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Ganesh K Kamath

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On Equality
by Ganesh K Kamath   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Monday, April 20, 2009
Posted: Friday, April 17, 2009

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A short essay on the subject of equality, or rather the lack of it.

Equality is nothing more than an abstract concept which sounds wonderful in theory, but in reality is virtually impossible to find, create, enforce or sustain. While it is a lofty and idealistic thought, it is no more real than a unicorn, a leprechaun or any other such mythical creature. It simply does not exist in reality.

 

Inequality is universal and the only thing surprising about it is that anyone should find it surprising at all. The manner in which the universe is constructed makes it simply impossible for equality to exist. From non-living and natural entities such as stars, planets and galaxies to living creatures such as humans, animals, tree and plants, one sees inequity everywhere. There is disparity across the spectrum. And it is as well that it is so. If it were not for inequity, there would be no universe, and even if there were one, formation and the subsequent sustenance of life in it would simply have been impossible.

 

Consider the non-living and natural entities for a start. Go back to the time when the universe was in the very early stages of formation. There was an almost equal amount of matter and anti-matter present at that time. What happened when the two collided, as they frequently did, was to annihilate each other in the most violent manner. This collision resulted in the release pure energy. If this had kept up, there would have been no material universe, as we know it in its present state. However, due to a small inequity present at the time of the big bang, it so happened that there was only a tiny bit more of matter than anti-matter, and it is this tiny bit of advantage that matter had over anti-matter that allowed the formation of this universe and all that it contains in the form of matter – stars, planets, galaxies, etc. So we owe our very existence to inequity.

 

We can now narrow our focus from the universe in general to our solar system in particular and see how the inherent inequity has benefited us. What keeps the earth and other planets in our solar systems revolving around their central start is their relative disparity in size if it weren’t for which, they would have found themselves hurtling through space. That would hardly have been conducive to the formation of life on this planet. Speaking of life, of all the planets in our solar system, life is known to exist only on earth. Even on Mars, purportedly earth’s twin planet, there is no evidence of life. Ah, the inequity! Then there is distance earth finds itself from the sun. Earth is situated at an ideal distance from the sun to have made the formation of life and its subsequent evolution possible. Not all planets have had the benefit of being at this comfortable distance from the sun. Consequently, the probability of life forming on the baked surface of Mercury or the frozen surface of Uranus is exactly 0. Furthermore, the revolution of planets around the sun is what has afforded us seasons.

 

Similarly, the relatively smaller size of our moon is what keeps it locked in an orbit around the earth. If it were not for the moon then there would be no tides. The presence of the moon also stabilizes earth’s rotation thus preventing dramatic movements of the earth’s poles, which in turn would have caused climate swings. Hence the presence of the moon may have helped life form on earth and flourish. And more importantly, without the moon, there would be no werewolf stories to tell around campfires. Now that would be perfectly tragic!

 

Finally there is the size of our sun itself. The formation of life on earth would have been impossible were the sun much bigger or smaller in size. Astronomers searching for life on the planets consider stars that are approximately the size of our sun, and study planets that are approximately at the same distance from their sun. Now the sun, the source of life on this planet, will begin to bloat as the hydrogen fuel at its core is spent and the core contracts and starts to heat up. Then the heavier helium fusion reaction commences. The resulting instability will cause the sun to expand up to and possibly beyond the current position of the earth’s orbit. There is really nothing to fear at this point because all life form will have perished long before this. In other words, the big old sun will be responsible for the destruction of all life on this earth, the very same the life sustaining and benevolent sun that helped form and sustain life on earth. Size does indeed matter.

 

Now let us move on to the living creatures. This one is easy to explain. All one needs to do is subscribe to the theory of the survival of the fittest as expounded in the Theory of Evolution by one of the greatest minds in human history, Sir. Charles Darwin. If every living creature were to be created equally fit then the theory would be completely invalid, wouldn’t it? The word fittest in the phrase survival of the fittest naturally implies the existence of some things that are fit, others that are fitter and the rest fittest. This clearly points to the existence of inequity among the living creatures. It also states quite unambiguously that only the fittest shall survive. In other words, the rest will eventually perish. So we should be thankful for the inequities that have made it possible for me to write this essay and for you to be reading it today. We, the survivors, have obviously benefited remarkably from some of the fittest genes passed on down to use form our very fit ancestors.

