A Word About Different

The post was scheduled for Tuesday, 01Dec2020.  However, due to the winter storm and a prolonged power outage we present it now.


Although human beings have much in common, we are not identical.  Which means that in one way or another there is something unique about each of us.  Within us is some aspect or element which no other person has; which makes us novel.  We can see this when we look at the wide range of human traits, talents and abilities among us.  There are characteristics within each of us which are distinct to us alone.  This also means each of us has something, as part of ourselves, that others don’t.  Whether we measure the difference by substance, quality or quantity.

We often focus on our differences, regardless of their significance.   In part, it seems, because there are differences.  And we view things which are different with suspicion.  Because they are not what we expect.  Or not what we’re used to dealing with.  Or not something that we understand.  In each case, to be different carries the possibility of unknown danger.  Plus, interacting with something different requires we consider things we normally wouldn’t.  Then we entertain thoughts, manage conditions, and address barriers we don’t normally face.   Yet the word different alone holds no inherent bias or agenda.  It just means not the same.  Anything else is a judgment we make.

More than that, different is necessary.  It requires different elements of the periodic table to make a water molecule.  Or a cube of sugar.  Or a ten year old child.  Difference, also known as diversity, makes combinations possible.  It allows new things to occur.  When there is more diversity there are also more possibilities for things to exist.  In both kind and amount.  Things generated by each of us with our own characteristics and insights.  The fact we are different lets us do many more things than if we were all the same.  The fact we think differently lets us conceive many more ideas than if we all thought the same.   Which can work to our collective advantage; if we let it.

However when we dismiss someone, ‘out of hand’, because they are different; we deny ourselves a chance to gain insight from another perspective.  When we use difference as the reason to silence other voices we miss the chance to learn what they know.  As well as close the door on opportunities we might otherwise want to enjoy.  Or strategies we might prefer to employ, if we knew they existed.  Such predisposed bias is limiting and destructive.  For it limits our options and potential; and creates a “blind spot” in our perspective.  Which can be  destructive to the community at large; when we try to suppress different points of view.

It is also a futile pastime.  For although we are all different, we are each still variations on a theme.  A theme which is directed by DNA and sculpted by time.   So as people we are an embodiment of life force; with its’ prime directive to survive.  At the same, we are mortal beings; who are also driven to honor that commandment by having children.  Thus we have a vested interest in our own survival.  Yet we are committed to making sure that others survive too.  Another way DNA protects itself is through genetic diversity.  Investing itself into more than one kind of life.  Which means it relies on difference as well.  So perhaps we should not fear what is different; but understand it instead.

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Respectfully Yours,

J. A. Stubbs, Editor-In-Chief

Forgotten Lore Publishing, llc