Shortly after I got my celiac diagnosis, I wanted to form a community somewhere in the US where the entire town banned gluten. Just no gluten at all. No wheat or beer or barley or rye. All of the restaurants would only serve gluten free food, and they would all have gluten free take out. The supermarkets would only have gluten free food. Everyone that you worked around would only be gluten free. It would be a paradise.
There’s a problem with that, though. That’s not how the world works, and you can’t make it work that way. We can’t separate ourselves from all of the people who aren’t like us, that just doesn’t make sense. Sure, we’re be safe in our own little holes surrounded by people who ate the same as us, but the rest of the world is still out there.
Just because you can’t see something or hear something, doesn’t make it not exist. Life doesn’t work like ostriches, you can’t bury your head in the sand and hope that the rest of the world just ignores you. You’re big, fluffy butt is still out there, everyone can see it and they’re just looking at you like. “WTW? Why do you have your head in the ground. I totally can still see you.” There is no real way to hide from anything in this world, because you’re still a part of it. Others will look at you, look at a whole group of you, and try to figure out what is wrong with you.
When you surround yourself with only people who think or live the same way as you, close your ears to the rest and sing “la la la I can’t hear you”, you can’t tell when your life stinks. Tim Gunn has a saying, “When you first enter into the monkey house, you think, ‘Oh my god this place stinks!’ And then after you’re there for 20 minutes you think, ‘it’s not so bad’ and after you’re there for an hour it doesn’t smell at all. And anyone entering the monkey house freshly thinks, ‘this stinks!’” Living with your fingers in your ears or your head underground is just like living in the monkey house. You have no challenge. No strife. Nothing that will improve your mind or change your world.
This is how we get extremists. This is how we get terrorists. This is own incidents like the one in Orlando this weekend happen. We get so mired in our own beliefs and thoughts that we forget that there are other view points in the world. And somehow those people who are “the other” stop being people. They are nothing more than representations of everything wrong in the world, and when people stop being people to you is when the trouble starts. You will have no qualm with killing an alien or a zombie, they’re not people anymore. The same goes with an entire nightclub of people who happen to have been born with the genetic predisposition to be different from you. They aren’t people anymore.
Surrounding yourself with people who agree with you all of the time is how you become Donald Trump. It’s a delusion, a happy pretty sparkly world where everyone thinks like you. You get so lost in your own stink that you don’t realize that you’ve turned an entire race or religion or any other group into something sub-human. You live in a magical realm where no one eats gluten within 30 yards of you and there’s no traffic and everyone has a pony. And everyone things exactly like you forever and ever. We turn it what we know into a safe space, and everything else in the world is dangerous. Again, that’s not how the world works.
The world works with everyone together sharing idea and love. It works on strife and having your beliefs challenged. It works on realizing that the people you despise have children and parents and plans and dreams too. It works when you realize that there is no one out there that is wanting to hurt you, and forgiving them if they do without you realizing it. It works when we think about how our actions and decisions will effect other people, and apologizing if we hurt them. It works when you realize that not everyone is going to be like you. And then respecting all that.
Everyone has their burden. Everyone has their problems. What makes us good humans is empathizing with those problems, sharing those burdens, and helping each other out.
Personally, I like to think that I’m a good human. So I’ll live in this world with everyone else. I’ll share my burdens and help support others. I’ll listen to problems and realize that mine might not be all so bad. And I’ll live side by side with those who might cause me pain because that is what is means to be a human being.