I want you to imagine for a moment, a world with only one kind of plant, one kind of tree, one kind of cloud, one kind of snow flake, one kind of animal, one kind of insect, one kind of rock, one kind of storm, one kind of weather pattern, one kind of bird, one kind of book, one kind of music…think about it for a minute. How would that feel?
Now think about this, what if we lived in a world with only one kind of human, one kind of thought, one kind of religion and one kind of spirituality. How does that feel to you? Better or worse?
Some time ago I did a little experiment in my garden and analysed one square foot of it. I set up a grid and counted every kind of flora and fauna I found there. The results were 6 types of grasses, 5 types of plants, 2 species of butterfly and 1 type of moth catterpillar, 4 differnt types of beetle and 1 type of ant, 3 different types of spider. That was just in 1 square foot of a back garden!
They say variety is the spice of life and it surely is. We only need to look to nature to see this variety and diversity in true action. Even our local parks and back yards hold a myriad of flora and fauna that I bet we didn’t even know was there. I was certainly surprised at what I found in doing my mini-survey.
Think about flowers. Next time you want to buy a bouquet of flowers for your loved one, or even yourself. What would if feel like to only have one choice of flower. All the florists in all the land only selling one type of flower. Pretty frustrating and boring yes?
What about the birds? If we didn’t have the variety of birds then there’d be no dawn chorus and that would be a terrible shame.
I could go on ad infinitum about the diversity and variety in Mother Nature but you know exactly what I mean.
So what about human beings? We too exist in a myriad of varieties don’t we. Of course we are all of the same species but we are so diverse it’s mind boggling. We have different coloured skin, different shades of hair (and a multitude of wonderful hair dyes too), our bodies are different sizes, some of us are women and some of us are men, some of us are women born as men and some men born as women, some like dressing up in womens clothes, we are lesbians, homosexuals, bisexuals, mothers, fathers, single people, grandfathers, grandmothers, sisters and brothers. Some of us are able-bodied and some of us aren’t, some of us have mental health issues and some don’t, some of us are teachers, farmers, IT Consultants, doctors, herbalists, artists, shop assistants, janitors, policemen and policewomen, politicians, clergy…and so forth and so on ad infinitum.
Doesn’t that make you excited? Doesn’t that make you think that diversity is a wonderful thing? So much better than the scenario I gave you at the beginning of this article.
So why does it seem like a lot of people fear diversity? At the risk of sounding like a broken record…EGO! The collective ego wants nice little boxes to put people and things in that don’t quite live up to its expectations or its beliefs. The collective ego is made up of individual ones, so it begins with us as individuals to change perception. It is possible to do this but we really have to want to embrace diversity and all that means. It means really getting to grips with our own prejudices and intolerances (and yes I have these just as anyone) and working out where they’re really coming from. Even if we cannot shake off a prejudice immediately (and really it’s never immediately anyway, the process takes time) we at least need to afford all people, and all of nature, respect no matter what shape, size, colour, package or spiritual leaning they come in… we are all still humans under the wrapping!