react to strangers in a prejudicial manner, are often myopic to the fact that their behavior doesn’t go unnoticed by the world at large. People talk to other people, whether by electronic means or face-to-face. Not forgetting videos on YouTube actually recording the incident. Gossip and rumours, now ‘fake news’, spread like wild fire. So, these persons who judge others on their external appearance, skin colour, ethnicity, perceived social status etc. need to be aware that their unpleasantness, prejudice, malice, racism or whatever else will be made known to the world at large. At times, they will also be pointed out to others to their detriment. If they are a business, the victims of their discrimination may inform a larger community to avoid them, so as to avoid being similarly faced with irrational, baseless, malicious discrimination.

Don’t imagine that what you do to one person, stops there. It doesn’t! Remember the warning in the Good Book, that what is done in secret will be shouted from the mountain tops. In this century, from the tops of telco towers, and telephone poles. It can’t be stopped.

Showing prejudice is like stripping in public, it doesn’t reflect on the victim of your humiliation, it reveals to the world what you are.

In the case of kindness and consideration, the giver doesn’t need to broadcast. A kind deed flows like a clean, clear, fresh spring to sooth and calm. These are also remembered and will rain blessings on those who act with love towards others. Goodness has its rewards, given a hundred fold and overflowing when the time comes. Karma will take its course.

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