We are largely the result of the experiences we have. We are not separate from the world, we are deeply interwoven with it. We are not ourselves apart from the world. It is a part of us and we are a part of it.
The experiences that we have in our lives are a part of us. We have incorporated them into ourselves. We can shape ourselves too, by the way we respond to the world, but even that response is based on previous experiences. What we can do is try to consider the experiences of others as well in order to gain a deeper understanding of the world and expand our own existence, expand our very own nature, by incorporating some of the experiences of others.
Empathy is the ability to project oneself into the lives of others and try to understand the world through their perspective. Every human being is unique, but every human being also has the same common experiences. We are all born, grow up in a family, have relationships with those around us, and eventually die. We may have a lot of differences, but we also have a lot in common, including minor variations of DNA which we largely share. We are no different from the cells of our bodies, slight variations of the same overarching organism within which and through which we live. We are not separate from one another, we are all a part of this world. If that is the case, shouldn't we all matter?
Everyone is just trying to get their needs met, the best way they can. We all have similar needs and we are all shaped by our experiences. Sometimes we develop characteristics that are harmful and unpleasant to others. But we don't develop those characteristics simply because we chose to. We were all greatly influenced by our experiences, which shaped who we are. If everyone is just trying to get their needs met and their behaviors are the result of their experiences, then there are no heroes or villains, there are just people and everyone should matter. Maybe some people can't change for the better, but we shouldn't harbor any ill will or hatred for anyone. Everyone was an innocent baby at some point in their lives, and we are all imperfect. Our experiences made us who we are. We gain nothing from hating each other. The problem is not with humans. It is not that humans are "sinful", as if there is something fundamentally wrong with us, it is the world that we live in that harms us, and our focus should be on changing that world.
The world we live in is not at all a world that is governed by love. It is governed by unrestricted self-interest at all costs, regardless of how others are affected. We live in a world where empathy is discouraged and antipathy amongst all reigns. We focus on our differences instead of our commonalities. We compete against one another for scraps while a tiny minority who benefit from this world continue to govern us. But, as I said, the focus should be on changing the world, not on blaming people. People usually don't know any better. They are not aware of how they have been influenced to be the way they are. We can't change them directly. But we can change the world by changing its systems. We can create a world where everyone matters and, by creating that world, we can change the people within it.
How do we create such a world? By caring about our neighbors, caring about our community, and the planet within which we live. If our experiences shape us, then we need to take control of them and reshape them. We need to "be the change", as it is often said. That means changing the world by caring about other people's needs and experiences. That means getting together and organizing to fight for a world that is governed by love. That means working together to build organizations that work to create a new world. And, yes, that means flipping some money changers' tables.
Universal redemption is the core of my political philosophy. It means that we all have our own imperfections and that we all matter and deserve love because those imperfections are not really who we are. We are spiritual beings who have lost touch with who we truly are. If the world was inhabited by our true selves, it would be a paradise governed by love. But we can't have that without forgiving one another for who we have become in this loveless world. That is just the first step, developing that empathy so that instead of competing against one another we can all work together.
Creating that new world will require us to work together to build new organizations that are grounded in that love. It will require us to build social systems and structures that take care of us so that we can take care of one another. That means building organizations that can guarantee us access to everything that we need to survive. Once we have that foundation, we will be free to focus full-time on regenerating our natural world and building a new society for all human and non-human kin.