Saturday, 29 August 2009

Equality in Diversity

M.Scott Peck , the psychiatrist, the legendary author of THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED also wrote a very significant book IN SEARCH OF STONES, which is sub-titled as "A pilgrimage of Faith, Reason and Discovery"

The Book is a complete reflection on spirituality, faith and inner quest. Here I would like to share a passage from this Book's Chapter PEACE:

We are all equal in sight of God. Beyond that, however, we are utterly unequal. we have different gifts and liabilities, different genes, different languages and cultures, different values and styles and thinking, different personal histories, different levels of competence, and so on, and so on. Indeed might be properly labeled "the unequal species." What most distinguishes us from all the creatures is our extraordinary diversity and the variability of our behavior. Equal? Just in the the moral sphere alone we range from the horribly demonic to the gloriously angelic.

The false notion of our equality propels us into the pretense of pseudo-community, and when the pretense fails, as it must for any intimacy or authenticity, then it propels us to attemt to achieve equality by force: the force of gentle persuasion followed by less and less gentle persuasion. We totally misinterpret our task. Society's task is not to establish equality. It is to develop systems that deal humanely with our unequality-systems that, within reason, celebrate and encourage diversity.


  1. I have also in the past appreciated -The Road Less Traveled- and more by this author.
    This is quite a remarkable passage in that it addresses in actual well-articulated words some truths which are not "politically correct" nor popular in other ways.

    Intimacy, genuine and where the sum of the parts of such a community of two, three or more are able to continue trust, truth and love of the highest level would have to admit to the truth of this passage...

    Perhaps the exercise would be rewarding to reflect whether silently or within our communities upon the various OTHER means that we find each other besides "equality" (of academic or professional background for examples or age or region, town, nationality, rural or city?). And next to ask ourselves which ingredients form such nurturing celebration together?

    Then to wonder what do we do we live and teach genuine trust on deepest level by example- the practices which can prevent deterioration, falsity and manipulation of such relationships? One final note: genuine community -intimacy of the heart including spiritual levels are a miracle no matter where, how...

    Thanx so much, Akhtar Sahib, for bringing this passage to our attention!

  2. Lol, Connie has also "in the past" appreciated -The Road Less Traveled. Me too, and Akhtar has fished out one of the most startling and thought-provoking passage.

    Peck points out the problem but I think that the solution will come from elsewhere, and my sucpicion is that Akhtar already has it :D

  3. Yes very true. We are all unequal except for in God sight. And that would be our challenge, getting as close to God's equality as possible without loosing our personal uniqueness and identities. The intent should not be a prototype for cloning either; we should be transparent to the outer differences in order to enjoy the inner diversities.

    It is a nebulous notion, hence muddled or at times anarchic results to expect societies establish equality but at the same time it would also be disservice not to expect society to cultivate a culture that fosters equilibrium. A sort of environment that finds positive challenges and satisfaction in overcoming those.

    I think Peck recognizes the disparity or the absence of "level field". Not sure if he is there yet but certainly is flirting with socialistic ideas. I too would subscribe to some level of socialism. That might bring a small but significant societal shift from pseudo to then harmonious!

    I enjoyed reading it...

  4. Ashfaq - you bring up so many discussion points and experienced truths. I love the way you are helping shape this discussion and want to add my two cents yet after a few more join in. I end with your stellar line: "our challenge: getting as close to God's equality as possible - transparent (and also somewhat unconcencerned ?)to the outer differences in order to enjoy the inner diversities.

    Also how might we marry your understanding of a viable, caring socialism to your understanding of a Spiritual equality if this is possible?

  5. Ashfaq, Yes, Connie's question has made me curious too: how might we marry your understanding of a viable, caring socialism to your understanding of a Spiritual equality if this is possible?

  6. very true.. insaan masawi hein,yaksaaN nahin hein.....

  7. By the very title of post i'm reminded of that beautiful poem by Nazeer Akbar-Abadi on Tauheed...