What is it about humanity that forces people to categorise one another? Despite living in the most culturally diverse era of human history, we still tend to cling to old beliefs, traditions and points of origin. There are still concepts like nationalism and patriotism, which I find hard to discern from each other when things get heated. But what would eradicate all petty human differences for good? Turns out, there’s a definite answer.
There are still cultures in existence which advocate against pluralism and cosmopolitan life. Yet, it was predicted by (just about) everyone that once the Cold War ended, there would be a new era of globalisation and of absolute ideological unity. This never happened. In fact, quite the opposite happened. While each respective ideological faction in the world has been progressively weakened and diluted since, say the Great War, which might be considered the epitome of nationalist conflict, these factions have perhaps grown even more threatening and aggressive in order to implement their own way of life on a global scale. Furthermore, at least for the past 50 years, the world has had the security of choosing between ‘Communism and Capitalism’, which seemed a relatively simple, black and white choice. Now, world relations are too complex to imagine for the average human, and even powerful bodies like the UN struggle to keep up with the world’s affairs and the needs of these differing cultures, some of which view all other cultures as abhorrent and unworthy of existence.
I believe there is one solid solution which would surely unite all humans. This would act as a radical shift in humanity’s context, and people’s perception of humanity as a whole. Despite the extraordinary advancements in astronomy and our understanding of the vastness of the universe, humans have yet to accept their utter insignificance in the cosmos. Or rather, they fail to contextualise it, because we still feel quite alone and sovereign in our little branch of space. Regardless of how huge the universe is, we still have not encountered anything which might suggest that we are not the only contemporary living thing in this general area of the Milky Way galaxy. In a nutshell, we still think we’re the ‘center’ of the universe, even if we know it to be untrue.
What if we did encounter something? What if humans – all humans – simultaneously looked up and saw something utterly alien, something unimaginably different, and then looked back at the humans around them? Suddenly, after centuries of ideological war to eradicate the petty differences between us, the man on the other side of the world would seem closer, more familiar and more friendly than ever before. After years of hatred, and after having expended millions of lives in the name of uniting humanity under one banner, we would realise that we were in fact under one banner all along.
I believe that on the day we make contact with an intelligent, ‘intimidating’ alien race, racism, nationalism, and all other ideological hatreds between us humans will disappear from the earth, and be replaced with Humanism, the love of all humans and all things human. While this might not be fair to the aliens and would bring up further moral concerns about what rights we should grant that which is not human, it certainly would be better for us. Goodness knows we need a little more empathy between humans of ‘different’ backgrounds right now.
This was just a thought I had a few months ago. Share your own thoughts in the comments if you wish.