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A Selfish Reason to Care About Diversity

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People are selfish.

And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Our selfishness helps us stay alive. It helps us move forward, fulfilling our goals and dreams.

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Even someone like Mother Theresa, who most of us would view as one of the least selfish people on the planet, was doing something that was satisfying to her.

And what’s more selfish than satisfaction?

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Which brings me to the topic of diversity.

People in the majority often don’t care about diversity. They think it doesn’t apply to them.

This lack of awareness might manifest as ignorance about the level of privilege enjoyed by those in the majority. Other times, this lack of awareness manifests in more violent and destructive ways.

Either way, the majority is not inspired to care because they think there’s no satisfaction in caring.

But that’s where they’re wrong.

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That’s where the majority overlooks a very important point.

Diversity is good for everybody.

And I don’t mean it’s good for you in that irritating, self-sacrificing way. Like spending time with annoying relatives.

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I mean it’s good for you in that it has serious advantages for you.

My brother lives in Los Angeles, and when we go visit him I love to go to Venice Beach.

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Yes, it can be a little hectic there at times. But I love it because of the amazing and diverse array of humanity that flocks to Venice.

White tourists from the Midwest. Latino drag queens. Black blues musicians. Genderqueer Asian teenagers.

You name it, Venice has got it.

And even though most of these people look nothing like me, when I’m in Venice I feel a sense of expansion and freedom.

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Why?

Because if there’s room for all these different kinds of people, there must be room for me.

I’m also energized by the awareness that I’m in a community that allows for this diversity.

All of us have all kinds of things inside of us. Things to express.

When we’re only presented with one “best” way to be, it stifles everyone.

Even those who are in the “best” group.

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Imagine that you went into a flower shop and asked for an arrangement of flowers. Imagine that the florist showed you an arrangement of daisies.

Just daisies.

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Imagine that you then glanced around the shop and saw that the only flowers there were daisies. Upon seeing your astonishment, the florist explained that daisies are the best flowers.

All the other flowers, the florist says, are inferior.

Evil, even.

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It seems absurd when applied to flowers, but our society does this all the time, putting people in “good” and “bad” groups.

And yet, if we really think about it, it’s in our best interest – our natural, selfish interest – to allow room for everyone to be who they are.

Indeed, it’s in our natural selfish interest to celebrate the diversity of humankind.

Because in that diversity lies our freedom.

Freedom from hatred and violence, for sure.

But also freedom to be who we are.

Each and every one of us.

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How has diversity served you? Share your comments below!

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11 Responses to A Selfish Reason to Care About Diversity

  1. DeLaine August 16, 2016 at 9:34 am #

    I LOVE VENICE BEACH !!!
    For all the same reasons as you. ! Never thought of it that way , but there is a sense freedom wafting in the air. Free to be you = free to be me ! …. And the ocean !!!

    • Z Egloff August 17, 2016 at 11:33 am #

      I know, right?! Free to be you and me. And the ocean really does add to that sense of expansiveness. Yeah! :)

  2. Karen Money Williams August 16, 2016 at 9:45 am #

    I love how Abraham-Hicks says that the very essence of this planet is diversity because it’s designed to stimulate our fresh, new desires. They say that desires are the very essence of life, pulling life force to us. Even to have no desire is a desire. :) And wide diversity of people, places, and things is essential to giving rise to those desires. Without diversity, there would only be endedness — and who the heck wants that?

    Nice post. Love the droll drawings, as always!

    • Z Egloff August 17, 2016 at 11:35 am #

      Hi Karen! I love all the great stuff Abe says about diversity. One of my favorite analogies of theirs is the buffet table, with the wonderful displays of choices and combos of food. And how we get to pick from all that variety. And that we can take what we like and leave the rest. What freedom! Glad you like the drawings – still having fun with them! XOZ

  3. Sam August 19, 2016 at 5:37 am #

    Thank you Z, this was a great article! I also love to be in spaces where I feel that diversity is embraced, and because I believe that “change begins with me”, I am trying to always be “in the moment” so that I will recognize when I may not be allowing others to comfortably be themselves. This is what I would want for myself and figure that others would appreciate it also. Thanks again, Sam

    • Z Egloff August 24, 2016 at 2:16 pm #

      Thank you, Sam! And thanks for pointing out the power of being in the now when it comes to allowing others to be themselves. This is a great observation. :)

  4. River August 20, 2016 at 3:41 pm #

    Hi Z,
    Thanks for the room to grow! I am curious about what your take on satisfaction is. I think alot of us (strike through – Me) get confused between satisfaction and happiness. Would you care to illumine me (strike through)?
    Much Love,
    River

    • Z Egloff August 24, 2016 at 2:27 pm #

      Hi River! I think of satisfaction as being fulfillment of a certain need. (Thus the sense of it being “selfish.”) This is contrasted with happiness, which is not necessarily predicated on fulfilling a certain need. You can be happy just because. Of course, you can also be satisfied just because, but it tends to have more of a causal relationship with a certain state/thing. :)

  5. Alora August 30, 2016 at 1:43 pm #

    “Because if there’s room for all these different kinds of people, there must be room for me.”

    Wow. I never thought about it that way before. I lived on Venice Beach for years and I loved it. I felt totally relaxed and comfortable being, well, me!

    What a great way to think about radical diversity. And by radical I mean thorough. Everyone was welcome on Venice Beach. Everyone. :happy sigh:

    • Z Egloff September 2, 2016 at 2:49 pm #

      Hi Alora, Great to hear from you! That’s awesome to hear that you had the same feeling – that it’s not just a tourist thing. :) XOZ

  6. Alora September 2, 2016 at 6:32 pm #

    Definitely not just a tourist thing. :)

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