 

And at the human level, anywhere one looks one finds differences. As a matter of fact, it is virtually impossible to find any semblance of equality among humans. Among students in a class there are the honor students and there are the rest (dishonor?). There are winners and losers; there are tall and short ones; fat and thin ones; dark and light ones. There are ones that like coffee and others that like tea; there are some who like both and others that like neither. There are smokers and non-smokers; drinkers and non-drinkers. There are people that eat meat and others that don’t. There are the leaders and those that are lead. There are killers and there are survivors. Among groups and among individuals, there are inequities to be found everywhere. Or should I say we would find inequities, or create them if none are to be found. There are Hindus, yet within that there are those that belong to the high and the low caste and others to the high caste; there are Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs. There is the Christian faith, but among them there are Catholics, Protestants, Methodist and Baptists; there are Presbyterians and Pentecostals and Mormons. There is the Muslim faith, but there are Sunnis, Shias, Kurds and Persians. Where natural distinctions do not exist, man readily creates artificial ones which more than make up for nature’s perceived inadequacies in this area.

 

In schools, colleges and other educational institutions, there is a system of grading. Why is this necessary unless to distinguish the good students from the average and bad students? Why are their hierarchical structures in organizations? Most modern organizations have a dizzying level of hierarchies. Why are some people promoted and not others? What do some people make more money than other? What are the bonuses of some individuals bigger than others within a given organization and even at individuals at the same level? Not everyone at a given level in any organization is awarded the same raise or promoted at the same rate. There are any number of ways distinguish individuals and justify the awards or penalties bestowed upon individuals. Why are there winners and losers in sports? Even if two individuals are awarded a first place, the second place is automatically rescinded. Most sporting events are designed to eliminate all but one team or individual, and that team or individual is crowned the “world”, “state”, “city”, “college” or whatever champion. If they were all equal, then everyone would be a winner, and that would not make the sport very popular. Viewership would decline and corporations would have no way to hawk their wares and an economic collapse is inevitable.

 

Narrowing the focus down to the family level, one finds that there are distinctions amongst siblings, hierarchical ones – there is the older one, the middle one and the younger one; intellectual ones – one is more outgoing than the other or that one is more athletic than the other, and so on; there are physical and intellectual differences – one is more intelligent or street smart or worldly whatever than the other; there are difference in taste – one like meat while the other (gasp!) is a vegetarian, or that one likes spicy food or sweets or what have you while the other does not. The number of ways of distinguishing siblings, and by extension people, is endless. Distinctions and difference exist even among twins.

 

At a higher level, but no different from the individual or team level, there are distinctions among countries of the world. There are those that are rich and others that are poor, there are developed and underdeveloped nations, and there is the new world and the old one. Even among countries belonging to a certain group there are distinctions – among all the advanced countries in the world, the US has the distinction of being one of the most advanced countries; among nuclear states the US is the greatest nuclear power. Even within this great nation, the US, there are distinctions among the whites and the colored; men and women, christians and people of other faith. This great nation is yet to see a woman or non-Christian elected to the post of president. So much for begin the most advanced nation in the world.

 

 

From all the examples and instances presented above, one can clearly see that distinctions exist at all levels of the society; inequities exist at all levels in the universe. Not just among living creatures, but among non-living and natural entities as well. It is indeed a fact of life and those individuals expecting equality in this universe are deluding themselves. The universe is not socialistic.  Nor is it democratic. It is just random and probabilistic. And inequity is what has made possible its creation, survival and will quite possibly be the reason its eventual destruction. When one sees the universe and all that it contains from this point of view, ironically, one learns to be more accepting of inequities and even perhaps appreciative of them.

 



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