I Grew Up as a Muslim in New Zealand. I Want You to Know I Belong.

You belong.
One didn’t need to be of a different race or culture to get a hard time growing up, just being different is enough; anywhere on the planet where stress exists.

Understanding why that is so is part of the process of reliably creating something else.

Understanding that reality is so complex that we must all make subconscious simplifications in order to distinguish anything is part of that.
Understanding that evolution demanded of our ancestors that the level of threat limited the amount of time available to make sense of the complexity around us – the more threatened we feel, the simpler the reality appears to us in our experience of being. Under high stress, it gets simplified right down to friend or foe.

Reality is always much more complex than that.

Part of creating an environment that supports diversity is removing as many sources of stress as possible (and in itself that is not enough, and it is a necessary beginning).

Another big part of eliminating such discrimination is understanding that for complex entities like ourselves, evolution is much more about cooperation than competition.
We have a lot to do to change our economic, social and political systems from competitive markets based thinking to cooperative abundance based thinking empowered by fully automated systems.

That change cannot emerge naturally from a competitive market environment. It requires a fundamental shift in understanding.
It takes real work, by many people.

And that shift does seem to be happening for a significant fraction of the population.

There are many of us in New Zealand who accept and welcome you as you are, and there are still some of the “others” who are not always as aware and loving as they imagine themselves to be (for a whole raft of reasons deeply embedded in our biology and our many cultures).

It is the responsibility of all of us who can see this reality, to make it visible to others through who we each be in our daily lives; one conversation at a time, one act of respect and acknowledgement at a time.


[followed by]

Hi Mark,

I agree in part, that we are what we are, but not entirely with your description of what we are.

Yes – sure, if the situation gets really competitive, then we can all compete, and compete hard to survive. And that is not actually our normal mode of existence, for any of us – not really if you look closely.

We are fundamentally cooperative, and that is the secret of our success.

Humanity has the full spectrum of colours, many above and below what is visible to most people.
Sure, we all have our dark sides.
And we have the other side too.
And it is that “other side”, the cooperative one, that has allowed us to become a population of 7 billion.

It is that cooperative side that needs to change our systems to ensure that we avoid collapse, and that we fundamentally alter the structure of our societies to give the maximum probability of cooperative activity. And there will always be some on any distribution who are outliers, and who will require “special attention”. That must always be the case: The price of liberty is eternal vigilance”.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see
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