• author
    • Maya Stiles Parsons Spier

      Columnist, Editor-in-Chief
    • November 27, 2019 in Columnists

    There is no “other”

    If Earth had a soccer team, everyone on Earth would wear the same jersey to support it. There’d be no them, there’d only be us.
    Peta Kelly, Earth is Hiring: The New way to live, lead, earn and give for millennials and anyone who gives a sh*t

    There is no “other.” There is no “other” type of human — of course there isn’t. The idea is ridiculous. We are all one species with some minor variations — of which we make far too much, of course. Even if our ability to reproduce together and produce fertile offspring wasn’t proof enough, mitochondrial DNA proves it. With few variations which are the normal product of evolution and natural divergence, it’s identical. Studies show that we descended from one woman in Africa known as (Mitochondrial Eve ) and only people who think the earth is flat are likely to argue with this.

    From an anthropological point of view, othering makes sense. If the human coming over the rise wasn’t tribe, that human might well want to do the tribe harm. Recognizing “other” was a lifesaving ability — a crucial way to determine potential threat. But that was when we were small pods — or even larger ones — of humans scattered at distances.

    Now, we are global. All major parts of the planet have been seen and put on a map. If a place is unknown, it’s in the fine details of an area. There may be undiscovered humans still, but if there are, they’re few and far between. We’ve done the research that shows we are one. We know better, despite the atavistic primitive that cowers within some of us and cries “Other!” in tones of fear and hatred.

    But I would posit that there is no such thing as other in any sense. A very long time ago and in a story for another time, I got the tremendous epiphany that goes simply like this:

    The allness of one and the oneness of all.

    Sounds simple and perhaps foolish, but read it again. It means there is no separation. In Michael Talbot’s book, “The Holographic Universe,” (buy it here: The Holographic Universe or used on eBay or find it in PDF form on the internet) he refers to David Bohm , a colleague of Einstein, who says, essentially, that there is no separation of matter in the universe. It’s all a continuum. Essentially, everything we think is differentiated is so only in the way that a ripple can be identified as an individual ripple — which still never ceases to be part of the water.

    If there is no separation, there is literally no “other.” And that doesn’t just apply to the over-precious human species. It applies to all that lives. Animals, plants, slime mold, insects — there are no lesser beings. At all. We are all one.

    Mind you, the order of nature has some beings naturally ending and consuming other beings. We are all phages — we all eat. From Dictionary.com:

    -phage
    a combining form meaning “a thing that devours,” used in the formation of compound words, especially the names of phagocytes: macrophage.

    But in the grand scheme of things, no one being of any sort is intrinsically more important than another. Nature itself is in the process of demonstrating how we are all absolutely interconnected and if you pull one seemingly insignificant part out or slide it out of kilter, bam! The whole thing collapses.

    We have needed to understand this for centuries, at least at the primitive level of comprehending that we are all one people with no genuine separation. It’s time we looked at the earth as one deeply connected system where everyone and everything on it has a place and a crucial role in its survival. We don’t necessarily know which piece we move will cause what effect, although we’re coming to. But we have for millenia not even attempted to understand how it all fits together and tried to walk on this earth with delicacy, awareness, respect and love — not humans en masse.

    Instead, we have stomped about in our hobnail boots, killing and destroying and overusing with the assumption that no other being counts and that taking what we want rather than what we need is a strategy that is even remotely sustainable.

    It isn’t, and it’s killing us.

    Not only that, for every predicted disaster I’ve witnessed over my lifetime, they almost invariably happen faster and more severely than the experts predict. Part of that issue is that they’ve often been forced to water down those predictions in order not to panic the sheeple.  I directly witnessed this as a word processor in the early 90s, typing up a state report on our ecological future, where the word “will” was crossed out and “may” and “might” and “could” were substituted in red in handwriting not of the original author.

    In essence, they were gaslighting the public. It’s okay folks. Nothing to see here.

    We simply must grow past our sense and seeking of individual and group isolation. It’s not the truth and it harms us, perhaps irreparably. We must hold and value our senses of individuality but embrace the awareness that we are part of a delicate and precious whole, marveling that life happened at all and that we are part of this natural miracle.

    If we don’t learn to treat this world as “self” rather than “other” — if we don’t see our fellow beings as deserving of value in their own right rather than just as resources for humans to pillage at will — we will go down with them.

    And all our tears and regrets for not waking up sooner will avail us not at all.


      • Neil

      • November 27, 2019 at 1:30 pm
      • Reply

      Great article, I sometimes despair that homosapiens are a “phage”


        • Maya Stiles Parsons Spier

        • November 28, 2019 at 3:09 am
        • Reply

        En masse, we are. But we’ve been known to pull together when it’s down to the wire and I’m seeing a few signs that we’re beginning to get it. I just hope we hurry hell on up.


      • Jane

      • November 27, 2019 at 4:42 pm
      • Reply

      Stimulating article and good call for action. Social and workplace isolation is rising.. we need to combat these in order to facilitate growth in the ‘self’ rather than ‘other’ mindset. Great Read – thank you


        • Maya Stiles Parsons Spier

        • November 28, 2019 at 3:11 am
        • Reply

        Thank you. We are growing more isolated, although it’s not new. I recall a college text (and I went from 1974 to 1980) called “The Pursuit of Loneliness.” We take for granted that human contact always be there when we get around to it. Not necessarily true. <3



    • There is no Plan(et) B.


        • Maya Stiles Parsons Spier

        • November 29, 2019 at 6:13 pm
        • Reply

        No, there isn’t. We don’t yet have the technology to leave this one, either. It’s sink or swim and right now, thanks to the orange pustule and his fellow carbunkles, we’re sinking fast. 🙁



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