Xenophobia

Recently saw some depressing articles from the US, Greece, Japan, France and Russia.

It’s interesting how every country has some kind of people like this. It reminds me of this quote from Frank Herbert’s science-fiction novel God Emperor of Dune:

As a people, you react against threats to innocence and the peril of the helpless young. Unexplained sounds, visions and smells raise the hackles you have forgotten you possess. When alarmed, you cling to your native language because all the other patterned sounds are strange. You demand acceptable dress because a strange costume is threatening. This is system-feedback at its most primitive level. Your cells remember.

Xenophobia is an irrational, primitive behavior that all cultures and societies have, but the results are always destructive. Some people obsess with the idea of a “pure” race or a “pure” culture but all this does is produce a kind of inbreeding. Too much isolation causes an ethnic group or culture to wither and die. Biology shows that this is true with DNA, breeding dogs, forestry, ecology and so on. It’s just as true with people and societies: variety makes us stronger, healthier.

Still, it’s interesting that we resist this, even though it’s necessary. We resist it so much, that some of us even abuse or attack others who are different.

As the Buddha taught, a disciple of the Buddha should not divide or abuse people:

“Abandoning divisive speech he [a good disciple] abstains from divisive speech….Thus reconciling those who have broken apart or cementing those who are united, he loves concord, delights in concord, enjoys concord, speaks things that create concord. This, too, is part of his virtue.

“Abandoning abusive speech, he abstains from abusive speech. He speaks words that are soothing to the ear, that are affectionate, that go to the heart, that are polite, appealing and pleasing to people at large. This, too, is part of his virtue.

Thus, one should “resist” their own instinct and learn to accept others and create harmony, not strife.

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Author: Doug

A fellow who dwells upon the Pale Blue Dot who spends his days obsessing over things like Buddhism, KPop music, foreign languages, BSD UNIX and science fiction.

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