Tag Archives: nationalism

Twenty-First Century Treatise: The Law of Diversity

As I’ve asserted earlier, we are as subject to Nature’s Laws as every other living thing on earth, even our social structures are bound by them. Current events in the US and Europe, manifested in groups such aIdentity Evropa or Unite the Right, whose aims are to create a homogeneous culture of religion and race, provide the opportunity to examine the merits of whether homogeneity or diversity enhance our societies.

There is no doubt that Nature exhibits a strong preference for diversity over homogeneity in the physical realm. No two snowflakes are alike, no two human finger prints are alike, and even identical twins develop differences in their individual DNA despite their origins from the same fertilized egg.

Consider the ruling families of Europe of not-so-long-ago who intermarried frequently as a way to keep a homogeneous bloodline and consequently curated a small gene pool as a result. Smaller gene pools equate to less diversity giving recessive genes higher probabilities of expression. This explains the frequency of  hemophilia in several royal families. (Conversely, unhealthy dominant genes could not be diluted in smaller gene pools, such was the case with the Hapsburgs.) The present kingdom of Saudi Arabia is challenged with problematic health issues due to its tradition of intermarriage at all levels of society: 

“But research at hospitals and medical centers indicates that the rates of some metabolic diseases may be as much as 20 times higher among Saudi Arabia’s 14 million people than they are in populations where the gene pool is more widely mixed.

Blood disorders such as thalassemia, a hemoglobin deficiency and sickle cell anemia, as well as diabetes are widespread, particularly in some provinces with high intermarriage rates…”

Humans aren’t the only animals that suffer from a lack of diversity due to small gene pools. Our fascination with purebred dogs means that these canines come with more inherent health issues than their mixed breed counterparts. Race horse breeders understand the problems associated with a small, homogeneous gene pool, and “have done comparatively well in maintaining genetic diversity…”

On the physical level, diversity allows for healthier outcomes overall, while homogeneity guarantees some genetic complications in future generations. But does the  strength of diversity  transcend the physical realm to the societal realm? We can unequivocally conclude that social and cultural diversity have a direct, positive effect upon our nations and their economics.

For example, studies consistently demonstrate,that mixed groups produce better outcomes to challenges than homogeneous groups when applied to workplace creativity and vibrancy.

Though people often feel more comfortable with others like themselves, homogeneity can hamper the exchange of different ideas and stifle the intellectual workout that stems from disagreements. (Kellogg School of Management)

Distinguished University Professor, Richard Boyatzis explains the benefits of diversity this way:

Diversity initiatives can have important and interesting social justice benefits, but the real reason you want to pursue diversity programs is for innovation. You want diversity of thought…Differences in race, gender, and socioeconomic background are three characteristics, but so are differences in learning style or differences in professional field….If a group has an ability to create dialogue, diversity of thought helps them not get into groupthink. 

A recent, extensive study  reveals that countries benefit greatly on an economic scale thanks to the diversity that immigration provides. For instance, young migrants tend to make up a larger portion of a population than natives, this is a crucial detail,  “Migration will play an increasingly vital role in coping with this transition and easing the burden on care and social security systems.”

Another economic benefit of immigration, among many, is that migrants are employed in “jobs…often characterized as ‘household production’ services. The increased presence of immigrants in this sector has made home services more affordable, which in turn has allowed more native-born women — especially highly educated women — to join the labor force or to increase their hours worked.”(Berkeley).

A venture into the political realm allows us to easily identify the problems with a homogeneous political system as those are most commonly known as dictatorships or tyrannies – where one strand of thought is compulsive throughout a society and any opposition is silenced immediately. There is no freedom in these societies. Historically and currently, there are plenty of examples of these – Mao’s China or Kim’s North Korea come to mind. But where two or more political parties exist within a nation, debate and compromise often lead to an overall better effect for the majority, as exhibited in the past few centuries of diverse governments across Europe and in the US. Additionally, these systems innately allow for freedom of differing opinions, freedom of research, as well as freedom for national discourse.

Our genetics, workplaces, economics, and political systems thrive best with diversity, exactly as Nature would have it. In the socio-cultural context, we witness that the Law of Diversity muscles its way through any attempt to homogenize our world.

