Sunday, September 24, 2006

Equals

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal" The opening sentence to the second paragraph in the Declaration of Independence, states something that all Americans (that is my assumption) view each other as equal. But each one of us are different in some delightfully wonderful way, and each of us have a talent that another might not possess. For instance one person could be great at public speaking but terrible at calculus, while another person could be a genius at it and be a terrible public speaker. Does our abilites define our level of "equality"? And how do we truly define equality without pointing out virtues that we deem "quality" enough for us to have to possess? Do these virtues that one might or might not contain make them any less equal? And should we, no matter what another persons talents, actions or virtues, treat everyone else as equals? Even if it goes against our definition of "standard morals"?

14 comments:

J.Malone said...

I'd say that this is about as relevant a question as you could ask... I hope many of you comment.

Vvyynn said...

Okay, the question is: If we are all unique, can we all be treated as equals. My answer: Yes, of course we can. We can be given the same rights, we can be given the same hire-ability for jobs, etc. Just because you may be a better actor than I am, or just because Sean is better at English than I am does not make one of us inherantly better, or any "More equal".
As for defining "equality", it's exactly what I said: Treating everyone the same no matter what. This could be treating everyone good, or treating everyone bad. Either way, it's Equality (7-2521).
Well, that my rant for now, tune in next week when I post an entry about toaster pastries!

chelser said...

But that is the point, do we view certain values above others? I can find several examples of exaulting certain "job" positions over other ones. Such as acting (I mean the BIG time Hollywood deal) versus being a trash man. We don't follow the lives of our fellow trash collectors like we do our favorite movie stars. So isn't this then a form of inequality?

ELanciotti said...

Wow what a good point chels! To be honest with you this is something that I may see different then most people. I think that equality is not what we define it to be at all. NOTHING to do with our accomplishments and nothing to do with what we are good at. I think that people are all created equal in our own separate ways and that equality may not even exist. Only we have made it into something because maybe we don't appreciate our own gifts and want the gifts of others. Turning something as simple as being a movie star versus a banker into a better achievement, but that is not it all. We are created equal we just don't tend to see it...Make sense??

sage tansanjelo said...

Way good question Chels, 10 points for you! To me equality is defined as all people given equal opportunity to suceed. It is from there that through our experiences and how we react to them that we choose our path, which in essence is our individuality. I don't believe that our abilities define our "equality" but rather give us the uniqueness each of us has. What makes us believe that a movie star and a trash collector "un-equal" is to me only based on our perception of our soceity, and of soceital status. However the question of treating other's as equals is completely different to me. It could be as far as treating someone with a different skin color with respect, or it could be the hollywood star saying hi to the trash collector in the morning. To me treating another as an equal is respecting that person for, like elizabeth said, their talents, but at the same time respecting them as a human being, with no title or preconcieved notion of their status, just a fellow human being. Good question

Vvyynn said...

I'm not so sure if it does, but then again I guess I'm a purist when it comes to the definition of "Equality". I blame my research over the NAACP and the KKK. I feel that the document you cited states it perfectly: All men are created equal. Yes, we each have our own characteristics. Elizabeth, your syesthetic, I'm probably on the verge of insanity, Chlsea you are a very good-tempered person. However this does not change our equality, We are each equally different, and equally important in the eyes of God, the Law, etc. (Leastways, thats how it's legally supposed to work). Thus, once again, I feel that saying "Equality doesn't exist" could be taken incredibly wrong and start up a whole new wave of $#!^@! segregation. I believe that if we claim that equality doesn't exist, a new Hitler will come along, do some f***ked up things, and claim "Well, Equality doesn't exist so...". I'm not accusing either of you of this, Elizabeth and Chelsea, quite frankly I can't see either of you becomming a neo-Hitler. Yet, I think that equality is equality, and that we all have it and we all need it Gay, Straight, Black, White, Tall, Short, Christian, Muslim, Jew, everyone deserves equality. This is an issue I feel rather strongly about, if you haven't guessed, and my vehemency has been growing over the past few years.

Vvyynn said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
A. Koss said...

I think that a person's choices should determine how he or she is treated, rather than his or her innate abilites or characteristics. The difficult part isn't deciding what abilites are superior to others (because we simply can't), but deciding what choices are superior to others (because we have to).
Treating all people equally means giving everyone the same choices.

chelser said...

Wonderfully said Abby. I agree with all of you that equality should be given to each and every person, but the reality is, that simply doesn't happen in our society. Yes we are the land of the free and we say that every person is given equal opportunity (or choice if you rather). But the thing is, choice is sometimes denied to those who need it most, just being based off of prejudmental notions that are not always correct.

Vvyynn said...

Yes, and this is legally wrong. We calim that everyone is equl in our territory, then we deny it. This is not necessarily related to the original question, or necessarily to TOK. But I certainly agree with you that there still is plenty of prejudice in this "God-blessingly great nation" of ours.

devin said...

I'm going to play the devil's advocate here. I believe that because of the way that we as humans perceive our environment and make instantaneous judgments on everything we see, that we cannot perceive equality. We may like to think that we do and actually try to physically act like we do, but because of our nature we just can't. This isn't a bad thing, necessarily, and won't necessarily bring about another Hitler - but this is why people like Hitler existed and still exist today (sadly enough): unending bias is present in all of us, but some of us can control their expression of their bias moreso than others. Therefore, "equality" as has been discussed has never existed, is not present today, and cannot exist in the future. All we can do is downplay our biases and treat others well, because they deserve to be treated that way.

Vvyynn said...

As much as I'd like to say "No, Devin! There still is plenty of hope in the world, people can feel equality! Equality exists!", I think you bring up a point that my pessimism likes. However, I think that by treating other with less bias, we are treating them more equally? Does that make sense? Am I trying to give myeslf hope? Will anyone ever read this? Find out next week on another exciting episode of: VIN'S ADVENTURES THORUGH TOK!

devin said...

Yes. By treating people with less bias, one treats them more equally. However, the state of "equality" still isn't there.

Big E said...

Well, fellow TOK'ers, I believe it is time for us to look at a little context. In order to look at this question I think it is necesary to look at the framers intent. The framers were a bunch of fat rich white protestant men who thought they were too good to be ruled by a king. You see, one of the nasty side effects of being protestant is that you tend to start questioning the whole divine authority thing. I mean, if there is no pope or clergy to be holier than you, than why should there be a king? So, the founding fathers decided that it was a bit ridiculous that God himself chose ill-tempered and often icompetent men to lead their people. The framers, then, decidided to get really out of hand and just go ahead and declare that everyone was equal in the eyes of god. Thus, the founding fathers were trying to exert than no man had more innate ability to oppress his fellow man (Unless, of course, his fellow man happened ot be not white... or not male... or not straight)
Obviously we're not all equal John Scofeild is alot better at guitar than I am, but I have alot fuller head of hair than him. He are both, however, both Human beings and neither of us has the right to order each other around. Obviously each person has their virtues, and Arnold Schwarzenegger is problably alot better suited for a job including physical labor than, say, Rush Limbaugh. Regardless, we are all still equal in our rights for "life, liberty, and the pursuit of property".