FIVE: We believe in the principle of harmony, that accepting differences to achieve harmony is greater than excluding differences to achieve unity.
In other words, everyone in the world doesn’t have to be just like me. Life is rich and diverse, and excluding those who are “different” leads to separation and weakening.
It is a common military practice to “divide and conquer.” Say, for example, that you are outnumbered and “outgunned” by an opponent that is a coalition of different groups. Attack them when they are working together in harmony, and you may well be defeated. But if you can get them to split up, either by forcefully separating them by various strategies and tactics, or by getting them to fight amongst themselves, your chances of winning are much greater. Just look at military history and you can see how effectively this works.
But working together in harmony is more than just a military strategy. It applies to a tremendous variety of endeavors, and is in fact a fundamental part of the nature of a social species.
In music, the sound of a single instrument can be very beautiful indeed, yet most music is written to include harmony. Plays and movies are rarely created and performed entirely by one person. And how many paintings use only one color?
In science, combining and overlapping disciplines (you use math in biochemistry, and geology in archaeology) is commonplace. One of the greatest scientific discoveries of the 20th century was of the DNA double helix, a fundamental aspect of inheritance. It was postulated by Watson and Crick. Interestingly, Watson had a Ph.D. in zoology, but Crick had switched from physics to biochemistry. It is often believed that their mixture of knowledge from these varied fields was essential for their discovery.
And the need for an effective “mixture,” variety working in harmony, is touched on by many of the world’s religions. Christianity, in I Corinthians 12:14-15, says in the King James version “For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?” It continues in verse 20 “And now are they many members, yet but one body.” Hinduism/Jainism have the story of the blind men and the elephant. Each touched a different portion of the elephant’s body such as the ear or trunk, and thought that part constituted the whole of the elephant. Because they couldn’t accept their different perspectives, they fought against each other. (For more on this story, click HERE.)
And the philosophy of Erisianism or Discordianism tells us that reality exists, but different people are looking at it through different windows on which have been painted different grids. What lines up on one person’s grid is outside the lines on another’s. And people often refuse to accept someone with a different point or view or way of seeing the world, excluding them and their viewpoint for the sake of unity. Click HERE for more. (We don’t include a direct link to the biblical chapter simply because the Bible is incredibly easy to find in the English-speaking world.)
And yet many, to achieve unity, will exclude those who are different. They may be rejected because of different ideology, sex, race, sexual preference, age--in other words, rejecting those things that are different to achieve unity can become prejudice and discrimination. This does not mean we're opposed to like-minded individuals forming their own groups. But it does mean we're against a free society excluding those who pose no threat but are simply "different."
Again, we are a social species. We need each other. And our differences enrich us.
(We do recognize that individuals often like to gather together with those of similar backgrounds and interests. Some groups are designed exclusively for those who have problems with substance abuse, for example. And it would serve little purpose for a model railroad club to be filled with members who did not like model railroads. This principle of harmony over unity should be interpreted as applying to an entire society, not necessarily to every group or enclave community within in it.)
Note: We use terms such as "e, em, emself, etc." These are genderless pronouns. Instead of "he" or "she," we use "e." Instead of "him" or "her," we use "em," and for "his" or her, we use "es." Instead of himself or herself, we use "emself." These terms are easy to say, and much less awkward than the alternative "h/she or "(s)he" forms sometimes used.