Rhomir Yanquiling

No person is ever divorced from the rest of humanity. Ours is an interconnected world…

Until we see this interconnectedness, we will not be able to realize the beauty in the midst of differences, the symmetry behind disparity, and the reality hidden in paradoxes.

This is how we should see the world in the lenses of reality. The person next to you in the street is somehow connected to you in a number of ways; either you know them directly or indirectly. But one thing is clear: you are connected to him in one way or another. The theory of six degree separation will somehow agree with this—everyone and everything is six or fewer steps away, by way of a chain of acquaintances, from any other person in the world.

Central to creating synergetic and collective action that will imbue people the sense of solidarity and amity are acceptance and reciprocity. If we learn how to open up our consciousness to acceptance of other’s peculiarities as a member of a particular culture or belief, we will soon develop that same openness and liberality in considering the idea of acceptance.

In sociological analysis, countries, cultures and people are divided by some forms of artificial mechanisms which we ourselves have devised at certain points in time in our history. Known for its paradigm of liberality, Europe is being looked up in the world as model of this liberal and free thinking spirit in terms of tolerance and inclusion. Sounds good? Not so fast. Even Europe, which is known for its civility, modernity and liberality, grapple with this kind of social trap. Populism, xenophobia, extremism—name it. Europeans are not spared by these social dilemmas. Hence, there is a need to intensify efforts to educate and re-educate people through fora, symposia, conferences and other avenues where there can be an atmosphere of free discussion, enlightened and intelligent exchange of ideas.

Racism and extremism are things of the past. And the let the past bury its dead to oblivion. Gone were the days when men were segregated due to differences in color, race, religion or culture. We are at the moment living in a world characterized by interdependence and interconnectedness which has become inevitable owing to the expanding spheres of globalization. To refuse to believe that ours is a small global community which shares common vision for the future is certainly a sign of adamant stance to recognize the universality of man. To refuse to acknowledge that we are all brothers and sisters bound by one aspiration of living together in a harmonious world is but a patent gesture of inhumanity to man’s humanity.

Much has been said about tolerance, inclusion and acceptance but less has been done to make people to become really aware of these concepts. It takes an “us” to create actions that will resonate to all. Your contribution, no matter how little it may be certainly counts. Why not let your action count today?

The quest for universal respect and understanding is not an easy road. It is tough; it leads to a long and winding road, to borrow the title of famous Beatles’ song. It may even be an uphill struggle. But we are not disheartened because we still believe in the intrinsic goodness of men for after all we do not live alone by ourselves.

No one lives in isolation. In closing, let me quote this beautiful message from the English poet John Donne:

“No man is an island entire of itself; every man

is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;

if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe

is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as

well as any manner of thy friends or of thine

own were; any man’s death diminishes me,

because I am involved in mankind.

And therefore never send to know for whom

the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

Rhomir Yanquiling

The contents of this article are the sole responsibility of the author, and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of ALDA and the European Union.