GRE Issue Essay 138
“People have been so encouraged by society to focus on apparent differences that they fail to see meaningful similarities among ideas, individuals, and groups.”
A society is formed of people. There are many similarities as well as differences found amongst the people of a society according to which people have made self-created distinctions. Those with similarities form a group amongst themselves and consider themselves different from the rest of the society. In the process of finding the existing differences, these man-made distinctions become so large that they surpass all other things that keep us binding to each other. I agree with the given statement that the society created by man makes him focus largely on the differences amongst people, which eventually make them unable to see the basic similarity that exists among human beings. People forget that despite the differences there are many things that are common amongst everyone, which are of a greater importance.
One might wonder what these differences that exist between people of a society are. While God did not make any distinctions while creating human beings, we have created differences like caste, religion, regionalism and nationalism. These boundaries exist in every society as people identify with the people of their own caste, religion and region. Because of this, people tend to distance themselves from others belonging to a different caste, religion or region. For example, people of a particular religion follow certain customs and beliefs that are different from the customs of another religion. They worship different gods, have different Holy Scriptures and chant different hymns and prayers. These differences become the basis of their existence and they forget that the gods and goddesses they worship are just different manifestations of the same God. However, people do not acknowledge the existence of one God and instead go ahead to attack other religions in order to protect their own. There have been cases where this religious intolerance has resulted in riots and violence as well. However, what people fail to understand is that while there are different religions, the purpose of all is the same. There is a greater similarity between these religions, which teaches love and affection for all living forms, but this is overlooked in order to protect the man-made customs.
Different nations come at war with each other due to the difference in existing ideas. However, what we fail to realize is that there are common enemies like terrorism, pollution, global warming and exhausting natural resources, which need to be concentrated upon. It is only joint effort of all nations that can save the earth from all these things. This effort requires different nations to unite and look above the differences in ideas in order to come to a solution. Similarly, people of one region and caste consider themselves different from the people of another region and caste. On the basis of these boundaries, people only focus over the existing diversity. However, if we look at these differences with a wider perspective, we will find that we all are a part of a single bigger whole.
As mentioned in the statement, there are many meaningful similarities which people fail to see. One can see these similarities only if the smaller differences are surpassed and ignored. It is only then that people will realize that all humans need love and affection. The basic desires of all people are the same even if they reside in different nations. It is the behavior, humanity and attitude of a person that make him stand out and not his caste or religion. The differences are only a social creation and these exist only due to the focus and attention given to them. It is only when people will realize the shallowness in these differences and willingly accept them as a mere social construct that they will be able to rise above these differences and identify with the similarities.