We all Say we Want it, but What is Equality?

by Doug Valentine, Peebles, Scotland

I was talking with a friend the other day and we began to talk about equality. His initial position was there is no point in talking about equality as he wasn’t sure exactly what it was, and was convinced no-one else knew, either. He made the valid point that if you asked everybody what equality was, you would get as many answers as the number of people you asked. He added that during his period working in teaching there had been a big push for equality, which in this instance meant that all children should be treated the same, regardless of their abilities or their needs. This led to a situation where the brighter students were held back, which made them bored and frustrated. Meanwhile, the less able students were taken along at a pace that they couldn’t cope with, so lost even more confidence or gave up completely.

My friend had proven his point very decisively, there is no agreed definition of equality, and each person has their own interpretation. Of course we have dictionaries, but they tend to be slightly vague and open to many interpretations as well.

The truth is it seems that we have lost the original meaning of words – not just of equality. It might be a sensible approach for us to give it up as lost and accept that whenever two people communicate they will always re-interpret what the other person is saying. Therefore there will never be any true communication; it is always going to be re-interpreted to mean something different from what was said. After all, that is what we have been doing for aeons.

But can we truthfully say it has ever worked for us?

Have we, as a species, progressed in anyway whatsoever?

Are there any less wars now than in the past?

Do we care for each other any better than in the past?

Or is mankind as loveless now as we have ever been?

So, perhaps getting to the truth of the meaning of words, and especially to the truth of the word ‘equality’, is something well worthy of consideration.

Looking to my own particular experience, because of my father working abroad I missed 4 years of school from age 6 to 10 – this left me with three terms to prepare for the 11 plus exam, which in those days streamed the passers to grammar schools. These prepared pupils for university while the failures went to secondary modern schools, which prepared pupils for a trade of some sort. There were over 40 in my class; around 4 passed and the rest of us failed. Yes, I failed, and my parents felt that they had no option but to move me across into private education. The entrance into public (public schools are private schools in England) schools was at age 13 so I had two years to get prepared for the entrance examinations. By having extra tuition after school several days a week, I somehow managed to scrape through the entrance exam at 13…and when I say scrape I am not exaggerating, they put me in the bottom class of the bottom year. All my friends went straight into classes a year ahead of me.

Whilst I now view the four year absence of schooling as a key part of my development as it helped me to learn to think for myself and establish my independence at an early age, returning to the school environment triggered a complete loss of confidence in me. It is not as if I had much confidence before this occurred – so my sense of self-worth was very low.  It took me around five years to slowly but surely undo this. I went to a school where there were many privileged students from wealthy families who appeared to consider that they were better than others because of it. I learned what arrogance was, and I didn’t like it.

The school I went to had a tradition going back 100 years,called fagging. What this meant was that the students new to the school were forced to act as a servant doing general chores for the whole community – such as being responsible for the milk crate or keeping the library tidy etc. More significantly, each fag would have one particular senior student, their fag master, for whom they would have to act as a personal servant, doing anything that was asked of them: many of the seniors were really nasty to their fags and cruelty was often witnessed. If there was any insubordination the older boy had the right to beat (i.e. corporal punishment using a cane) the fag, and frequently did. This all felt very wrong to me – it gave one person power over another but didn’t demand any integrity or responsibility from the senior boy. It was saying “the world isn’t equal, feel what it is like to be at the bottom of the pile, then when you are older you will get to feel what it is like to have power over others – and see which you prefer”. When I was at the top of the school five years later my peers and I abolished fagging.

The thing that helped me most to address my low self-worth was being good at any game that had a ball involved with it. So whilst I had got used to being looked down upon from an academic standpoint, it came as a welcome surprise to be looked up to for my sporting ability and leadership. The other thing that helped me at this time, whenever I felt the lack of self-worth knocking at the door, was to tell myself that I was just as good as anyone else. What I was telling myself was that I was equal to everyone else, which a part of me knew to be true.

