We have been conditioned to believe that the value of human life is something that fluctuates; a scoreboard of sorts. Being physically attractive means we’re re more worthy. Having more wealth and material possessions means we are owed more respect. Having a higher level of education and more accomplishments under our belts somehow equates with being more. More human, more worthy, more points on the scoreboard.
But we’re more than the sum of the opportunities that were handed to us and the use or disuse we made of them. We are more than our choices, than our mistakes, than our biggest trophies or stacks of gold. We cannot allow consumerism and capitalism to allow us to commodify something as priceless as humanity.
The life as a homeless man isn’t inferior to the life of a president. The life of a thief not inferior to that of a priest. We are not owed respect simply because we inherited wealth or even when we built it from scratch. We deserve every compassion, respect, every dignity and human right simply because we are human.
When death is the only promise that time keeps, do we really “own” anything more than our current breaths? In mere seconds, anything and everything can be taken from us. In the blink of an eye, we can have everything. We are merely custodians of this earth and every opportunity it represents; tasked with the accountability of leaving it better- or at the very least in minimum working condition- to the generation after us, and the people around us.
Our wealth, our education, our every accomplishment simple tools that were both, presented to us and made use of by us, to better ourselves. To live more wholesome lives. To imbibe it with more meaning. To deal responsibly with the materials, both abstract and concrete, that have been placed in our care in the short time that we will be here.
To respect and honour all humans is to respect and honor yourself. To demean or indignify any human means to demean yourself. There is no hierarchy. Only accountability.