No matter where you look these days diversity is ever present. I think of diversity as being synonymous with differences. I used to think that you needed another person as part of your experience for diversity to play out, such as a relationship, collaboration, or a team sporting activity. But more recently I am finding more points-of-view in my own thinking. Me, myself, and I are not agreeing so easily on everything as we used to.
In fact I thought disagreeing within your self was schizophrenia rather than diversity. But what I am beginning to believe is that it is the start to seeing the world through someone else’s eyes. This insight is the first step to understanding others or empathy–to be and see the world through someone else’s experience. When I have this experience with someone I am having conflict with what I experience is fear. And fear triggers survival behaviors; fight or flight or both, depending on the situation.
Right now I am in the process of writing a co-authored book with one of my best friends. I respect him and I love him as a person. We are significantly different in race, background, age, life experiences, religion, and many other dimensions of diversity. Yet I find it easy to listen to him and his differing views on relationships, the war, religion, the strong issues involving race and sex in the U.S. In fact, I always come away transformed in my own thinking by his non-threatening way of communicating.
I find I am more influenced by him than all the news media–paper or cyberspace–around. Over time, I’ve sought out people in my life who are significantly different in their thinking than I am without feeling threatened. I have concluded that my reality is not only not right, but is in constant transformation–as is life.
However, what I have also noticed is that we have a spiritual commonality. We are spiritual beings having a human experience–the ultimate source of conflict is nonalignment of this principle with human belief and behavioral systems. We are all interconnected–what happens to you will eventuality happen to me. We are one undivided family–the illusion of separateness creates ethnocentric conflict which breeds the apparent necessity for superior/inferior, right thinking/wrong thinking, best way/worse way, and the endless dichotomies the rule our thinking.
As I have stated previously, diversity is the most important phenomenon of the 21st century. Our willingness (not ability) to embrace it and make a reality will determine our fate on this planet we call Earth.