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.