So is there a way we can pinpoint where the word equality originally came from? Maybe if we can find where the word originated, we can put out a definition we can all agree upon? One concept that I have heard from differing religions, is that of one God, with all its followers being his children, and he loving them all equally. Common sense would indicate that all his children means all of mankind, not just the followers of one religion. So if God loves us all equally – ­what does equally mean? Maybe by pondering on this we might come to a definition of equality that we could all agree on. After all, if we are all God’s children, then we are all each other’s brothers and sisters, so agreement would be a good thing because we all know that disharmony within a family harms all.

For me it feels a truth that God loving us all equally means that he never favours one of his children over another. It follows that never is any one child more than any other, and never is any one child less than any other.

If it were possible to agree to a definition, it certainly doesn’t mean we all have to have the same skills and abilities. We need different skills and abilities; we need quantum physicists and we need rubbish collectors. We need doctors, we need cleaners and of course they may earn different wages depending upon the market they have chosen to work in, but they are always equal.

For me, every single one of us is equal; all we need to do is claim it.

Thank you to Serge Benhayon and all at Universal Medicine for helping me see simplicity and clarity out of the complexity and confusion.

286 thoughts on “We all Say we Want it, but What is Equality?

  1. I feel that we use the word equality a lot and it sounds good and fair but the reality is that in our communities equality is rarely seen. We are all equal in the eyes of God and we need to feel, explore and live this more deeply.

  2. If we truly understood equality and lived accordingly, this world would look and function very differently as we would appreciate the role everybody plays and the unique quality each of us contributes.

  3. We have lost truth in words Doug because we have lost the connection to the depth of our essence and the inherent wisdom this gives us access to. Without that, many, many words become devoid of their true lived meaning (because we stop living it), such as religion, God, love, harmony… to name a few, and what’s worse, we substitute a new meaning that fits with our lesser-lived state, convincing ourselves that that is the true meaning. ‘Love’ is a classic example of exactly that.

  4. I was just reading your opening paragraph about teaching children in one class at different stages of learning and how they all got held back. It got me pondering how often Serge Benhayon presents to hundreds of people in one room all at different stages of development and experience but every single person gets exactly what they need and most people have the feeling Serge is speaking directly to them. This points to a whole other way to present, teach, connect and be with each other. A way that holds everyone in absolute equalness.

  5. “Every single one of us is equal; all we need to do is claim it” – this really stood out for me. It feels very important. We may look at the way things are and see inequality – which is very real, and blame the system – but I can also feel how I have contributed to that way of experience by largely placing myself as better/worse/superior/inferior/more/less than the others, and not really fully embraced being an equal son of God myself.

  6. Our equality is in who we are. So often it gets linked in with what we do. I recently had a conversation with a child about another child at school who said he was better than his older brother. The older brother said he was better that the younger brother. So here were 2 kids who both thought they were better than the other. I asked the child I was speaking with what he thought and if someone could be better than another. He said, “Well, one could be better than the other at something they do”. It was spot on. I am fantastic with administration but not so with engineering for example. But when it comes to who I am, there is no comparison and in that we are all equal.

  7. Just how ingrained and embedded are these ideas of individuality, difference and race? Just how many ways have we found to tell each other apart, to box, to cut, to separate? As you show Doug conceptually this seems to be real. But when we let all this stuff go and simply feel from our inner heart we can find a warmth and Love that is there with everyone. Way beyond the skin tone, shape and size we are one and the same, equal sons of God.

  8. “For me, every single one of us is equal; all we need to do is claim it.” Yes we may all have different qualities and abilities which are different from one another but in essence and from the core of each and every one of us is the shining light of divinity that equalises us all.

  9. I have really started to feel this idea that we are all equal. Up until recently, I was convinced that I saw everybody as equal, regardless of gender, age, or race. However, what I hadn’t admitted to myself is that I still give people a status and either look up to them, or down on them. What I am realising now is that regardless of what an individual does, looks like, thinks, etc. they still remain the same as me, and regardless of what I do, think, or look like, I am also equal to everybody else.

    1. Great realisation Viktoria. The more aware we become the more we can see the beliefs or ideals we have taken on and gradually let go of them. As we live this others get to feel it and have a choice to become more aware and act on this awareness or not. Whatever they choose to do we are still equal in essence.

