Einstein, Imhotep, Galileo, Tesla, Cleopatra, Curie, and da Vinci. These are some of the most brilliant and intellectually gifted men and women to grace human existence. Yet, not even these folk had it all figured out. The smartest among us don’t have all the answers in the world. Though we have a tendency of thinking that we are the center of the galaxy, in truth we are just a speck of a speck of a dot in the infinite space around us. Given our lack of understanding of our planet let alone the totality of the universe, the best course would be humility and the admittance that we don’t know it all.
Sadly, human nature seems to be the opposite. The ego so consuming and our pride all encompassing, too many of us would rather insist on proving eminence instead of seeking deference and being humble. At the core of most conflict is arrogance; the quest to prove superiority and to show others that we are right leads us down the path of spiritual warfare. Battle of wits has become the new normal; instead of engaging in dialogue and conversations, more and more our default status seems to be that of rhetorical pugilists. It is said that the meek shall inherit the earth, if that is the case most of humanity shall perish for too many of us seek toughness and bravado.
We live in a zeitgeist of war. The more we advance technologically, the more we regress into hubris. There was a time where elders knew better and the youth listened with humility. But that was in a paradigm where knowledge had to be worked for and wisdom was attained through equal parts perseverance and patience. No more. Everyone is just a “hello Google” away from being just as smart as Imhotep. Artificial intelligence is breeding a generation of thinkers with counterfeit knowledge; what society knows now is a miles wide yet a millimeter deep. We jump around from topic to topic and browse from webpage to hyperlink consuming endless information and getting less and less edification with each megabyte we take in.
We keep arguing about politics and letting grievances be our guiding light, but all of it is empty rhetoric if our intention is to fight for vindication instead of standing for true justice. I hope you don’t read these words as some type of sanctimonious lecture or a pious spiel; I too struggle with ego on a continuous basis as the need to win too often dictates my reaction. But what is there to be gained by winning, is victory more important than friendships and comity? Is the need to be seen as knowledgeable worth declaring war on people we don’t even know.
It’s easy to dismiss boorish behavior that proliferates on social media as an outlier and not indicative of wider human discourse. Unplug, people say all the time, and see the world for what it is. There is something to be said of this, no amount of online interaction can replace in person and in the present conversations and dialogues we share with fellow sojourners in this journey we call life. It is easy to bang away on someone in the abstract and to demolish people when they are reduced to just icons and profile pictures. But face to face, we are kinder to each other than when we are on Facebook. However, continued friction online bleeds into society at large; the infernos started on social media are inflaming emotions and limiting human reaction in real time.
Let us pause and reconsider the path we are going down as a people. Next time, when someone comes at you with arrogance and attempts to enhance themselves by belittling you, instead of paying back pretension with arrogance, be kind and extend grace. This is the hardest of tasks, to be humble when faced with pomposity takes the strength of Samson. It is easier to revert to our inner Delilah and cut back with cutting remarks at those who try to subdue us with their smugness. For years, I struggled with this notion of forbearance. For the longest time, I thought the best thing to do when met with people who try to shine at my expense was to return their fire with rhetorical flamethrowers. Fighting flames with flame only ends up with two burn victims—I have scars to prove of this.
Please no more flames; let us put away matchsticks and blowtorches and be kind to one another. Instead of engaging in arguments with intentions to win, let us talk to one another with the intention to understand each other. Irrespective of the endless ways we are sliced and diced as a society and the ways we are continually convinced that we are different than one another, in truth all of us are traveling the same journeys full of hardship and hard experiences even if we might walk on different pavements. If we only listen to one another, we would realize that we are all in this together. Let us stop trying to conquer people and instead make it our purpose to learn from one another and to walk together in peace. #JudgeNot
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.” ~ Matthew 7:1-2
If you appreciated the message behind this write up and want to speak acceptance in a world filled with vengeance, share this article on social media using #JudgeNot
Check out the Ghion Cast below where I discuss the very issue of war and how conflicts arise because we keep seeing our differences instead of accepting our commonality as humans.
Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.