One of the most obvious examples of cultural homogeneity is the ubiquity of American fast food chains exported throughout the world. Yet even these are not cookie-cutter establishments, their menus are adjusted to the native culture of their location. From “shrimp nuggets” offered by KFC in Singapore, to a “black Ninja burger” from Burger King in Japan, to a “dried pork and seaweed” donut at Dunkin’ Donuts in China, the Law of Diversity is manifested despite the homogenization of branding. Where imported cultural staples are adopted, there still remains a force of Diversity; New York sushi restaurants adapt the Japanese food to their Kosher clientele; in South America, sushi is dipped in salsa rather than soy sauce.

I’ve observed that workplace homogenization in the form of uniforms has prompted some eccentric personal grooming habits or accessorizing as a way of creating diversity; it’s the reason the tattoo culture has bloomed the last two decades, or facial piercings, or funky hairstyles and coloring. The trend of socks or ties in outrageous colors and patterns buck against the boardroom homogeneity of dark suits, allowing for an expression of differentiation. It’s as if on a subconscious level, we’re finding ways to be diverse from one another despite global, corporate pressure to look homogeneous.

At our very base, cellular level, there exists Diversity, and we are healthier for it. It should come as no surprise then, that our social structures, bound by the same Natural Law, are healthier when Diversity is preferred over homogeneity. Though some of us still strive to create a homogeneous culture, with one religion and one political system and one dominate race, Nature’s Law of Diversity will see to it that it is not permanent.

Here’s to our differences, for they constitute creativity and robust societies.

In peace,

Frankie

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No Religion: What’s to Believe In?

As we continue to progress as a species, more of us human beings are stepping from the dark archaic belief systems of religion to the bright confidence of knowledge afforded us by science.   But the shift from religion to non begs some questions:  What do we do with ourselves?  Where do we put our energy?  What’s to believe in? What becomes our focus?

From my humble perspective, it kind of seems that a default focus would be nationalism; belief in one’s nation and attention to its politics and social/economic issues.  From my humble perspective, we could use a boost in national attention to politics and social/economic issues.   But there lies a danger of jingoism, unabashed love for one’s country without regard for other nations, fervent almost blind belief that ‘my country is the best’.  In a time when we face global challenges such as health epidemics and climate change, we can’t really allow ourselves the pleasure of arrogance.  We must be able to cooperate, to admit that maybe another nation is doing something right and we might consider adjusting our own perceptions.  We are bound together by this planet and its natural laws, we have to work with one another in order to keep our species viable.  While some of our new found energy can and should be focused on national issues, it is necessary to strike a balance with how much energy we invest in our country – there are bigger ideas to focus on as well.

I heartily contend that the biggest idea should be humanism – a focus on mankind and our path of past, present, and future, our connection with one another as dictated by nature’s laws.  If we think about it, we only, always, have each other; and though cultures vary we cannot deny our bloodline and the truth that we are all brothers and sisters.  I believe we owe a certain amount of attention to our race based on this sole premise, with the spirit that we are inherently obligated as human beings to look out for our siblings. As mentioned above, our modern age forces us to examine physical global issues and international cooperation is paramount to finding solutions to these issues.   A humanist focus allows us to set aside cultural prejudices and adopt cooperative attitudes based upon the assumption that we’re all in this together.

Science appears to be the common ground for us all and I’ll assert that the growth of humanism will include many elements of the discipline.   Two plus two will always equal four and no matter where we go in the world we can speak that language to anyone. I am not claiming that science has all the answers although I’m close to agreeing with many modern thinkers who believe it does.  It certainly answers our questions best and provides a universal language with which we can speak to one another, culture set aside.   Besides providing a common language science provides a foundation for finding common solutions to the challenges we face together.  The discipline is a perfect fit with the tenants of humanism.

I’ll even go out on a limb and demonstrate that we already have a vision for the melding of science and humanism and how they work together by invoking the genre of science fiction film and writings.  There are several examples where science fiction has remarkably portended the future as far as gadgets and inventions are concerned.   Even George Orwell was prescient enough to understand that an entirely new language would evolve under political pressures.   Using science fiction as a barometer for the way humanistic tendencies might emerge, one finds an astonishing body of work that illustrates how political and even personal decisions are made based upon available evidence and facts instead of mystical, archaic texts. Pay attention next time you tune into Star Trek, or Dr. Who, or The Fifth Element.

We’ve come a long ways since the days when science and religion walked the same path of curiosity together, searching for answers to the same questions.   At some point their paths split and one has gone on to answer those questions with solid evidence.   As we continue to progress as a species and more of us also leave the anachronistic beliefs behind, we are faced with the necessity of filling the void.   Humanism does so with a neat and comfortable fit.  Here’s to our future and the place that Humanism has within it.

Yours,

Frankie