Harnessing Diversity

“Our similarities bring us to a common ground. Our differences allow us to be fascinated by each other“-Tom Robbin

Imagine the scale of human potential to Flourish, if we approach our diverse population with an LLP mindset. It is limitless  – UEF

Our Creator(God and/or nature) loves diversity.  There are estimated to be 8.4 million species in this world. We 8 billion human beings are counted as only one species.

Nature’s way of playing is to create diversity—a magnificent expression of its boundless creativity. The kaleidoscope of life in nature’s playground provides ecological balance, fosters adaptation and resilience, sparks wonder, and sustains the well-being of our planet. As we marvel at the myriad forms of life around us, let us embrace our role as guardians of this wondrous diversity, ensuring that nature’s playful creations endure for generations to come.

Diversity and evolution are closely intertwined concepts in biology. Together, they play a fundamental role in shaping the natural world. Diversity among species, populations, and individuals within a species provides the raw material for evolution to act upon.  Evolution is the process by which species change over time through genetic variation, natural selection, etc. Thanks to evolution-Otherwise we would still be apes or chimps!!

Each one of us is unique-no two human beings have the same biometrics or fingerprints.  Recognition of human individuality in fingerprints was first seen with the Qin Dynasty in China, 221-206 BC, the first culture to have used fingerprint impressions as a method of identification.  In the late 1800s, Sir Francis Galton identified primary patterns of fingerprints and a scientific method of fingerprint identification.

While we have minor biological differences at the DNA level, we humans share enjoyment of diversity in our daily lives- in nature, cultural nuances of food, music, stories, clothes, etc.  There are about 7,000 languages spoken around the world — and they all have different sounds, vocabularies, and structures. As the cognitive scientist Lera Boroditsky said, “The beauty of linguistic diversity is that it reveals to us just how ingenious and how flexible the human mind is.  Human minds have invented not one cognitive universe, but 7,000.”

It is our diversity which has enabled human progress. No single species other than humans could build functional, thriving societies like we have built.  It is miraculous to think how from our days as hunter-gatherers we have accumulated vast amounts of knowledge and technological achievements that we possess today.  This immense knowledge is the result of two things: human diversity and human cooperation. Different people have unique experiences and ideas based on their circumstances. Everyone saw the falling apple, but only Newton discovered gravity because he thought in different ways.  Historically many people who made discoveries and inventions were average ordinary people whose minds worked differently than others.  They saw the world and happenings with a unique lens.  Their diverse range of talents and inclinations of the human species has allowed for monumental advancements in technology, medical science, to even the biology of understanding other species of mammals, etc.

Human societies also exhibit cultural diversity, with different groups developing unique technologies, practices, and beliefs. This diversity allows for innovation and experimentation, leading to the spread of successful cultural traits and the adaptive flexibility to changing environments.  Diversity is nature’s design to enable us to cooperate and accomplish what each one of us alone cannot.  Our collaboration of distinct talents ensures continued evolution.

Diversity is celebrated in religious scriptures. Take the Quran for example, “In the very creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your languages and color are His [God’s] signs for those who know.” (30:22)

In Hinduism, “The strength of Hinduism lies in its infinite adaptability to the infinite diversity of human character and human tendencies. It has its highly spiritual and abstract side suited to the philosopher, its practical to the man of the world, its aesthetic and ceremonial side attuned to the man of the poetic feeling and imagination; and its quiescent contemplative aspect that has its appeal for the man of peace and the lover of seclusion.” – Sir Monier Monier- Williams (Indologist)

“E Pluribus Unum,” the unofficial motto of the United States, means “Out of Many, One.”  A parallel concept is found in Ubuntu, “My humanity is bound up in yours – for we can only be human together.”- Desmond Tutu

Globalization and internet technology have truly made the Earth a “global village,” with accessibility to resources and goods around the world at our fingertips. The village of the 21st century is like no “village” before,  complex, diverse, and connected.

As the world is getting smaller through the internet, globalization, and migration, we can no longer ignore others.  We have an opportunity to get to know others through travel technology and the Internet.  In this era of globalization and modernization, there has never been more talk of diversity and plurality, and yet, more so than ever before, we seem to be trapped into our identities and differences. Society creates the “othering” consciousness towards our fellow human beings. We can overcome these feelings by becoming aware of unconscious biases that affect our perceptions and interactions with others.

“E Pluribus Unum, from many one, has never been more critical”-Fernando Reimers, Harvard University

We need to go beyond talking about pluralism and toleration. We need to foster an inclusive mindset that values diversity and recognizes that differences in race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion, socio-economic status, abilities, and other dimensions of diversity can bring unique strengths, perspectives, and contributions to a group or organization as well as foster a more inclusive and supportive environment where all individuals can thrive. Embracing the “other” requires an ongoing commitment to self-awareness, empathy, and respect for diversity. It may also involve stepping out of our comfort zone and being open to new experiences and perspectives.

One thing that cuts across our diversity, however, is our shared longings of loving, learning, and playing.  By ourselves developing an LLP mindset and harnessing diversity we will promote universal human flourishing.  Embracing one another is a continuous journey, and it starts with an open mind and a genuine willingness to learn, understand, and appreciate the beauty of human diversity.

See All Commonalities Across Religions