Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Illusion of Difference

Why do differences exist?
Why create separation?

This was going to be post 100, but it got bumped to 98 for particular reasons (order of posts & #100 being more important). However, this shouldn't downplay it's importance. I've been waiting to do this post for quite some time - months - and the message is very dear to me.

I remember one day in high school, my senior health teacher asked us to write down what made our personal culture unique compared to others. He drew a chart on the board to keep track of what we all wrote as we said what we came up with.

After he got all our points, he began to list all the similarities. A few of the things he came up with were,
  • We all have special foods set aside for important occasions.
  • We all have music we enjoy.
  • We all have holidays and celebrations shared with family and friends.
  • We all have clothes we wear for specific events, like weddings.
  • We all mourn the loss of loved ones and share the joy of new lives.
I'm sure he said more.

Differences muddle one's clarity and, unfortunately, the similarities become overlooked.

For instance, let's examine exercise. Exercise covers a broad variety of activities and is used for a number of reasons. The methods available at one's disposal are many, but how important is that?

The goals - regardless of the means - are typically the same. It's either get strong, have fun, or look better. Stronger doesn't mean being able to move big weights in the gym, but also better aerobic capacity, immune system, self-esteem/-confidence, bone density, use of the muscles, and so on & so forth.

Even sub-categories of exercise are cluttered with divisions and distinctions. Everyone approaches weight training with the notion that certain methods are more effective than others.

A squat is a squat no matter if there's a bar, kettlebell, dumbbell, weight vest, overhead/back/front placement, bodyweight, or sandbag.

Crossfit, plyometrics, powerlifting, circuit training, high reps, low reps, whatever. It's all done with the purpose to improve one's self. We should not limit ourselves to thinking so rigidly.

Bruce Lee exemplified this fact. I recall reading he studied fencing and boxing. His goal was to become the best and to do so, he studied other systems of combat. From what he learned, he incorporated the important lessons into his own practice. He did not seclude himself to one style. He passed on what he learned by teaching others.

Many differences can be created, but why separate ourselves from others? We create them, we separate ourselves.

But acceptance is finding things we have in common with one another.

Simply put, similarities are the ties that bind us.

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