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Monday, June 20, 2005

Mirror, mirror on the wall

Ever catch yourself doing or being that which you preach against? Part of it is the way we grow up, part of it is what (or what not) we are taught, but mostly it is the way we think.

It is easy to come out and say you are not a racist or even that you believe in freedom of expression. It is easy to forget about colour, religion or ethnicity. You can look past all that.

These are the issues that are easy to identify and even teach a child. None of these are inherent by nature. However, it is a lot harder to look past the person eating and spitting half his food in your face, the person that talks weird, walks funny or even the person who seems that he/she does not know all that much about the subject you love. It is a lot harder to reach out to every person regardless of the fact that you have nothing in common. It takes a lot of effort to be nice to everyone. I can hardly believe myself saying this but being nice, honestly and sincerely, is extremely hard and I can't say that I know more than one or two people that are like this. Or at least seem to be like this.

To be more specific... Anytime we use the words "me" and "them" - "I am like this, they are like that" - we are playing the game. The game that can lead you down a chain of thoughts so disastrous that you end up in a cycle of criticism and cynicism. You set yourself apart from the rest - be that politically, ideologically, religiously, or even when mannerisms, eating habits, educational or societal status are concerned. Every little grouping you can make, any labeling must dissapear even for the simplest of issues.

A method of dilluting this notion of separatedness is to see each person as a mirror. Look at them as if you are talking to yourself, as if that person is a subset of your matter, your thoughts, your anxieties. As if they worry, eat, drink, fall in love, get scared just like you do. After all, is it not true? See yourself in others and the words: "I", "me", "them", "they" dissapear...

The effect is that you will not think before you talk - "What will they think if I say this?", "Is this acceptable here?", "Will she think this or that?", "Will she reject me?", "Will they laugh?". Nothing will matter once you see yourself in "others"... Talk, behave, discuss, live like each person is you.

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