  10. Well said Doug Valentine. When I think about equality, I can come up with very many reasons why it is not so. But when I feel equalness in my heart, I know it is true, that we are all the same beneath our external appearances and that once we know this, it is natural to feel love for our fellow man.

  11. The question of ‘treating everyone the same’ often comes up in my work in Social Care, where we are encouraged to treat our ‘service-users’ as individuals rather than ‘the same’. Treating everyone the same is not quite the same as treating people as equals. Even as equal brothers and sisters we can still bring something different to the table – and we do. Hence, we can still respect the different gifts we all bring, whilst honouring the deep awareness that we are all inherently equal.

  12. Yes, the esoteric teaches that we are all equal in essence. But the truth about human life is that we are not equal. So how do you make sense of the two? Well, first, what one has to honour is that all are equal in essence, and in looking at humanity, that is always the beginning point from which we should look to read and understand life. Without that understanding, we are at risk of falling prey to the forces of judgement and separation that then contaminate our world view of things.

  13. Inequality is so tradtional, rampant and ingrained in our society it can be easy to miss. Perhaps mostly because we tend to think of it as though we are in class, with the teacher taken out. Equality to me, is a deep understanding of oneness, that underneath the haircuts, clothes and accents each of us is connected and part of a brotherhood of love. In this place, there is no need for higher or lower, right or wrong. So when the world asks us to segregate and judge, its something easy for us to see above.

  14. Your description of equality reminds me how simple things become when we connect and allow ourselves to feel the truth.

  15. We are all equal but very few of us live this in every part of our lives, we tend to treat people differently depending on our hurts and how guarded we are, rather than staying open to everyone. When we come from truth, a truth that is felt in the body and resonates with us we will begin to know what true equality is. What we have not yet accepted that there is a universal truth that supports us all equally.

  16. I love the fact that you abolished fagging when you got to the top of the school. You had an innate sense of what was true and what was unjust that you acted upon to change this situation. We need more people like you.

  17. Yes, in truth we are all equal, and it is a good basis from which to view life. However, only so long as it does not stop one from realising their true potential. For the truth is we are all only equal in essence, and only if we are all expressing from that essence. And when you have a world that is not living from that essence, there can be a danger that one reduces themselves to the lowest common denominator in order to achieve equality, if it is held as a spiritual ideal. This is important, for often we accept things that we should not and end up diminishing or compromising ourselves under the guise of ensuring that all are equal, when in truth all we are really doing in such a case is ensuring all are equally less than who they truly are.

  18. We are equally affected by every law of the universe. To question our equality is as absurd as questioning whether or not we are all affected by gravity.

  19. I heard the word “fag” being used a lot when I was growing up but never understood where it was originating from. It was just a term of discrimination in my childhood and not in anyway associated directly with its original meaning but this does not mean the energy of how it is and has been used is any different. It is still just as discriminating even today and it highlights how important the awareness of which words we use and what we are really communicating crucially is.

  20. ‘When I was at the top of the school five years later my peers and I abolished fagging’. Go you and your friends for doing that Doug. What a dreadful ritual that was passed on from one year to another based on a mentality that makes not sense at all – for when someone is considered and treated less from the hand of another and know how horrid it feels, when given the opportunity, why would they do exactly that to another?

  21. Yes it is impossible to really talk about equality unless there is a common ground agreement on what it refers to. Without a unified baseline of what it is, we will never be able to explore it with any real value let alone reach it as a humanity.

  22. Equality is very difficult to define. The only thing I would say is its a knowing that we are all one on the inside therefore we cannot be less on the outside.

  23. One idea about equality that I have found myself stuck in is the one about us all getting the same….but because things are tricky in the world, this can get twisted as if we need to go for a low denominator….it is not true. Our equality is based on an innate quality, not what we have or do and in that sense we are all the same, but we are living different lives, with different situations….it is, however, possible to treat someone with a broken down 20 year old Ford Fiesta the same as you would someone with a brand new BMW; why do we treat one as less and one as more….this is an issue. We are born the same in essence, this is something that is lost to many of us as we grow, it, however, remains a truth that if we do not live it as a truth and, constantly ignore it this causes major issues on our planet. Beginning to meet everyone as your brother and all the inequity of things, and stuff will leave humanity with ease.

