equalities and false equivalencies

There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

– Isaac Asimov

Equalities and False Equivalancies is about…

….making distinctions between what is equal, and what is not. Knowing what is not equal is helpful in knowing what is. Equality is a hot topic with many false equivalencies in operation. The Wikipedia definition of false equivalancy is ‘when an anecdotal similarity is pointed out as equal, but the claim of equivalence doesn’t bear because the similarity is based on oversimplification or ignorance of additional factors.’ In other words, context or framework is a determinant in actual equality. For example, one apple plus one orange may equal 2 fruits, but if the context is citrus fruits, they are not equal. Quality is not equivalent to quantity. Three worm laden apples is not equal to one fresh tree ripened apple, without worms. One argument based on scientific fact is not equivalent to several opinions which counter that fact. The totality of your personal existence is not equivalent to the totality of existence.

Equality of peoples, races, religions, ethnicities is a concept framed by context. Clearly, a person with light tan skin is not equal to a person with dark olive skin, if the measurement of equality is skin color. The same could be said for eye color. Blues eyes, brown eyes, green eyes, hazel eyes….They are not equal, within the context of eye color. They are equal in terms of eye function, and even then there may be irregularities and inequalities, such as color blindness.

Equality is a way of conveying ‘sameness.’ We are the same species. We are equal, in the context of our species-hood. We are not equal in the context of learned skills, though may be equal in terms of capacity in learning skills. We are not equal in terms of biological gender or ethnic background; and yet, we are equal in terms of how many ears we have.  Any idiot can see that a naked male figure is not equal to a naked female figure. It doesn’t take a genius to recognize that women carry and bare children, which men do not. In the context of child bearing, and too large extend child rearing, men and women are not equal. Attempts to impose equality often results in a stifling uniformity which disregards the value of differences, diversity, multiplicity and individuality. 

Equality is defined as ‘the quality of being the same in quantity or measure or value or status.’ The value or status context is often a subset of quantity, and how that quantity is measured. If money is of value or represents status, and it can be measured, equality is a possibility. For example, If I have 10 goats and you have 10 goats, we are equal, in the number of goats owned. If you have 11, and I have 10, we are not equal, in terms of the amount of goats we have. At the same time, we are equal, in the most general sense, as a planetary creature dependent upon the sun and rain, land and air. We may be equal in weight, or height or other objective measurements, and at the same time, not equal in many different contexts. In a practical every day sense, we are far less equal than we are in a more generalized broad based sense of being alive as two legged upright creatures with a developed frontal neocortex.

The idea of equality between the sexes is a dangerous idea in the context of equality being sameness or likeness. Not only are the most obvious examples of physical differences ample enough evidence of inequalities, there are biochemical differences, neurological differences, reproductive differences. Men and women are different, not the same, not equal, in any number of measurements. And, at the same time, both are, like everybody else, equal in their dependence upon soil..

An example of a false equivalency would be saying that we are equal because our blood is the same color. But, it may not be the same type. Type A blood is not equal to Type O blood. Equality has a lot to do with measurement, in a specific context or framework. The broader the context, the wider the frame, the more equalities become evident. We are all equal in terms of mortality and, at the very same time, nobody is equivalent to you, nor you to anybody else, as an individual personality. Differences, diversity, multiplicity is the hallmark of life. For the most part, in practical matters, our life with others is a complexity of inequalities. And, at the same time, we are equal in all being born from a womb, if the framework of measurement is our method of birth. Not all life is womb born. The egg born (reptiles), and the spore born (plants), share this world with us. We are all equal in being alive in this world, under the same sky.

Here’s a novel approach to understanding Equality. Think of it as ‘elevation quality’, i.e., e-quality. Everybody has within them, as a member of the species, special elevation qualities, e-qualities, which can be used to elevate oneself beyond current awareness and understanding. Elevation is the quality that propels us onward, to expand, to go beyond the boundaries of what is currently known. This quality of elevation is not unknown, nor foreign. As an infant, we elevated ourselves to standing, and walking. As a child, we elevated ourselves to some skills, behaviors, styles. As adults, we elevate ourselves to being part of a larger whole, through family and work. We all have the same equalities with which we can experience expanded awareness and understanding of life.

To view all people as equal based on inherent elevation qualities, is to respect that intrinsic nature within all life which propels each one of us towards that for which we all yearn.

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