At the end of the day, I’d rather be excluded for who I include, than be included for who I exclude.

At the end of the day, I’d rather be excluded for who I include, than be included for who I exclude.

We live in a society that bifurcates the herd in many ways. As a herd animal, humans want (by definition) to be in the herd. We are not desirous of being alone all the time, we seek relationships and the comfort of being around others.

As we evolved from the hunter gatherers of centuries past, we formed tribes, clans and ultimately villages. Those eventually gave way to towns and then cities. In this evolution, the herd of our tribe separated and journeyed into new territory, causing us to find new ways to connect with others. Eventually social media was invented and the reason it was so popular is because it is the digital recreation of our village. Our clan. In this unique product, we can become part of numerous villages/clans/tribes that we feel we belong in and, in doing so, we find our unity in reconnecting with others.

Humans are not a kind specie. We are a violent specie, prone to all sorts of issues due to our having become sentient (cognizant of our own being and aware of everything that comes with that cognizance). This awareness creates a series of likes/dislikes, prejudices (both positive and negative) and creates the components that make each of us unique in our own special ways.

The downside of all of this is that there are many who find themselves disenfranchised as a result of these human qualities. Those who are most desirable (as determined by a finite group of other humans) and those who are not so desirable. This gives way to peer pressure, in terms of who is determined as desirable and who is not. 

Organized religion was a massive component of this evolution in humanity. It became one of the most powerful subdividing forces in all of history. With the invention of such religions, large groups of people were coopted into a new form of group, in which a belief system was installed for the purpose of creating a control of a mass of humanity. If that mass would share a significant common belief with rewards in this this lifetime, and (in some cases) promises of afterlife benefits as well, it becomes ripe for the right humans to step in and dictate what that mass will and will not accept. In many cases, this was a good thing, and, of course, in many cases, it was not such a good thing.

These practices, which have been employed for thousands of years at this point, have made humanity to become far less inclusive and considerably more exclusive. Starting with whether or not a human shares your belief in the idea of how you think we were all created. That specific line in the sand… i.e. Define God, has been the single greatest cause of death to human beings since the first human gave way to the concept of God as being defined. More people have been killed in the name of religion than all of the wars, all of the diseases combined. Massive genocides have taken place over the course of history over core beliefs of this magnitude.

There are those of us, who do not see the world through the same filter. We are appreciative of every individual’s beliefs all the way up to the point that their beliefs threaten our safety or those of others. The adage, live and let live, summarizes this perspective succinctly. The sad component of this perspective is that it only holds so much water as a concept, because (human nature being what it is), there are countless others who are more than willing to instantly wage war and kill others or people like me, because we do not believe what they believe. They are so steadfast in their perspective and their narrow minded view that their religion is right and everyone who does not believe in it is wrong, that they try and change laws to enforce their religion in society. They try to have it taught in schools, and upheld in the legal system. 

I will always try to include everyone until such time as that brings someone who is dangerous near me or those I love. As soon as their love for a deity causes them to wish to harm me or others, I have to listen to Bruce Lee and become the warrior in the garden. I am forced to stand up for my own perspective and combat theirs until such time as they can find their way to a peaceful coexistence. 

Working to make humanity more inclusive is a viable goal, one that is worth pursuing through knowledge, exposure, open discourse and a willingness to listen to the other parties and (at a minimum) listen to what they have to say, and give their thought process open space to exist side by side with my own, without judgment, without need or cause on my part to change their mind.

As my rabbi told me when I was coming up on 13 and heading for my bar mitzvah, “No one knows what God is. Anyone who tells you that they know, is flat out lying. But if they want to share their ideas with you about what God is, it might be worth your time to listen with an open mind…. Somewhere in that process you will find your own relationship with God.”

Open minds, coupled with a desire to understand one another is the only hope for humanity. Without these qualities, we are destined for extinction. I may be ostracized because of my beliefs. I am ok with that. My goal in communicating is never to make another feel that their belief is wrong, only to share thoughts that I find compelling to consider. If that starts a great conversation with another about as weighty a topic as their belief in God…. Then good…. I might learn something from them.

Happy Tuesday!

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Written by Brian Weiner
When I was 5 years old, I discovered that the lemon tree in the backyard + dixie cups + water and sugar and I was in business. I have been hooked on that ever since. In 1979, I borrowed $14,000 to create a brand new product... photographic greeting cards with no text on the inside, called Paradise Photography. That was the start of The Illusion Factory. Since then, The Illusion Factory has been entrusted by all of the major studios and broadcasters with the advertising and marketing of over $7 billion in filmed, live, broadcast, gaming, AR, VR and regulated gaming forms of entertainment, generating more than $100 Billion in revenue and 265 awards for creativity and technology for our clients. When I took a break from film school at UCLA to move to Hawaii, my mother did not lecture me. Instead, she took 150 of her favorite aphorisms and in her beautiful calligraphy, wrote them artistically throughout a blank journal. That is the origin of the Lessons from the Mountain series. Since then, on my journeys to the top of a mountain to watch the sunrise, I have spent countless hours contemplating words of wisdom from the sages of all races, genders and political persuasions, constantly accumulating the thoughts to guide me on my life path. I hope you enjoy my books. Please let me know your thoughts, as I highly value your feedback!