  24. I love what you are exploring here Doug. I had a little search of my own and discovered that the word ‘equality’ comes from the Latin word ‘aequus’ meaning even, level, equal. To me this comes from the absolute knowing that we are all equal in the eyes of God as we are each a fiery spark of this one eternal flame – this flame being love. The issue is, we stepped away from this love (withdrew our expression of it) and in this separation have carved a life for ourselves whereby we pitch ourselves against each other either by playing ‘less’ (the victim) or ‘more’ (the supremacist) and thus spend vast amounts of time over countless lives caught in the endless oscillation between these two ends of the one spectrum so that we do not stop and feel the absolute truth of the Oneness we in essence are.

  25. Without equalness, true brotherhood is simply not possible. We cannot hold another lesser or greater for in that we have lost true connection, and hence we have sabotaged all that we could otherwise bring forth together.

  26. This is something I’ve been pondering on a great deal lately Doug… Thing is, so many of us cry out against the very real, stark and abusive outplay of inequalities in our world today. And yet, how many truly bring themselves to the plate so to speak, IN equalness themselves?
    It seems we would rather complain about where we are unjustly served, rather than actually bring our all and in doing so be a part of the much needed process of dismantling anything that would hold or have us less in the first place.

  27. It’s a conundrum in a way, that in and by virtue of the essence of God that lives within every one of us, we are actually all equal – yet in the outplay of life this appears anything but so!
    What is important to acknowledge here, is that in our process of reclaiming all that we truly are – the grandness of our true essence, lived in and through our human expression – that we do and will see those who have reclaimed more of themselves. ‘Funny’ how oftentimes it is these people, leading the way so to speak, that become targets of attack, lies and similar such horrendous expressions of jealousy… It is these people who may even be misinterpreted as promoting INequality…
    When those who have so reclaimed who they are know to the bone, the truth of our actual equalness and that it is by virtue of bringing and living their all, that all may arise to the lived expression of the same.

  28. The word equality may mean to some that we are all exactly the same and that the expression of one person should not be greater than another in that if some are really smart and others no so then where is the equality in that? But this is not true as we all have different expressions from our essence as we all express and express love to the world, life and God in different ways. It is important that we have an understanding that equality is at our being level and not necessarily in our expression. It is natural to have differences in our levels of love we express as we are All learning from each other how to express more of the love we feel within.

  29. Many see equality as equal rights, yet true equality for me is when people live in brotherhood, treating each other with respect, with no judgment and no segregation.

  30. To be equal (we are all divine beings) and based on that, to relate to others equally rings true. Yet, equality is a different story. Equality is a desired outcome. It is an aspiration. Moreover, it is an aspiration that accepts a reduced version of us and of our potential.

  31. Interestingly I woke up this morning pondering on equality. I realised how I have made myself less and looked up to others but also had feelings of being better than another. I also realised that I have put others on a pedestal because of what they were doing and when I would eventually find out that they were not living up to my expectation I had placed on them I felt a disappointment and sadness. The disappointment and sadness was nothing to do with another but to do with me and my lack of taking responsibility for my sense of self worth and feeling equal to another.

  32. In essence we are all equal. This is a quality that is within us and cannot be judged by our external appearances or achievements. Equality is not given to us by anyone. It is what we already are from the beginning. Therefore in any circumstance where we do not feel or see equality expressed, the question for ourselves is have we consistently lived and claimed equality in our lives? Equality is a responsibility and it is also a reflection.

  33. Our biggest strength is in unity. I love how you make the point that equality does not mean we are all the same, the differences in our brethren is what makes this world flow.

  34. We are all God’s children equal in our essence, but we are unique in the way we express that divine spark of love, the only standard to live by is from our love and that is what we are all made of, it is the separation to this love that creates all the problems we see in the world.

  35. Equality is a great word to illustrate how we operate in this word with language. Here is a word (equality) none of us has an equal understanding of. Are there many true understandings of it? Or just one?

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