Equality presupposes a universal state in which abstract objects are equal like numbers, which being purely abstract can of course be equal. We can talk safely about 4×3 being equal to 12, but if we are talking about the objects those numbers describe, the assertion becomes nonsensical.
Yet we like to use it to refer to people, to events, to objects and even to concepts of such a far-reaching idea that they’re more context than discrete points.
Take for example a chocolate cake. If I accidentally run over your chocolate cake, our government might say that I owe you a chocolate cake. We might even describe it: two layer, buttercream icing, about 4 pounds. But without context, the concept of a chocolate cake is pointless. The chocolate cake that you baked on a whim for your lover, or that you baked after weeks of preparation despite your phobia of cooking, is not equal to any other chocolate cake.
In fact, it doesn’t even matter if it was a particularly good cake in both those instances. The gesture was part of the framework of events, emotions and interactions, and the chocolate cake part is something like a symbol, or a signal, but not the importance itself. Yet if the cake is lost, the gesture does not occur, much as while we are abstract beings, if our physical bodies are lost we are no longer here.
I resent the idea that a chocolate cake is ever equal to any other. In the same way, I resent the idea that people are equal, because that’s a slap in the face to my choosing some people over others. I didn’t pick a wife/lover to be equal, nitwits, I picked that person because of exceptional qualities to that person. I don’t seek out genius because it’s equal, or even that it “worked hard” for its abilities. I seek it out because of what it is. What’s next, claiming the celery is equal to basil, so throw whichever you have into the soup and it’ll be just fine?
Our industrial society arose contemporaneously with liberalism, first as “classical liberals” and next as quasi-libertarians and finally as modern neo-Communist/neo-anarchist liberals. They’re all part of the same spectrum and if you step into that river at any point, you will inevitably find yourself connected to its other stages. Liberalism insists that society exists to serve the individual, because all individuals are equal and thus every point of view is valid.
To accompany that universalist babble, we have invented the myth of modern humanity. People do not succeed because they are competent; they succeed because they work hard. People are not important because they have inherent qualities, but because of the social role they have or their external traits like wealth, power and prestige. What matters is not our differences, but the only thing that is left: our position in the social hierarchy of popular, monetary success and name recognition.
In this type of world, people are interchangeable atomic units that fit into functions but do not serve persistent roles. They are the ultimate machine cogs, but the machine runs on touchy-feely ideas like love and compassion. What makes them valuable to us is not the role they serve, their unique abilities and traits, or even that they are sacred to us. They serve instead as a type of convenience-person, fulfilling a function we need. I need a friend, a spouse, a child. If this one doesn’t do what I want, I’ll take it back to Wal-Mart and get another.
We can see equality in this sense as a kind of entropy: replacing distinctive values that encourage a spectrum, and thus reward us for aiming higher, with a kind of flat hierarchy where everything and everyone is accepted and tolerated, and yet not valued at all for anything other than being warm bodies who by social convention are forced to serve functions for us.
On a philosophical level, I resent equality because it destroys all that is sacred in life. To my mind, life is about confronting our fears, overcoming challenges in reality, and looking back on all of it and saying “I did right by my values system, and I created something that was not there before, and I left this place in better shape than it was before me.” Those are the only deathbed resolutions that make a person truly feel that whatever happens after the last breath, life meant something. Equality is a revolt against meaning, because meaning forces us to shoot for something higher than what we already are.
Again, this is not a political rant; merely a philosophical one. In fact, I don’t want people to apply this in any political sense. Ideally, people would read this, and start thinking about the sacred instead of the egalitarian mania. If someone starts babbling about equality, think the sacred symbol â‰ and project it onto them as they have projected their fears onto you. Wherever sensible people congregate, â‰ is the word; â‰ is the response to the fears of the herd. In doing so, we return to life as a process of striving and through it, to a reverence for life in its “warts and all” state of being a becoming and not a static, fixed value like those of products on a shelf.