Friday, April 23, 2010

Everyone Is Born Equal

In my last post, I stated that the anarchist opposition to hierarchy resonated with me, but I discussed this concept in terms of Lao Tzu's words and writings. In this post, I'm going to explain WHY I feel a kinship to this perspective.

At the outset of life, each human is born equal. It is only after we are jettisoned from the womb that inequality kicks in. At that juncture, it often depends on who our parents are and their standing in society. It may also depend on when and where we're born and the overall climate of our society or civilization.

But in those few brief moments when we take our first breath, there are no real distinctions among the lot of us.

To underscore this point, what if at the moment the umbilical cord is cut, everyone cleared away from us? You know what would happen? Regardless of a host of criteria, each and every one of us would die. With no one to feed, clothe or protect us, we wouldn't survive for very long at all.

So, since we share equality at birth (and a strong argument could be made that we share this same equality at death), why must there be inequality between these two poles?


  1. I'm not sure I follow, so I apologize in advance if my comment seems out of place.

    When you say that we're all equal when we're born, you mean all newborns are equal right? You don't mean that at that moment we are equal to all other human beings, right?

    The problem is that we are born so needy, and it is in fulfilling our needs when the supplier becomes our superior, unfortunately.

    The fact is that we need each other, and life is a give-and-take deal in which we have navigate our way by negotiating the means of our survival. In that sense, then, we need to submit to others. So we're all part of at least one hierarchy, our family.

    I'm am not anarchist. I believe in light structure. But perhaps I have misunderstood the concept.

  2. I mean that all newborn babies must be cared for or else they die. It doesn't matter if one is born a king or a pauper; if no support is given immediately, no baby will survive for long.

    It is in this sense, at the moment we each breath our first breath, there are no distinctions. We each represent a new life untarnished by the hierarchy of society.

  3. AT birth we have "congenital nature" or "congenital mind-will", what my teacher calls a "pure and clean mental state, free of any ideas, yet full of the minuteness of all universal things." And it is what one hopes to return to (at death). Taoist cultivation techniques are intended to try to preserve that particular energy, and not be sucked up by the "acquired nature," the "false heart."

    Yes, birth and death are equal.

    I'm agreeing with you, really.


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