About seven billion of them!
As you can tell I am not talking about actual snowflakes. Not about those glossy white, frozen raindrops that fall down from the sky in some parts of the world and carpet the ground with snow. What I am talking about is the uniqueness of each individual on the planet.
We really seem to love to categorise people into groups, homogenise them according to colour, religion, the team they support, the school they went to, and so many other different metrics. While those groupings are a convenient (and true) way to divide people up, a simplified view of the world, each individual, everything on the planet in fact, is unique. Just like each snowflake is unique.
Take humans as an example. Look at each one of the people closest to you. Really look at them. And think of all the things that make them, them. Then you will begin to see that no two people are alike.
And I’ll give you an example. Let’s consider identical twins. Easy to group them and define them, right? They have the same parents. They were born, grew up, and live in the same country. They went to the same schools (let’s assume that they went to the same university too). They speak the same language. They are of the same religion.
And that’s where their similarities end.
They have different friends – or at least some different friends. They got different grades. They support different teams. They have different interests. Different experiences that shaped their characters. They are, for all intensive purposes, unique.
That was easy enough to do, right? And that was with identical twins. That have more in common than any two other people on the planet.
Now, I understand why people band together. Why they form societies. I also understand the need to feel that you belong somewhere. As well as the inherent inequality of nature – some are born smarter, some stronger.
What I fail to accept though, is that after thousands of years of evolution, of fine-tuning society, of so much progress, we still have the impulse for one group to differentiate from the other, to dominate and subdue each other. And in doing so, we go to war – physical, economic, cultural, any kind of war you can think of.
It may have something to do with the fact that I was raised in a liberal society – but that’s just what defines me as me, one of the parameters that differentiate me from any other one person, that makes me unique. But the only thing that all people have in common is humanity. Just like snowflakes have snow formation in common.
Featured image from Unsplash.