All beings tremble before violence. All love life. All fear death. See yourself in others. Then whom can you hurt? What harm can you do? ~Buddha
See yourself in others. That's really at the root of everything I believe. Simple as that.
Right now Ari is sleeping on the chair next to me. We are not of the same species, we do not hold the same rights, she is considered my property. Most people consider her to be an 'it', her life is worth less than mine, in this state she could be used for laboratory experiments. Why?
Because she is not me? Because she is an 'other'?
Or is it because she and I do not speak the same language? She cannot build a house with her hands. But I can't either. She will never compose a symphony or discover a cure for cancer. I haven't done either of those things. Is my life worth less because I won't ever contribute as greatly to society?
She is dreaming right now, I am watching her limbs twitch in her sleep and her heavy chest rise and fall faster and faster. I dream.
She feels fear and pain, joy at simple pleasures and loves more fiercely than anyone I have ever met. She and I both bleed. I know she would cling to life just as desperately as I would if she was being killed. She may not plan for the future or even understand the concept, but neither do a lot of humans. Should we value them less as well?
When I look at her all I see is her life, her warmth. I see myself in her. I do not see how she is 'other'. I see that she can run faster than me, she can hear things I cannot, she is more forgiving than I can ever hope to be. Some wouldn't consider me to be a contributing member of society, but I am not my husband's property. I am not less than him.
I see myself in her for all the ways that we are the same, all the ways that I think matter at least. I can't un-see that. I cannot harm her or demean her.
Right now I think she is dreaming of running. I dream of running too.