“In anything (including religion), it’s not the car (or the car brand) that makes the difference. It’s who’s behind the wheel”
If you put a lunatic (who’s also had a few too many hurricanes) behind the wheel of an Alfa Romeo Giulia saloon (one of the safest cars around), that one Idiot can tear down all the merit associated with that Car Brand in a matter of minutes (especially if the Cops had to chase him around Town in Choppers). And once the Media catches “wind” of what had happened, they’ll spend the next millennium painting our brains with horrendous images of how this “perfectly innocent Car” ruined everyone’s day.
Nobody will remember the driver’s name (especially if it takes more than a minute to pronounce). But the second they see another Alpha Romeo on the road, they’ll drop their Groceries and start running in the other direction.
This holds true of race and religion too.
Our brains are hardwired to constantly be on the lookout for danger and anything that even remotely resembles a life-threatening hazard (including pistachio shells, banana peels and flying squirrels).
And, as soon “the brain” comes across anything that looks considerably scary or perplexing, it hits the “big red button” and runs for cover. The big red button does two things. First it calls the big dude in the house…the hypothalamus (not to be confused with a hippopotamus) and asks him to flood our system with a whole bunch of chemicals, namely adrenaline, noradrenaline, cortisol and maple syrup (okay…I was just kidding about the maple syrup). These chemicals basically switch our body’s operating mode from “I’m have a great day” to “I’m about to die” mode.
The second thing the “red button” does is send out a high priority email to the “Fight or Flight Response Team” (whose sole purpose it to keep us from getting shredded to a thousand pieces). When the Fight or Flight Response Team eventually show up, usually seconds later, they pull out their laptops, run a full threat analysis of the situation and decide what our next course of action should be.
If the threat assessment tells them that “the Giant Chicken that’s trying to kills us has left his contact lenses at home”, their recommendation would most likely be for us to turn off our cellphones and pretend to be dead.
If on the other hand the assessment tells them that “the Giant Chicken had suffered a sports injury from the day before (at the gym)”, their recommendation would most likely be to “whack him in the head with a broomstick several times”.
Or if this Giant Chicken’s looking exceptionally sharp, hungry, fit and lethal, we would most likely be told to drop everything, let out a bloodcurdling scream and run like the wind.
This “fight or flight response team” (who start the day off by singing “Staying alive” in the shower) may have helped the human race “stay alive” for a good part of history and prehistory. But nowadays; where the most life-threatening thing many people encounter is accidentally stepping on their Cat’s tail; it plays about as effective of a role as a Stuffed Animal. If that’s not bad enough, it now also has a tough time distinguishing reality from reality TV. In other words, we would go through the same “Fight, Flight, Freeze or Fart” response cycle, even if the threat wasn’t real.
News Media, TV/Movie Producers, Marketers and Politicians know this and use it to exploit people to meet their agendas. And whilst a majority of TV/Movie Producers and Marketers tap into this power in a less traumatic and entertaining way, News Media and Politicians go straight for the guts and the gore by stuffing our brains (like Turkeys) with the worst possible scenarios and imagery they can find. And once they had stuffed our brains and marinated them long enough (through repetition), we too come to believe that the “narrow view” of the World we had been brainwashed with as the only truth (even though it’s about as accurate as judging a magnificent Racehorse by its Poop).
The reason why this “gangster method” has become the norm for many Politicians and News Media Giants across the Globe is because it’s what pays their Donut and Coffee bills. And what keeps the Devil happy with their “arrangement”. Sadly, our Peers and Parrots (who are sometimes one and the same) also use the same “scare tactic” as a means to keep us away from what they perceive to be the “big bad raccoons”.
But the reality is, there are good and bad people in every single Race, every Religion, every Vampire Bar and in every Book Reading Club in existence. And in terms of numbers, they’re roughly about the same across the globe i.e. you get about one ugly, nasty *Mother Father* for every 1000 Kitten and Puppy loving good fellas (no reference to the movie). The only difference is in their level of sanity or insanity. And how many guns and explosives they could buy from their local Toy Store.
So, the next time you see someone that fits a certain “racial or religious profile” and you feel your “Fight or flight response mechanism” awakening your inner-Wolverine or Hulk, take a couple of minutes to ask yourself the following questions:
“How would I feel if I was at the receiving end of this?
How would I feel if I was being prejudged and branded as a Nazi, a Terrorist, a Kamikaze, a Mugger, a Chocoholic, a Firing Squad Member or a Very Bad Chef, just because I match “some” of their physical traits?
What would my image be of the people who (physically or psychologically) abuse me based on my appearance, language, name (and maybe my bad taste in music)? Would I even see (or consider them) as “human beings” afterwards?
And what will my Friends, Family, Children, Neighbors and Pets think about those “darling neck chokers” when I share my experience?
Angels and Demons aren’t born. They’re often times a byproduct of influence and believes. That means when we treat someone as a Criminal and paint them in the worst possible light at every turn, that’s precisely who they’ll become. On the flipside, when we get into the habit of shinning a light on their Merits (however small they maybe) and take time to praise and cultivate them, that’s what’ll take root and flourish.
With every person, we have a choice to either feed their inner-Demons or their inner-Angels and sculpt a tomorrow of our OWN making.
Besides, underneath all the weird clothing, bewildering cultural norms, bazaar beliefs, extraterrestrial body language gestures, cheesy dance moves and the strange smelling foods, we are more alike than you can ever imagine. We all love to be loved. We love praise and appreciation. We love great music (even when it doesn’t sound like music). And we enjoy a good Jennifer Garner, Denzel Washington or Kevin Costner movie just as much as the other guy or gal. We bleed the same blood. And we cry the same tears (even though some of us need more than a few boxes of tissues to get through the day).
You can prove this to yourself by going over to YouTube and watching a heartwarming movie or music video from a background that you’re not feeling too “warm and fuzzy” about right now. But watch it with subtitles, as you might not know what the heck they’re talking about otherwise.
Light is made up of different colors for a reason. If these colors chose to “go their own way” or become self-employed, we would all be in the dark. But when they work together in harmony, our lives become filled with beauty, grace and a whole lot of brightness. It would also stop us from bumping into things.
Every seed that we sow toward establishing a sincere human connection (regardless of our “differences”) puts us on the side of the Angels. And every act of graciousness, generosity and gratitude eventually gets paid back to us manifold over the course of time (just as no act of bone-snapping evilness goes unpunished).
If you live by this simple principle and consistently score as many “good points” as you can (without dwelling on the “fouls”, “penalties” and “popcorn spills” that happen along the way), you’ll be amazed at the blessings, the protection and the opportunities your Creator will pour into your life over the fullness of time. And yes, this works for anyone with a pulse, regardless of your faith or the lack of it.
This is far from an overnight “magic bean” process though. Anything worthwhile takes time. Otherwise we would all be scared to visit our Doctors and Dentists. And we would probably keep a gun pointed at our Veterinarian when they’re around our Pets. But when you do graduate, life will never be the same again.