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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Philosophy is Phun Post # 59 – Commonalities

To put it bluntly, commonalities are essentially the similarities between two or more people. It is something that we all share in common and is usually a characteristic or feature that we have. In essence, every single person on this planet shares a commonality with one another and that is that we are all human. It is a unique bond that groups us together that distinguishes us from other creatures of this earth like animals and plants. It plays a huge role in creating classifications that separates objects and beings apart from one another. This can have many different uses that I will describe in this post.
One of the main things that commonalities and similarities are useful for is to build networks. If you think about it, since the beginning of time humans have been forming networks with one another based off commonalities. All cultures are formed on the basis of some type of common value or beliefs. It is very useful because is organizes and unites people together under certain values and principles. No matter what your beliefs are, out of the almost 7 billion people on the planet, there is bound to be at least one who shares a common view and perspective as you. Religion is a great example of this. It has united people since the beginning of recorded history. Once a group of people start becoming established based off a set of commonalities, they form civilizations that feed off these principles and put them to practice.
The one problem that is associated with similarities is the fact that not everyone else shares the same values and principles that you do. This has caused many conflicts over the years as almost every war has been started because of conflicts of interest between two different groups of people. Each set of belief systems have different moral guidelines and rules that they abide by as a basis for being a member of that particular group. Because not every group is dictated by the same rules, if any rules seem to hinder another set of rules from existing and being practiced there will be problems associated with it. Whether it is beliefs on how resources to use or what God to praise, history has been riddled with such campaigns to show that one specific group is better than another or at the very least, that one group’s ideals will be carried out over another’s. World War II was started on the basis that Hitler believed that anyone who shared blonde hair and blue eyes in common were genetically superior to everyone else so that justified his belief that everyone else deserved to be wiped out and his people were entitled to world domination.
This brings me to my next point about discrimination because of differences. Since not everyone shares the same set of common beliefs, there used to be a huge resistance to diversity. Whether it was the Crusades, Jim Crow laws, or another other example you could cite from the history books, if you were different in any shape or form from the established authoritative group, you usually were in trouble. Segregation, genocides, and slavery all resulted from being different than those who were in charge and had the power. If you don’t possess a commonality with those who are in control, you were usually at the very least ostracized from their organized body and would lose any benefits associated with being a part of that group. If you weren’t the right race, religion, gender, or another other distinguishing factor, you would be severely limited on the opportunities available to you in life and most likely be stuck with a life of hardships and barriers.
Luckily, as society becomes more advanced and civilized, these distinctions that once separated are now viewed as vital. Society is placing a bigger importance on the commonality that I mentioned in the beginning, we are all humans and all deserve to be treated as such. Diversity is now advertised at all colleges and it is something that administrators strive to achieve and maintain. We have realized that despite our commonalities, it is through our differences that we gain strength. Everyone has a different perspective and story to share that provides vital insight to our knowledge of the universe. The spread of silk from Asia gave rise to better forms of clothing and the proliferation of the internet has only connected us even more. I personally would hate to live in a society where everyone was just like me. It is really eye opening and reveals new ways of looking at life that can provide me with valuable acumen that I can directly apply to my life. Each individual is unique in their own way and through that we all share a common bond. Crazy huh?

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